The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan

30 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Museums, Exhibitions, New York City

The Cloisters © flickr.com - Brian Clift/cc-by-2.0

The Cloisters © flickr.com – Brian Clift/cc-by-2.0

The Cloisters is a museum in Upper Manhattan, New York City specializing in European medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts. Its early collection was built by the American sculptor, art dealer and collector George Grey Barnard, and acquired by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1925. Rockefeller extended the collection and in 1931 purchased land at Washington Heights and contracted the design for a new building that was to become the Cloisters. The museum is today part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has been described as the “crowning achievement of American museology.” Its architectural and artistic works are largely from the Romanesque and Gothic stylistic periods. Its four cloisters; the Cuxa, Bonnefont, Trie and Saint-Guilhem cloisters, were sourced from French monasteries and abbeys. Between 1934 and 1939 they were excavated and reconstructed in Washington Heights, in a large project overseen by the architect Charles Collens. They are surrounded by a series of indoor chapels and rooms grouped by period which include the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn, Spanish and Gothic rooms. The design, layout and ambiance of the building is intended to evoke in visitors a sense of the Medieval European monastic life through its distinctive architecture. The area around the buildings contains a number of reconstructed early medieval gardens.   read more…

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