The Cloisters beckoned Simon and I on a warm and gorgeous afternoon in late May. This being my first time above 150th street, I was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful old apartment buildings and fun restaurants on route to Fort Tyron, the gorgeous park in which the Cloisters is located. Once inside Fort Tyron, you have truly left the city behind– all of a sudden you become surrounded by lush greenery and as you near the cloisters, a breathtaking view of Hudson river comes into focus! As Simon said, we were now, “in the nature.”
Once inside the Cloisters, you have essentially stepped into to a gold mine of art and architecture from medieval Europe. The building itself is not an actual historical monastery, but rather incorporates parts from five French cloistered abbeys. The triptychs, paintings, tapestries, and the treasury contained in the building mostly center around religious imagery, as religion was the prime focus of medieval life.
The Cloisters is most famous for it’s seven Unicorn Tapestries, which depict the hunting and resurrection of the mythical animal. These tapestries were not believed to have been part of the same set- The Met suggests that they came originally from several sets. The Unicorn Tapestries represented both the lifecycle of Christ, and also suggest themes in courtly love. Whatever your take on the story, they are absolutely magical, evoking a real sense of mystery and storytelling through art. I would say the Unicorn Tapestries are worth the trip alone. On your way out, be sure to check out the medieval style gardens complete with period plants and flowers. xx Helen Anne