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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

"Round Table Capers": Medieval Festivals in the 1950s

Emma Wegner, Assistant Museum Educator, The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013

From 1951 to 1957, The Cloisters hosted annual festivals for children of Members. Each of the seven festivals—held in the courtyard and given vibrantly titled themes such as "Round Table Capers" (1954) and "When Knights were Bold" (1955)—was an extravagant affair organized by the staff of the Met's Junior Museum, the precursor to what is now the Education Department. Children enjoyed puppet shows, games, donkey rides, and even trained bears.

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Now at the Met

The Cloisters in Popular Culture:
"Time in This Place Does Not Obey an Order"

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013

For the past seventy-five years, The Cloisters has provided visitors with more than just a chance to view an exceptional collection of medieval art and architecture. In tourist guides and travel reviews, a trip to The Cloisters is commonly described as a way to be transported to the Middle Ages or—for locals seeking a "staycation"—a chance to get out of New York without leaving the city. The powerful effect of the place has clearly been noticed by screenwriters, novelists, and even comicbook authors, who have set a fair number of fictional works here over the years.

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Now at the Met

Renovating The Cloisters: Maintaining the Vision

Peter Barnet, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013

"Creating the Cloisters," the spring issue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin written by curator Timothy B. Husband, is an engaging and nuanced narrative of the early history of The Cloisters. As a complement to that narrative, I'd like to review the more recent gallery renovations and reinstallations that have been undertaken, all guided by the principle of maintaining the integrity of the original architectural vision of The Cloisters.

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Now at the Met

Celebrating The Cloisters

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013

The Cloisters marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Since its opening on May 14, 1938, it has become a treasured landmark, celebrated for both its extraordinary setting and its world-class collection of medieval art and architecture. Located in Fort Tryon Park, a verdant oasis on the northern tip of Manhattan, the building commands sweeping views of the Hudson River and the towering Palisades on the river's opposite bank. The quiet of the lush gardens and the magnificence of the historic architecture create an ideal setting for the outstanding collection within.

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Now at the Met

The French Franciscan Cloister in New York

Céline Brugeat, 2011–2012 Annette Kade Fellow, Department of Medieval Art

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Cloisters incorporates significant sculptural ensembles from medieval cloisters from the south of France, traditionally identified as coming from four sites: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Bonnefont-en-Comminges.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

A Final Note

Brandie Ratliff, Research Associate, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Over the past few weeks, Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition was dismantled, and we've begun wrapping up work on the exhibition: thanking our generous sponsors, lenders, and catalogue authors, preparing reports on the exhibition, tidying files, and reinstalling Met objects in our permanent galleries. The exhibition was a tremendous success.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Ivory Panels

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, July 6, 2012

In the interview with Pete Dandridge, we learned about the challenges involved in treating and displaying the delicate ivory panels from al-Humayma. The thoughtful and considerate conservation work on these pieces allows us to see amazing remnants of a large Abbasid residence located in the Hisma desert of southern Jordan. They also represent—through the figures' wardrobes and poses—a point of contact between multiple cultures.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Interview with the Registrar

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012

As registrar, Aileen Chuk organizes the arrival, installation, and return of loaned works of art for exhibitions at the Museum. I recently spoke with her about the preparations for Byzantium and Islam.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Figurines in the Mediterranean

Alzahraa K. Ahmed, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012

In many cases, burials have served as windows onto a past culture's daily life. Children's graves are no exception. Although attracting less archaeological attention than other finds, they provide abundant material that informs our understanding of the diverse activities and habits of people during the Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam by G. W. Bowersock

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The large Jordanian floor mosaics are some of the most provocative objects in the exhibition, a fact made evident in the lively talks at the recent symposium "Floor Mosaics in the Late Antique Mediterranean," which took place at the Met on May 11, 2012.

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