The Cloisters is a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it is located on the north end of Manhattan between Inwood and Washington Heights. From its terrace, you can see the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge.
The Cloisters advertises itself as a museum of medieval art, architecture and gardens. It is that. First of all, it is designed to resemble a monastery or castle.
The museum incorporates three entire cloisters from monasteries that were located in various parts of Europe, as well as original stone for parts of its walls.
In the various individual cloisters, you can see the same sculptures worked into the tops of the pillars that the monks saw. Portrayals of hell, for one thing, were common themes. Flames, chains and gleeful demons abound.
Stained glass windows are also worked into the design. This one has survived from the 12th Century.
I am guessing the monks would have enjoyed the butterflies also,
The Cloisters is also home to the Unicorn Tapestries. They are beautiful, but certainly not joyous.
Most museums are quiet places. This one is especially a place for peaceful contemplation of art and life and religion. it is difficult to come away without encountering something that makes one think.
The piece of art above is a carving that represents the death of Mary, the mother of Christ. You will notice that there are ten men attending her, and you would be right if you guessed they were disciples of Jesus. Who was missing, other than Judas, who had hung himself long before this event? Thomas was not able to make it. But here is the interesting part, at least to me. When he was told by the others that Mary had risen into heaven (the Assumption), he doubted their story. In other words, the same fellow who didn’t believe that Christ rose from the dead until he could touch the wounds himself also doubted that Mary was lifted into heaven. Once a doubter, always a doubter, is the moral of that story, I guess. And by the way, according to legend, the belt on Mary’s robe fell to earth, convincing Thomas that she had indeed been lifted up. Do you think his face turned red?