We were driving North along the FDR drive comfortably seated in a white rented SUV that seemed like a wedding cake.
How changed was New York’s skyline since the days we moved to the city for our medical training back in the 80’s.
Bart, an old friend from back then, was driving the huge car and pointed up the hill: “There, the Cloisters!”.
We had never visited the museum to our friend’s surprise.
Three days later, after visiting the dreamy forested Berkshires, where our friends Jacques and Joy now live in lovely Lenox, we took the A train up to the Cloisters.
From the subway Station, one does have to go up the hill. “Don’t give up” signs encourage visitors along the way up.
Why had we neglected to visit the Cloisters?
We were surprised by the magnificent collection of medieval Art from metal work, to sculpture, to painting, and textiles.
The building itself, overlooking the Hudson river, is able to transport us to the architectural ambiance of the middle ages. How awkward can that be in NYC?
The Cloisters collection started with George Grey Barnard (1863-1938) a well-known American sculptor student of Rodin in France. While working in rural France the sculptor started dealing in medieval Art to supplement his income. He moved back to NY on the eve of WW I and opened a museum at the northern tip of Manhattan.
In 1924, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) provided funds for the purchase of the Cloisters by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rockefeller also enriched the Museum collection with more than 40 of his own medieval works of art.
The philanthropist and collector not only made possible for the present museum to be set at the center of Fort Tron Park but also made sure we could delight ourselves over the view across the Hudson river by donating additional land to the Palisades park.
There are four actual cloisters – the Cuxa, the Bonnefort, the Trie, and the Saint-Guilhem – and each come from abbeys and monasteries of the same names in France.
The gardens are peaceful, well-kept, and a refuge from the busy city.
Galeria de Imagens
Fotos de Minnie Freudenthal e Manuel Rosário