Ascending into the Cloisters

There is only one museum in America devoted specifically to the Medieval Period. It is “The Cloisters” in New York City. And it is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This museum was designed from the ground up with the Medieval period in mind.  And that is a big thing. Even the architecture is medieval inspired.  This was very carefully thought out by the architects. So, not only does it house medieval works of art the building itself is a medieval work of art.

Some of the structure was actually purchased from medieval buildings in Europe, shipped across the ocean and incorporated into the cloisters.

So, to the point of my blogpost. “Ascending into the Cloisters”.



In the Medieval period the Catholic religion was very strong. It was the basis and inspiration for much of the building and much of the art.  The Church was a powerful and wealthy organization going through strong growth.  This growth and strength manifested itself in various arts including illuminated manuscripts, stained glass windows, enamels and of course architecture.

And in the cloisters I want to discuss one very important piece of it: “The entrance”.  You see that nothing in a building is by happen stance or by chance. Everything is carefully designed and for a reason. And that’s why the entrance is so unique.

To get into the museum proper you  have to go up this long and quiet corridor. You ascend quietly into the museum. And there is a spiritual aspect to this. You are transitioning from the outside world to the quiet, religious and contemplative world of a cloister.


It’s really quite a remarkable thing and as you are climbing these stairs you feel different. There is an ambiance and feeling to this length of corridor.

It works and it is a testament to the brilliance of the architects for really getting the feel of the medieval period.

Want to see more of the cloisters? I have pictures on my website right here: The Cloisters