The Cloisters museum and gardens is an absolutely gorgeous place that I had been meaning to go to since probably freshman year of college. For those of you unfamiliar with this historic site, it’s the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.
The collection is said to be comprised of about two thousand works of art that date between the 12th and 15th Centuries. Not to mention, the Cloisters is a work of art in and of itself. The Cloisters is filled with beautifully designed architecture, open air terraces, stained glass, incredible artwork, pretty gardens and lots of grandiose archways and columns.
While I was obviously blown away by all the tapestries, depictions of Jesus’ Crucifixion, jewels, carvings and statues, one of my favorite places to check out were the gardens! Especially the herb garden, which was filled with labeled plants and herbs used in medieval potions and crafts. I love plants and was fascinated! Not to mention, the surrounding views of the Hudson River and Fort Tryon Park were fantastic.
In terms of the actual artwork, I really loved the the room of unicorn tapestries. It’s a whole room dedicated to showcasing the 7 individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries.” According to The Met, the tapestries, “…are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn…” This sh*t was crazy! I definitely am not a fan of unicorn killers, but I did find this room very interesting, and the actual tapestries are amazingly crafted.
A main theme of the artworks, not surprisingly, was Jesus’ crucifixion, along with depiction of The Passion of Christ. It can be seen almost everywhere as you roam the museum. It’s all quite epic and very intense.
A visit to The Cloisters isn’t complete without strolling through the beautiful fresh air of Fort Tryon Park! Which we absolutely did. I will be back in the Fall- I’m sure it’s gorgeous then with all the changing colored leaves! I felt like such an explorer walk/hiking through all the greenery, foliage covered pathways and stone staircases 🙂