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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.

In Season

A Flower to Remember

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is described as an annual weed that thrives on wastelands, roadsides, and neglected fields, and it is most famously associated with battlefields. As a denizen of disturbed lands, the poppy was one of the first and most striking colonizers of a trampled and scarred landscape. Its luminescent red flowers symbolize the blood of the fallen and serve as a reminder of the beauty of life amidst the devastation of war. Dubbed Flanders, or remembrance, poppy, the corn poppy is a symbol of the First World War in contemporary culture.

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In Season

A Perfect Platform, Part Two: Outside the Walls

Bryan Stevenson, Gardener, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015

Earlier this season, the gardens department here at the The Cloisters museum and gardens decided to freshen up and expand our cultivated hops (Humulus lupulus). In last week's post, I explained the precedent for vertical trellises in late medieval and early modern horticulture and how we used this to construct a vertical trellis for the hops in the Bonnefont Herb Garden. Today I'll outline the creation of a new bed outside the museum's walls for several young hops plants started in the greenhouse and the construction of a structure for the plants to climb.

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In Season

A Perfect Platform, Part One: Building in Bonnefont

Bryan Stevenson, Gardener, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015

Earlier this season, we decided to freshen up and expand the cultivated hops (Humulus lupulus) at The Cloisters museum and gardens. Managing Horticulturist Caleb Leech, Gardener Yvette Weaver, and I sought to construct a new structure on which to train the hops in the Bonnefont Herb Garden to grow, and to install a new bed in the grounds outside the Museum's walls for additional hops cultivation. We will share the process for accomplishing both projects over two blog posts. Today I will discuss how the gardens department went about constructing the new hops trellis in the Bonnefont Herb Garden, and the story of the new hops bed will be explained in a later post.

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In Season

Reclaiming Saint James

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015

In 2014, over two hundred thousand enthusiasts walked at least part of the road to the shrine of Saint James in northern Spain, and more than two-and-a-half million visited the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. My more energetic colleagues at The Cloisters lead organized trips to Santiago on behalf of the Museum, and the Met produced Journey to Saint James: A Pilgrim's Guide (1993), a film about the pilgrimage, in the 1990s.

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In Season

A Tasty Take on Medieval Rosary Beads

Hannah Holden, Guest Blogger

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015

As part of his recent internship in the MediaLab, college student Kevin Yoo created Medieval Treasures and Chocolate Pleasures, an original, technology-driven project inspired by the Met's collection in which he 3D-printed medieval rosary beads in sugar and gypsum.

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In Season

Celebrating Life and Death with Rubies

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

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015

For those of you who are celebrating birthdays this month, we are featuring two especially fascinating rings from the Griffin Collection. Both incorporate rubies, which is the birthstone for July, and hidden chambers, but more on that later. First, let's consider the ruby.

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In Season

The Ghastly Smell of the Dragon Arum

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015

Video of flies swarming around the dragon arum at The Cloisters. Videos by Andrew Winslow

The Dracunculus vulgaris, or dragon arum, is a favorite plant at The Cloisters. It is fly-pollinated and produces the smell of rotting meat in order to draw the insects to it. We had hoped that our dragon arum would bloom over the Garden Days weekend, but it kept us waiting for a few extra days.

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In Season

Preserving a Natural Landmark

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Museum is extremely pleased to provide an update on a project that threatened the extraordinary and long-protected viewshed of the Hudson River from The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

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In Season

Founding Father

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015

At the heart of the Saint-Guilhem Cloister lies the heavily embroidered legend of the man who founded it—Saint William (Guilhem in the local Occitan dialect). A painted coffret on loan to The Cloisters depicts an early and colorful episode of his story; the stone cloister reflects the final, more sober chapter of the life of Guilhem.

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In Season

Garden Days at The Cloisters

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2015

Join us for Garden Days at The Cloisters, a daylong program of events, this Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7. Our horticultural staff will answer questions in the gardens throughout the day and lead tours specific to this year's theme: the importance and use of spices in medieval culture. The program also includes garden tours, a family workshop, and a talk by food writer and historian Michael Krondl.

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About this Blog

In Season features all the latest news about The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of the Museum in northern Manhattan devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.