Last weekend Dr. Amy Davis took some members of the Bible Department to the Cloisters Museum in Manhattan. The Cloisters is a museum of religious and church-related art from different cultures that is managed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A cloister is an enclosed part of a monastery or nunnery which borders or leads into the courtyard or the garden. The museum is named the Cloisters because it contains structural parts of five different cloisters from around the world. Being that a cloister would normally surround a garden, the museum maintains a garden filled with plants used commonly in the medieval time period. In this picture the group is seated in front of the garden while listening to the guide of the garden tour explain the origins and uses of some of the plants contained within. The tour guide for the garden tour also showed us some of the plants depicted in the museum’s works of art and explained their significance. Some of the dyes used in the paintings and tapestries were growing in the museum’s gardens.
Here the group is enjoying the incredible view of the Hudson river from outside of the Cloisters. The museum sits on a hill at a high elevation above the surrounding area, and from the balconies you can see for miles. This view is also visible from one of the gardens, which is outdoors.
This image is contained within a collection of stained glass windows that depict everything from the Passion to Purgatory. This window depicts the angel of death plunging his arrow into the back of a peasant, a prince, and a pope. While I found this image amusing, I also found it sobering. It was funny to me because of how cliché the depiction of the angel of death is, but it also made me think about how death comes for everyone, no matter what a person’s status is. Art like this makes me appreciate life even more.
This is a painting of the Archangel Michael defeating a demon. In Scripture Michael is a warrior and the defender of heaven. In this depiction he is clad with ornate medieval armor and holds a long spear. He stands triumphant over a disturbing image of a demon. I have never thought of Michael appearing this way, but it is interesting to see how he was thought of by the medieval artists.
The Cloisters is an incredible museum filled with beautiful art. There are paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and other art forms that depict Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, and numerous other religious subjects. Our group spent hours in the museum, but I was not able to view and read about everything I passed by. I would love to get back to the Cloisters one day, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in art.