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Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Medieval Art

The Museum's collection of medieval and Byzantine art is among the most comprehensive in the world. Displayed in both the Main Building and in the Metropolitan's branch in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters museum and gardens, the collection encompasses the art of the Mediterranean and Europe from the fall of Rome in the fourth century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century. It also includes pre-medieval European works of art created during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age.

Now at the Met

Metropolitan Museum Singled Out for Curatorial Achievement in Time-Based Media

Pari Stave, Senior Administrator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum recently swept the AICA-USA Arts Awards for Excellence in Curatorial Achievement in the time-based media category.​

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In Season

Samuel Yellin and the "Poetry and Rhythm of Iron"

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014

The scope of architectural treasures at The Cloisters museum and gardens extends beyond our extraordinary medieval collection and includes work by the modern-day Samuel Yellin Metalworker studio. In fact, most visitors enter The Cloisters through spaces enhanced by Samuel Yellin (1884–1940), who played a major role in the American Arts and Crafts movement, both as a designer and metalworker. He was extraordinarily prolific, working alternately on an intimate or monumental scale, for private homes or large institutions, in fanciful or restrained styles.

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In Season

Climbing in the Garden

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Of all plants, those that climb are the most evocative of a garden's bucolic and idyllic setting. In the Middle Ages, artists and artisans took inspiration from climbing plants, as evidenced throughout the collections of The Cloisters. From the vines carved on capitals to the gilded margins of medieval manuscripts, vining and climbing plants are a recurring motif in medieval art.

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In Season

Jean d'Alluye: Conservation in the Public Eye

Lucretia Kargère, Conservator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014

Conservation treatments are not often performed on works of art in public. The process is lengthy and requires extreme concentration, and treatments usually need to be performed in fully equipped laboratories. The sight of a work in the process of being conserved might also come as a shock to passersby; seeing a work of art in its "stripped" state—where all fills and old restorations have been removed—is like seeing a celebrity un-Photoshopped or without makeup.

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In Season

Transplants in the Medieval Garden

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014

As I sat down to write a post to introduce myself, I began to pursue a topic that had been forming in my mind the week I accepted the position as managing horticulturist here at The Cloisters museum and gardens: the spread of horticultural knowledge and plants throughout medieval Europe. There is ample evidence of a thriving nursery trade and seed exchange at this point in time. Horticultural techniques and knowledge, primarily passed down orally, proliferated in monasteries. These solitary communities served as repositories of learning, safeguarding, and practicing the science and art of horticulture.

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In Season

Welcome to In Season

C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014

Welcome to In Season, the new blog for The Cloisters museum and gardens. Here, we plan both to continue with the garden-related posts that we began on our former blog, The Medieval Garden Enclosed, and to broaden the conversation to include special features on our collections, exhibitions, and programs. We'll also highlight things of interest behind the scenes. Our goal is to engage with our readers and to make the many activities that take place at The Cloisters accessible and engaging to our visitors, both onsite and online. We invite readers old and new to comment on our posts.

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Now at the Met

Featured Catalogue: Interview with Curator, Author, and World Book Award Recipient Helen C. Evans

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014

​Helen C. Evans, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art, traveled to Tehran, Iran, on February 8, 2014, to accept the twenty-first annual World Book Award for her catalogue Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. The award was presented by the World Book Award Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Religious Guidance.

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Now at the Met

A Three Kings Day Reunion

C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014

Today, January 6, marks the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. This festival is widely celebrated, especially in western Christianity, as the day that the three wise men offered frankincense, myrrh, and gold to the Christ Child following their long journey from the East. This year, Three Kings Day is especially auspicious for the Museum's collection because today we celebrate the exceptional reunification of the sculptures pictured above.

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Digital Underground

From New York to Castile

Jessica Glass, Audio-Visual Specialist, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014

The 2013 production The Fuentidueña Apse: A Journey from Castile to New York was screened in Spain on November 27 as part of FICAB XIII, the 13th International Film Festival of the Bidasoa. The documentary explains how the twelfth-century Romanesque apse was dismantled in 1957 from the church of San Martín in Fuentidueña, north of Madrid, transported to New York, and installed at The Cloisters between 1958 and 1961. Christopher Noey directed and produced this 28-minute documentary and I was its editor; many people within Digital Media and across the Museum contributed to the project.

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Now at the Met

A Neighborhood of Castles in the Sky:
Washington Heights before The Cloisters

Danielle Oteri, Lecturer, The Cloisters museum and gardens; Program Director, International Center of Medieval Art; Curator, Feast on History

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013

Washington Heights—the neighborhood in northern Manhattan that houses The Cloisters museum and gardens—is built upon a series of bluffs and cliffs. Concrete staircases and creaky subway elevators connect different sections of the neighborhood, and buildings stand tall on stilts driven deep into Manhattan schist. From a distance, blocks of apartment buildings appear like castellated European villages. However, despite its once-impenetrable terrain, or maybe because of it, Washington Heights is a place where some of the wildest and most romantic medieval-architecture fantasies in New York City have been realized for over 150 years.

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