“The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the medieval and was assembled from architectural elements from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. The Cloisters’ collection has over three thousand artworks from medieval Europe.” –Wikipedia
My cousin Mary loves this place, she hates PS1 which she thinks is too weird. If I suggest we go to the Modern, she will say, oh, let’s go to the Brooklyn Museum. So this is how we wound up at the Cloisters, which is a good compromise. In the early fall it is a lovely place to be, as things are still growing outside. There was a lot of respect to detail on the outside, as well as the inside, kind of like the Indian Museum in Washington DC.
“The building and its cloistered gardens—located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan—are treasures in themselves, effectively part of the collection housed there.” –Wikipedia
In some ways it’s like visiting this magic castle or something, but if you know a little history you can learn a lot of little things that you never knew about. Gardens and plants, for example, the Espalier Pear Tree (below left), which I just thought was something pretty out of a book, or real food like the collard plant displayed here.
The cloister is an architectural, enclosed rectangular area. It was attached to a church, but devised to be cut off from the outside. Monks could go about their lives becoming insular, not being able to be distracted. These rectangular areas had colonnaded arcades around probably for a sense of solitude. Within the Cloisters are several, architectural examples from different places.
Several examples are open air spaces, one is glass enclosed reminding me of the courtyard environments (above, right) in both the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Freer in DC. I think the Victoria and Albert also has that in London. So basically, a cloister, is a courtyard and contained gardens, as well as the persons within them.