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The Cloisters

Museum

2 Hours

Estimated Time

The Cloisters is a museum in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, 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 artworks shown in the architectural settings of French monasteries and abbeys. Its buildings are centered around four cloisters—the Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem, Bonnefont and Trie—that were purchased by American sculptor and art dealer George Grey Barnard, dismantled in Europe between 1934 and 1939, and moved to New York. They were acquired for the museum by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Other major sources of objects were the collections of J. P. Morgan and Joseph Brummer. The museum's building was designed by the architect Charles Collens, on a site on a steep hill, with upper and lower levels. It contains medieval gardens and a series of chapels and themed galleries, including the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn, Spanish and Gothic rooms. The design, layout, and ambiance of the building is intended to evoke a sense of medieval European monastic life.It holds about 5,000 works of art and architecture, all European and mostly dating from the Byzantine to the early Renaissance periods, mainly during the 12th through 15th centuries. The varied objects include stone and wood sculptures, tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and panel paintings, of which the best known include the c. 1422 Early Netherlandish Mérode Altarpiece and the c. 1495–1505 Flemish Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. Rockefeller purchased the museum site in Washington Heights in 1930, and donated it and the Bayard collection to the Metropolitan in 1931. Upon its opening on May 10, 1938, the Cloisters was described as a collection "shown informally in a picturesque setting, which stimulates imagination and creates a receptive mood for enjoyment".

Phone

+1 212-923-3700

Website

http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters

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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