The Cloisters is the Metropolitan Museum's branch in northern Manhattan, located on four acres in Fort Tryon Park. Named for the five European cloisters portions of which were incorporated into a museum building to display much the Museum's collection of medieval and Byzantine art.
The collection encompasses the art of the Mediterranean and Europe from the 4th-century to the early 16th-century. It also includes pre-medieval European works created during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Three of the cloisters feature gardens — designed according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents, and herbals.
Much of the sculpture at The Cloisters was acquired by George Grey Barnard, an American sculptor, collector and dealer of medieval art. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. acquired Barnard's collection and, in 1925, donated it to the Museum along with the grounds and a building in which to house it.
Whether you go or not, this new guide, The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture, published to celebrate The Cloisters' seventy-fifth anniversary, richly illustrates and describes the most important highlights of its collection, from paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and exquisitely carved ivories to its monumental architecture evocative of the grand religious spaces and domestic interiors of the Middle Ages. Home to an extraordinary collection of treasured masterworks, including the famed The Unicorn Tapestries.