Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Cloister from Trie-en-Bigorre

Late 15th century
Made in Pyrenees, France
White Marble from Béat
35 ft. 8 in. x 47 ft. 2 1/2 in. (10.9 x 14.4 m)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1925
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 12
The capitals from the cloister of the Carmelite convent at Trie-en-Bigorre, near Toulouse, are decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the lives of the saints. The use of white marble for the capitals and colored marble for the shafts indicates that this was a prestigious commission. Since the original arrangement of the capitals is unknown, they are displayed sequentially, corresponding to their unfolding narratives. Many coats of arms are found on them; those of Catherine de Foix, queen of Navarre, and her husband, Jean d'Albert, who married in 1484, help establish the earliest possible date for the construction of the cloister. After the Huguenots destroyed all of the monastic buildings except for the church in 1571, some of the Trie capitals were sold to the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Sever-de-Rustan for the rebuilding of its own cloister. Twenty-eight of them changed hands again between 1889 and 1890, when they were sold to the city of Tarbes. Of the eighty-one capitals known to have been at Trie, eighteen are now at The Cloisters.

The flowery meadow familiar from so many medieval works of art is re-created in the Trie Cloister garden, where a multitude of plants blooms in different seasons on a ground bordered with periwinkles. The fragrant display is accompanied by the sound of running water from the central fountain, which is composed of late medieval and modern elements. Together with the chirping birds, butterflies, and bees, the plantings transform this delightful enclosure into a vivid display of the flora and fauna seen in tapestries of the Middle Ages.
From the Carmelite abbey at Trie-sur-Baise, near Tarbes (Bigorre); George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York, New York (until 1925)
The references listed below include the bibliography for the object group 25.120.135–.971, Cloister from Trie-en-Bigorre.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. pp. 34–38.

Rorimer, James J. "Recent Gifts in the Department of Mediaeval Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 31, no. 10 (October 1936). pp. 202–03.

Frankfurter, Alfred M. "The Opening of The Cloisters." Art News 36, no. 7 (May 1938).

Rorimer, James J., and Margaret B. Freeman. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Mediaeval Art, in Fort Tryon Park. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1938. pp. 111–15.

Lief, Zola. "The Cloisters." The Compleat Collector 3, no. 7 (May 1943). pp. 3, 4.

Rorimer, James J. Medieval Monuments at The Cloisters: As They Were and As They Are, edited by Katherine Serrell Rorimer. Revised ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. pp. 22-23, fig. 13-15.

Schrader, J. L. "George Grey Barnard: The Cloisters and the Abbaye." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 37, no. 1 (Summer 1979).

Young, Bonnie. A Walk Through The Cloisters. 5th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 96-101.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 156–59.

Husband, Timothy B. "Creating the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 70, no. 4 (Spring 2013). pp. 4-46, fig. 10, 11, discussed throughout.

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