The Cloisters. A Metropolitan Museum of Art subsidiary. A trip to New York isn’t worth it if you don’t visit the Cloisters. It consists of four cloisters reconstructed from French monasteries that were dismantled between 1934 and 1939. The museum is on a hill in Fort Tryon Park…quite a hike up the hill, since we took the subway to get there and walked! The museum consists of interior chapels, all stone, with arched colonnades and medieval gardens. Over 5,000 pieces of art are on display, including tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, stone and wood sculptures, and panels. In addition, there are approximately 300 pieces of stained glass. It is incredible…like walking through a monastery, but with something to look at every step along the way.
The first photos are part of a current exhibition called Heavenly Bodies….fashion influenced by religious orders and religious artwork. Aren’t these gowns gorgeous, AND unusual? The very first gown and model were being illuminated only by natural light from the slit windows. The gown is influenced by a nun’s habit, and the scene just took our breaths away. Stunning. The pee(p) hole garment was one we hadn’t previously heard of! And the crown of thorns is modern, part of this exhibit, and is shown as a sort of tiara, but it would be impossible to wear, since there isn’t a flat bottom, but spikes all around. The grounds are exquisite, with views of the Hudson River and even a distant view of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which we drove over a few days ago. The last photo before the video was astounding to us. It is an altarpiece triptych from the workshop of Robert Campin, South Netherlandish, painted between 1427 and 1432. It is astonishing because it looks like fresh paint, and the details are sharp and clean and precise. It seems impossible that it can be 600 years old!
In the video at the end, Mike was trying to capture the stillness and essence of the museum. Each room had its own sacred music playing, and some rooms had artwork revolving around a theme, like a room dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, done with lots of blue, and playing Ave Maria. The security guards in each room looked tired….dressed in suit and tie, their job is to stand for 8 hours guarding the objects in the room and answering random questions….AND listening to the same sacred song. Over and over and over and over and