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The Cloisters

Museum

2 Hours

Estimated Time

The Cloisters is a museum in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City specializing in European medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts, with a focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Governed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it contains a large collection of medieval art-works set in architectural centerpieces sourced from French monasteries and abbeys. The buildings largely comprise four cloisters—the Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem, Bonnefont and Trie cloisters— and a number of reconstructed Gothic chapels and halls. They were dismantled in Europe between 1934 and 1939, and rebuilt at the four-acre site in Washington Heights, New York, during a large-scale and complex project based on the acquisitions of the American sculptor and art dealer George Grey Barnard, and implemented by the architect Charles Collens, and funded by the financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. The building is constructed on a steep hill and comprises upper and lower levels. They contain early medieval gardens and series of indoor chapels and thematic display spaces, including the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn, Spanish and Gothic rooms. It holds approximately five thousand medieval works of art and architecture from Europe, mostly dating to the 12th to 15th centuries—that is, from the Byzantine to the early Renaissance periods. The varied objects include stone and wood sculptures, tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and panel paintings, of which the best known include the c. 1422 Mérode Altarpiece attributed to Robert Campin and the c. 1495–1505 Flemish The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. The museum's early collection was built by Barnard. It was acquired by Rockefeller, who in 1931 purchased the site at Washington Heights as a permanent home for the works. The design, layout and ambiance of the building is intended to evoke a sense of medieval European monastic life. On its opening, the museum was described as a "collection [which] is shown informally in a picturesque setting, which stimulates imagination and creates a receptive mood for enjoyment."

Phone

+1 212-923-3700

Opening hours

  • Sunday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Monday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Tuesday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Wednesday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Thursday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Friday 10:00 - 16:45
  • Saturday 10:00 - 16:45
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