Cloisters, the

Cloisters, the,

museum of medieval European art, in Fort Tryon Park, New York City, overlooking the Hudson River. A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of ArtMetropolitan Museum of Art,
New York City, founded in 1870. The Metropolitan Museum is the foremost repository of art in the United States and one of the world's great museums. It opened in 1880 on its present site on Central Park facing Fifth Ave.
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, it was opened to the public in May, 1938. Designed by architect Charles Collens (1873–1956), the building includes elements from five French cloisters, a 12th-century Romanesque chapel, and a chapter house; three of the reconstructed cloisters enclose authentic medieval gardens. The core of the collection the museum houses consists of several hundred examples of medieval painting, sculpture, and other forms of art gathered in France by George Grey BarnardBarnard, George Grey,
1863–1938, American sculptor, b. Bellefonte, Pa. He studied engraving, then sculpture, first at the Art Institute of Chicago, then at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
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. This collection was bought by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (see under Rockefeller, John DavisonRockefeller, John Davison,
1839–1937, American industrialist and philanthropist, b. Richford, N.Y. He moved (1853) with his family to a farm near Cleveland and at age 16 went to work as a bookkeeper.
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), in 1925, and presented to the Metropolitan Museum. Later additions include a series of 15th-century tapestries, Hunt of the Unicorn; a tapestry series of the 14th cent., The Nine Heroes; the famous Mérode Altarpiece by Robert CampinCampin, Robert
, 1378–1444, Flemish painter who with the van Eycks ranks as a founder of the Netherlandish school. He has been identified as the Master of Flémalle on the basis of three panels in Frankfurt-am-Main said to have come from the abbey of Flémalle
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; the Bury St. Edmunds ivory crucifix; and Les Belles Heures de Jean, Duc de Berry, an early 15th-century illuminated book of hours. The holdings also include outstanding examples of stained glass, ritual objects, metalwork, and enamels.


See J. J. Rorimer, The Cloisters (3d ed. 1963), and Medieval Monuments at the Cloisters (rev. ed. 1972); P. Barnet and N. Wu, The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture (2005).