99 Margaret Corbin Drive,
Fort Tryon Park
, New York
Open 7 Days a Week
Sunday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.*
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May
High on a bluff in Fort Tryon Park, at the very northern tip of
Manhattan, stands the Cloisters Museum and Gardens. Reassembled,
brick by brick, from portions of five medieval monasteries, the museum
provides a harmonious medieval setting to experience the Met’s rich
collection of medieval art.
Originally the collection of sculptor George Grey Barnard (housed in a
museum on nearby Ft. Washington Avenue), and purchased by the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1920s with a donation from
philanthropist and collector, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the Cloisters
Museum and Gardens now houses a collection of over five thousand pieces
of medieval art, including tapestries, ivory and stone carvings,
reliquaries, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and painted altar
panels. All of the pieces are displayed within the stone rooms and
passageways of the cloisters — calm and evocative spaces that invite
contemplation and transport visitors to medieval times.
Perhaps the most famous artwork at the Cloisters, donated by Mr.
Rockefeller, is the series of seven tapestries known as “The Hunt of the
Unicorn,” or “The Unicorn Tapestries.” These exquisite tapestries –
donated by Mr. Rockefeller – are woven of wool, metallic threads and
silk, and are so detailed that scholars have been able to identify
specific medieval flowers woven into the scenes. Other highlights
include the Bury St. Edmunds Cross (also known as the Cloisters Cross), a
twelfth-century walrus-ivory cross, and the Annunciation Triptych or
Mérode Altarpiece, one of the most celebrated early Netherlandish
paintings. The Cloisters' Treasury gallery includes more secular and
prosaic items like a complete deck of hand-painted medieval playing
Outside the galleries, the Cloisters commands a superb elevated view
of the Hudson River and the cliffs on the opposite (New Jersey) shore.
Its gardens have been planted with plants popular in the Middle Ages,
and are tended according to medieval theories of gardening.