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In Season

The Death of Joseph Breck and the Formation of The Cloisters Library

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

When, in 1925, the Metropolitan Museum purchased the building and collection amassed by George Grey Barnard that he had named "The Cloisters," its stewardship was given to Joseph Breck, then chief curator of the Decorative Arts Department. As the first director of The Cloisters museum and gardens, he oversaw a new installation of the collection, the electrification of the galleries, and the laying of garden spaces. But his greatest charge was coordinating the design of an entirely new building, funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in what is now Fort Tryon Park.

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In Season

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, and the Palisades

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

Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014

On my walks to and from work, I have often noted how people from the neighborhoods surrounding The Cloisters museum and gardens gather in the evenings in Fort Tryon Park to watch the sun as it dips below the Palisades to the west. People jogging, pushing strollers, walking dogs, sitting on benches, or lounging on blankets in the grass are all drawn to the sweeping vistas over the Hudson River. This view, long protected from large-scale development, is now under threat. LG, the Korean electronics company, is in the process of creating a corporate headquarters directly across the river from The Cloisters. In this post, I am not only hoping to build greater awareness of this project but am asking people to get involved in convincing LG to revise its plans, which would alter these majestic views for future generations. While this is an issue that we care deeply about at the museum, it also has broader implications for all who come to this corner of Manhattan seeking temporary relief from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

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In Season

Busy Bees at The Cloisters

Carly Still, Assistant Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014

"The honey bee (apis) is from the heat of the sun. It loves the summer, has a swift heat, and is unable to endure cold…" —Hildegard von Bingen

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In Season

Laser Cleaning for Stone Conservation at The Cloisters

Emeline Baude, Assistant Conservator, The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014

To clean or not to clean? That is the question.

The decision whether to clean a work of art is a difficult one for art conservators, as doing so is an irreversible action. Art that has withstood the vicissitudes of time comes to us with surfaces that show their age. While superficial layers may appear dirty, cleaning them sometimes removes information that is relevant to the history of the object. Thus, prior to making any treatment decision, conservators thoroughly study and analyze all aspects of a work of art.

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In Season

Recent Acquisition: Reverse-Painted Dish with Abraham and Melchizedek

Tim Husband, Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014

Once every month or so, we'll post about a recent addition to The Cloisters Collection. This month, we'll take a look at a large glass dish with painted decoration.

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In Season

Up on the Rooftops

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014

A midsummer storm sweeping off the Hudson River and lashing the buttresses of The Cloisters is a dramatic sight. Perched on a rocky outcrop with sweeping views across the river to the still-unspoiled Palisades, there is little shelter from the winds that batter the walls. This summer, we decided to strengthen our defenses against the gales and lightning with a little bit of medieval protection.

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In Season

In the Nick of Time

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

Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014

All around the world, the Feast of Saint Nicholas is celebrated in December. So why would I choose to write about "jolly old Saint Nick" this summer? Because two stories from the legend of this saintly bishop, both dealing with innocent young people who are in danger, have become suddenly and unexpectedly resonant for me.

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In Season

Gallery Talks by The Cloisters Summer College Interns: July 29 through August 1

Leslie Bussis Tait, Museum Educator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Cloisters Summer College Internship is a nine-week program for undergraduate students. Every summer, eight interns—selected from more than two hundred applicants—receive intensive training in museum education techniques at The Cloisters museum and gardens, where they conduct gallery workshops for five weeks with New York City day campers.

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In Season

Successful Secale

Caleb Leech, Managing Horticulturist, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014

In the Middle Ages, the diet of the wealthy, while plentiful, was nutritionally bereft compared to that of the common people. Those with the means feasted on meat seasoned with exotic and costly spices and wheat bread. The lighter and fresher the bread, the higher one's station in life. High-protein, low-gluten rye bread made from rye (Secale cereale) was fit only for the lowest. Rye was considered such humble food that Carthusian monks would take as a penance a hard tort made of the poorest-quality rye to symbolize their station in life as "Christ's beggars" (Henisch, 158); it was considered second rate to wheat and barley. Nonetheless, and despite its inauspicious beginnings, rye went from minor cultivation in the early Middle Ages to a staple food of temperate Europe in the ensuing centuries.

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In Season

Seekers of Shade

Christina Alphonso, Administrator, The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014

Emily Dickinson was a passionate gardener as well as an accomplished poet, and nature provided her with a lifelong source of inspiration.

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About this Blog

In Season features all the latest news about The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of the Museum in northern Manhattan devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.