In keeping with my plan to visit the Metropolitan Museum once a month, I spent an hour at The Cloisters today. This is the uptown branch of the Met that houses a large collection of medieval objects in a building resembling a monastery, and with multiple courtyards and interiors of European abbeys that were transported here and reconstructed. It sits in the midst of a park on highlands overlooking the Hudson River Palisades and northeast Manhattan, and it is the only museum in Manhattan where I can drive up and park at the front door anytime I want. The trip from my home takes about fifteen minutes.
I like to visit museums for short periods, or exhaustion sets in. Since I can go often, I can look at a few things each time and leave the rest for later. Some of favorites that I viewed today:
From the parking lot
Wooden alterpiece figure: Renaissance style – note the shaved forehead and hairstyle
Gold and silver – wildmen hold up the one on the left
Wildman shouldering the burden
Wildman – a symbol of virility?
Wonderful Spanish plates
Robert Campin, Merode Alterpiece – the picture as window is the central conceit of western painting from the late middle ages to the late 19th century.
A bishop seeks guideance from above.
You are there!
The 3-D effect of the dark blue and black stained glass is wonderful.
Poor light to protect the manuscript of the Apocalypse – note the grotesque in the lower right
Entombment, Florentine, similar to Lorenzo Monaco, a favorite of mine.
Back of a mirror or casket cover showing the attack on Love’s castle, a popular theme of the day. The defenders dump barrels of roses on the besiegers.
Remarkable ivory carving of a hunt. Note the dying deer on the right, attacked by man and dogs.
Thank heavens the Italians gave us forks!
Reliquary for a saint’s arm bone – Lichanos?
One of many cloisters at The Cloisters
Idealized Christian knight on a tomb
Gothic naturalism – a donor stands by the door of the church he built
Strange, abstract figures in a church apse
More fun with monsters devouring sinners
Romanesque floral ornament on a capital
Sinners in hell
Lively ornament; the damned in hell.
An acanthus capital – not what you think of as medieval!
The Hudson, the Palisades, and the George Washington Bridge to NJ
A remarkable torso of Christ, unusually naturalistic.
View to surrounding upper Manhattan
Old and new – what’s with that license plate? Death Trap!!
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Nothing About Me
I swim. I eat fish. I have lots of time to think. More in "By Way of Explanation."