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Gallery of Late Gothic Art Reopens at The Cloisters

Monumental Tapestry is Highlight of Multi-Year Project at Met's Northern Manhattan Branch

The Late Gothic Hall at The Cloisters museum and gardens—The Metropolitan Museum of Art's branch in northern Manhattan for medieval art—will reopen December 8 after an extensive five-year renovation. Returning to public view for the first time in a generation following a thorough campaign of conservation will be a monumental early 16th-century Netherlandish tapestry from Burgos Cathedral in Spain. Another highlight of the new installation is the recently conserved stone tracery of four large, 15th-century windows from the Dominican monastery in Sens, a town in Burgundy, France. They have been fitted with clear glass in a leaded diamond pattern. The Late Gothic Hall, which is distinguished by its high timber ceiling, will also contain many of the finest 15th-century works in The Cloisters' collection, including statues by the renowned German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider and richly painted and gilded altarpieces from Spain. The renovation of the gallery also includes new cases, new lighting, and replastered walls that return the gallery to its original stone color. The Late Gothic Hall is the last of the major galleries on the main level at The Cloisters to undergo renovation in the last decade.

The renovation was funded by The Alice Tully Foundation.

Peter Barnet, the Museum's Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, commented: "Because of its proximity to the Main Hall, the Late Gothic Gallery is one of the first galleries many of our visitors enter. As the winter holiday season approaches, we are delighted to return this space—one of the largest galleries at the museum—to full use as a display area for some of our many masterworks from the 15th and 16th century. And, as the subject matter in the Burgos Tapestry celebrates the birth of Jesus, the timing could not have been better."

The work in the Late Gothic Hall is part of the larger Building Preservation Project that has included the renovation and roof repair of the Nine Heroes and Unicorn Tapestries Rooms (completed in 1999); the construction of a new skylight for the Saint-Guilhem Cloister and conservation of the medieval sculpture contained therein (completed in 2003); the renovation of the Boppard Room (completed in 2004); the complete refurbishment of the Early Gothic Hall and the conservation of the stained glass that is displayed there (completed in 2006); the renovation of the Mérode Gallery and the Cuxa Cloister, including the installation of architectural elements (completed in 2007); and the installation of new lighting and climate control systems in many of the galleries (ongoing).

Constructed in New York City's Fort Tryon Park from 1935 to 1938 to house part of the Metropolitan Museum's superb collection of medieval art, The Cloisters museum and gardens evoke the feeling of a medieval monastery without attempting to recreate any single site. Within The Cloisters are four reconstructed medieval cloisters—Cuxa Cloister, Trie Cloister, Bonnefont Cloister, and the Saint-Guilhem Cloister—that give the museum its name.

Located in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Cloisters is the only museum in the United Stated dedicated solely to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

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November 23, 2009

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