If you are at all like me, no trip to New York is complete without spending half a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The $25 admission means you really don’t want to treat this as a fly by. More importantly, in the American Wing they host a fabulous collection of American furniture in galleries and period rooms. Regular readers have already seen some of the overflow collection in a previous blog, Gallery 774 – Luce Center Visible Storage. My wife tells me that they also have paintings, ceramics, textiles, Asian, African and Egyptian art, armor as well as the Costume Institute. I believe I remember seeing some of this while looking for the men’s room.

What you may not know is that there is another branch of the Met in Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan. There you will find The Cloisters, a building that contains the Met’s extensive collection of 12th to 15th century European Medieval art, architecture and artifacts. The building itself was built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. from 1934 to 1939 using parts from five European abbeys that were disassembled and shipped to New York. For more information, check the Wikipedia article HERE.

The first thing to see is the building itself:

Just your typical medieval museum.

Just your typical medieval museum.

They have lots of carved wooden statuary. This is Blessing Bishop (Saint Nicholas of Bari), 1350 to 1375, probably made in Umbria, Italy of poplar:

Just over 73" tall, a really big saint.

Just over 73″ tall, a really big saint.

And he’s not all there:

He's just a shell of his former self.

He’s just a shell of his former self.

Aside from that which is obviously broken off, he has been hollowed out. I am curious as to why. Was it to control shrinkage and movement? Done during conservation? Just the custom of the area? I just don’t know. Any reasonable theories will be entertained.

FYI, European poplar is not the same wood as American yellow poplar. American yellow poplar is actually tulipwood (Liriodendron tulipifera). True American poplars are aspen and cottonwood. I am only sharing this because the blog looked a bit short.

And there is furniture:

Not from IKEA.

Not from IKEA.

hence the name of the blog.

Admission to The Cloisters will also cover admission to the main building and vice versa. To get there by subway, take the A train to 190th Street. Exit and it’s a short walk along Margaret Corbin Drive.

You now have no reason not to go. Unless it’s the whole getting to New York thing.

To see the first set of pictures from The Cloisters, click HERE.