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PHOTO/ Medieval Art and Architecture at The Cloisters

In New York, a renowned collection of medieval art is put in context in a unique museum. Photos of statues, relief sculptures, stained glass, as well as a full medieval cloister.

Detail of sculpture Death of the Virgin Detail of sculpture Death of the Virgin

Viewing medieval religious art in a modern museum can be disconcerting.  Lined up along a bare wall or behind a row of bright showcases, with one Madonna after another, kneeling knights and obscure saints, the pieces can seem quaint and remote.

The beautiful Cloisters Museum overlooking the Hudson River is part of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and it has closed that distance by offering a context for its medieval art collection.   An architectural setting has been composed of recovered pieces from four cloisters from southern France and reconstructed with halls, chapels, long rooms and enclosed gardens appropriate to the period.  

The collection spans from a Constantine-era ivory plaque of St. John the Baptist to an ornate late Gothic Spanish chalice in silver embedded with rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and crystals.   The museum offers capitals decorated with grinning gargoyles, altars, statues, crucifixes, tapestries, stained-glass windows, and sepulchral monuments in a somber chapel. 

Walking through the low-lit quiet stone halls, the visitor is invited to experience another time and expression wholly different from our own, infused with mystery and majesty. 

For full Gallery of photos from the museum by Sharon Mollerus: