Writer Research – The Cloisters

I had fun last weekend visiting NYC with one of my sons to visit my oldest, who now lives there. We spent one of the day visiting The Met Museum’s Cloisters, a gorgeous space dedicated to showing off medieval era art and architecture. I’d seen photos from The Cloisters but had never been there myself. What a huge oversight for me, with my love of all things medieval! I wish I’d gone years ago when I was knee deep in writing medieval historicals.

The building itself is an interesting story. The Met sourced architectural remnants of chapels, monasteries and churches dating from 12th-15th century and incorporated the pieces into the new structure on the Hudson River in Upper Manhattan. The archive film and photos about this are fascinating! Look how lovely the building turned out. And each doorway in the museum is a period-authentic arch too.

The view from The Cloisters is pretty. It’s surrounded by Fort Tryon Park, and we had fun trekking through there to see the gardens in bloom. The view of the river is stunning, and you can see the George Washington Bridge from here.

I took photos of so many things. Tapestries, statues, paintings, hearths, benches, caskets, effigies…. you name it, it’s on my camera roll. One of their most famous possessions is one of the Book of Hours commissioned by Jean de France, the duc de Berry. This isn’t the more famous Tres Riches Heures also commissioned by the Duke of Berry, but it is breathtaking and the striking colors of the illuminated pages are astounding considering the age of the manuscript.

Another one of their more famous possessions are the Unicorn Tapestries, which are given a room of their own in the museum. I could stare at tapestries for days! There is so much detail to see. The tapestries tell a story around the room, from the hunt of the unicorn to the fight and the captivity.  My sons had to drag me along to make sure I didn’t get lost in any one of these. They’re also really massive pieces so you can get lost in one corner of the tapestry and then realize you haven’t even glanced at the other end.

After we left The Cloisters, we notices are admission was good at the other Met Museums all day, so after a tour through Fort Tryon Park, we hopped on a train to go back to the Met Fifth Avenue and toured around there until it closed. A perfect spring day outing with two of the most entertaining guys I know. I highly recommend a visit!

And if you haven’t checked out any of my medieval stories, I urge you to step back in time with me one of these days. It’s a romance, not a history lesson, and it’s a whole other world to explore! One of my most popular is The Laird’s Lady. Let me know what you think :-).

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