The Cloisters, Washington Heights, New York City, Part 3

We visited the beautiful Cloisters museum in Upper Manhattan. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. This is third and final installment of our visit.

This museum is a feast for the eyes as well as the history-hungry soul. I study medieval history in my spare time, so our visit was the fulfillment of a quest long in the making. There is truly too much to absorb here; one visit is not nearly enough. In similar manner, snapping a few photos and posting them online does not do the museum and the park justice. It’s just simply lovely.

With that said, I highlight some of the things I especially liked or found interesting. You really must read Parts 1 and 2 if you have not already. These give you a well-rounded view of the entire experience.

As we meandered down cool stone hallways, we ventured into small alcoves and rooms filled with artifacts and beautiful works of art.

These gilded ladies grace a large side table, hefted onto an elaborate dais. The one of the far left reminds me of Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.


Three Gilded Ladies

Off to the right is an enormous (bronze?) lecturn. My photo does not do the piece justice– the lecturn is HUGE. A speaker would stand behind the eagle, reading from a book propped on the stand. Can you see the stand? Such would give the listeners the impression that the eagle was speaking to them!

Eagle Lecturn

This is from a 1,000 year old German stein. The gold work is so elegant yet the small wooden figure is rather crude in comparison.

German Gold Steins

We entered another room filled with endless religious objects.

Museum Room

I was intrigued by the statue of Jesus in a wheeled donkey. Called a Palmesel (a palm donkey), bishops or priests would haul this out every Palm Sunday in a parade. The people would imitate the Jerusalem crowds of the first century, throwing tree branches and shouting their praises as the palmesel passed by. This ritual ended after the Protestant Reformation. This piece dates from the 15th century.

German limewood Palmesel 15th century

This is a closeup shot of one of the figures on a 12-century Belgian baptismal font.

Belgium calciferous baptismal font 1150

This part of a reconstructed chapel dates to the 12th century. That is Christ carved out of wood. Th eoriginal colored plaster in the domed area is of the Madonna.

Wooden Crucifix in 12th cent chapel

My daughters by a large Gothic door. I was completely overcome by the architecture.

Gothic Door

A candelabra. Can’t you just hear the chanting monks now?

Candelabra Cloisters

I love this museum. It’s a place you can visit again and again. It’s peaceful and quiet and simply gorgeous. The grounds outside the museum offer lovely views of flowering trees and the Hudson River. Well worth the visit!

Cloisters 1

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive New York, NY 10040
(212) 923-3700

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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