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Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Medieval Art

The Museum's collection of medieval and Byzantine art is among the most comprehensive in the world. Displayed in both the Main Building and in the Metropolitan's branch in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters museum and gardens, the collection encompasses the art of the Mediterranean and Europe from the fall of Rome in the fourth century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century. It also includes pre-medieval European works of art created during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age.

In Season

A Flower to Remember

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is described as an annual weed that thrives on wastelands, roadsides, and neglected fields, and it is most famously associated with battlefields. As a denizen of disturbed lands, the poppy was one of the first and most striking colonizers of a trampled and scarred landscape. Its luminescent red flowers symbolize the blood of the fallen and serve as a reminder of the beauty of life amidst the devastation of war. Dubbed Flanders, or remembrance, poppy, the corn poppy is a symbol of the First World War in contemporary culture.

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In Season

A Perfect Platform, Part Two: Outside the Walls

Bryan Stevenson, Gardener, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015

Earlier this season, the gardens department here at the The Cloisters museum and gardens decided to freshen up and expand our cultivated hops (Humulus lupulus). In last week's post, I explained the precedent for vertical trellises in late medieval and early modern horticulture and how we used this to construct a vertical trellis for the hops in the Bonnefont Herb Garden. Today I'll outline the creation of a new bed outside the museum's walls for several young hops plants started in the greenhouse and the construction of a structure for the plants to climb.

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In Season

A Perfect Platform, Part One: Building in Bonnefont

Bryan Stevenson, Gardener, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015

Earlier this season, we decided to freshen up and expand the cultivated hops (Humulus lupulus) at The Cloisters museum and gardens. Managing Horticulturist Caleb Leech, Gardener Yvette Weaver, and I sought to construct a new structure on which to train the hops in the Bonnefont Herb Garden to grow, and to install a new bed in the grounds outside the Museum's walls for additional hops cultivation. We will share the process for accomplishing both projects over two blog posts. Today I will discuss how the gardens department went about constructing the new hops trellis in the Bonnefont Herb Garden, and the story of the new hops bed will be explained in a later post.

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Now at the Met

Why Vestments? An Introduction to Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World

Warren T. Woodfin, Kallinikeion Assistant Professor of Art History, Queens College, City University of New York

Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015

The exhibition Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World, now on view through November 1, 2015, presents a selection of notable liturgical vestments that communicate the continuing prestige of the Orthodox Church and its clergy in the centuries following the fifteenth-century fall of Byzantine Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. From a strictly theological viewpoint, vestments are hardly a necessity for Christian worship. Liturgical scholars are largely in agreement that for the first several centuries of Christianity's existence, its clergy officiated at services wearing the normal "street dress" of the Roman world. Only gradually did these items of clothing take on special significance as liturgical vestments, to be worn only during worship.

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In Season

Reclaiming Saint James

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015

In 2014, over two hundred thousand enthusiasts walked at least part of the road to the shrine of Saint James in northern Spain, and more than two-and-a-half million visited the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. My more energetic colleagues at The Cloisters lead organized trips to Santiago on behalf of the Museum, and the Met produced Journey to Saint James: A Pilgrim's Guide (1993), a film about the pilgrimage, in the 1990s.

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In Season

A Tasty Take on Medieval Rosary Beads

Hannah Holden, Guest Blogger

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015

As part of his recent internship in the MediaLab, college student Kevin Yoo created Medieval Treasures and Chocolate Pleasures, an original, technology-driven project inspired by the Met's collection in which he 3D-printed medieval rosary beads in sugar and gypsum.

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RumiNations

Recipe for an Exhibition: The Installation of Pattern, Color, Light

Kate Justement, Museum Seminar (MuSe) Intern, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Monday, July 20, 2015

As a recent college graduate and current summer intern in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Islamic Art, the past weeks have flown by, filled with new and exciting experiences, projects, and opportunities. Among these, I have been fortunate enough to observe some of the curation and the full installation of the exhibition Pattern, Color, Light: Architectural Ornament in the Near East (500–1000), now on view through October 25 in The Hagop Kevorkian Fund Special Exhibitions Gallery (gallery 458). This exhibition highlights architectural ornament from Near Eastern monuments, which exist today in fragmented form from numerous walls, ceilings, and floors. These fragments and their stylistic motifs crossed rival empires and illuminate common aesthetic trends of the period from 500 to 1000 A.D. The Department of Islamic Art started working on this exhibition about nine months ago, but by witnessing the final step of the process—the installation—I have a new appreciation and understanding of what it takes to coordinate a production such as this.

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In Season

Celebrating Life and Death with Rubies

C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015

For those of you who are celebrating birthdays this month, we are featuring two especially fascinating rings from the Griffin Collection. Both incorporate rubies, which is the birthstone for July, and hidden chambers, but more on that later. First, let's consider the ruby.

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In Season

The Ghastly Smell of the Dragon Arum

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015

Video of flies swarming around the dragon arum at The Cloisters. Videos by Andrew Winslow

The Dracunculus vulgaris, or dragon arum, is a favorite plant at The Cloisters. It is fly-pollinated and produces the smell of rotting meat in order to draw the insects to it. We had hoped that our dragon arum would bloom over the Garden Days weekend, but it kept us waiting for a few extra days.

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In Season

Preserving a Natural Landmark

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Museum is extremely pleased to provide an update on a project that threatened the extraordinary and long-protected viewshed of the Hudson River from The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

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