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Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

The Masterpieces of The Cloisters

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The Masterpieces of The Cloisters

The MET Cloisters is a separate building located in Fort Tryon Park and dedicated solely to medieval art. The Cloisters building was completed was in 1938 and named The Cloisters on account of the five medieval French cloisters whose salvaged structures were incorporated into the modern construction. Within the Cloisters Museum, there are five thousand objects all related to medieval European works. The collection features items of outstanding beauty and historical importance.

The Cloisters Museum Collection

The Cloisters Museum Collection covered by this book include:

  • Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece) by Robert Campin
    • Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin is also known as the Mérode Altarpiece is oil on oak in three panels format. This masterpiece represents from left to right, the donors kneeling in prayer in a garden, the Annunciation to Mary, which is set in a contemporary, domestic setting, and Saint Joseph as a carpenter. The painting contains many religious symbols including the lily symbolising the purity of Mary, and the Holy Spirit represented by the rays of light and a small white figure with a cross, coming from the left-hand window in the central panel.
  • The Belles Heures of Jean of France, Duke of Berry
    • The “Belles Heures” or “The Beautiful Hours” is a beautifully illuminated manuscript book, containing prayers to be said by the faithful at each canonical hour of the day. The French Duke of Berry (French: Jean, Duc de Berry) commissioned this book in 1409 for his private use. Belle Heures was designed to his wishes and is famous because of its many rich decorations.
  • Palmesel
    • “Palmesel” is the German word for “palm donkey” and refers to the statue of Jesus on a donkey, mounted on a platform with wheels and is used in Palm Sunday processions. Palm Sunday is a Christian feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in the four canonical Gospels.


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“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

– Psalm 23:4


Photo Credit: 1) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons