The Met Cloisters New York City - New York City Article
New York City Tour of The Met Cloisters
By: Sasha Dimitrijevic
Tucked into the arms of upper Manhattan, The Met Cloisters bring the breath of medieval times – along with its crafts, customs, architecture and art designs – to life for a modern audience thanks to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Come along with us on a special New York city tour of this incredible museum!
New York Sightseeing at The Met Cloisters
The museum was melded together out of French and Spanish legacies, making it truly worthy of its name and the time periods it represents. The word “Cloisters,” in the middle ages was most commonly associated with Monasteries, Convents and Cathedrals. More often than not they were rectangle in shape, covering walkways on one side and an open square on the other, enabling free passage while admiring the beauty of nature.
In light of this meaning, the museum has three exceedingly lush gardens which guard the interiors. Some of the plants inhabiting the gardens have existed since the Middle Ages and were carefully tended, used for medicinal and healing purposes. Today, they are cared for in the exact same way.
Tales of magic and witchcraft were strongly present, therefore some plants used in such ceremonies are also grown here. The gardens are one of the museum’s biggest attractions, inspiring poets, artists and lovers throughout time. They stood for the magic of imagination, freedom and beauty.
All the rooms inside The Met Cloisters are constructed in a way that was also prevalent during medieval times. Decorative arts take the form of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Three chapels deriving from Spanish and French origins are complemented with frescos and stained-glass windows, depicting a strong relationship with religion.
The Museum is also a great collector of tapestries, some of which are displayed in the Nine Heroes room. Great rulers and leaders represented inspiration and admiration in the Middle Ages, therefore they were always of interest to the public and artists. The room of Nine Heroes enjoys a very long history and portrays princesses and leaders from various time periods; conveying a strong message of power, influence and wealth.
Another room known for its divine art is the Unicorn Tapestries room, showing a tale of events following this beloved mythical beast from the hunt to its confinement. A fun fact is that the unicorn’s popularity as also reached modern times and some of the tapestries from this collection appear in Harry Potter movies, The Half-Blooded Prince, with tapestry of Unicorn in Captivity, being the most prominent one to appear.
The impressive Treasury the museum houses bears a number of luxuries that show how the nobility indulged their desires. Rich objects and literature in gold, silver and ivory stand on display, each sharing a piece of history. There is also a Pontaut Chapter House, frequently used for matters of intrigue among the court or monks. It is best described as one of the Whispering Rooms; a carrier of mysteries and conspiracies.
All the gardens of The Met Cloisters are accentuated by a glorious bell tower, at 264 ft. above sea level. Not only is it very high, but it is also one of the most beautifully undisturbed views in the city.
As for popular activities at the museum for anyone interested in a unique New York city tour, The Met Cloisters also serve as an inspiration for – the Medieval Fair, held in Fort Tryon Park. The dates of the Fair vary from year to year. Here, history lovers gather, dress up, sing and dance; all according to this special period in history and are welcome in the museum to celebrate and resonate to its riches.
This New York sightseeing experience is undeniably one of a kind. Rockefeller was able to bring parts of European history and put them on display with unremarkable grace and elegance while imparting such incredible knowledge and legacy; from its opening in 1938, to this very day. Touring this museum is an enriching experience for locals or anyone planning to visit New York. Come experience the feeling of simply being in the presence of this immense masterpiece, which so kindly illustrates the memories of a different era, by bringing the Middle Ages to life again.
Welcome! Please subscribe to our blogs to learn about fun and exciting things to do in each city!
Our featured blog is “Will’s New York Nite Life"
If you enjoy Jazz and live performances, be sure to subscribe for the latest previews and reviews of NYC’s best entertainment!
Will Friedwald also writes about music and popular culture for the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Observer, and is a renown American author.