Illuminated Books at The Cloisters

New York City has so many museums that you could never see all the museums in this lifetime unless you spent every single day at one. But to see every piece would take years.

One of my favorite places to visit is The Cloister. It’s a hike to get there especially on the weekend when the MTA is often under construction. Luckily, weekdays are better. Because the Cloisters are so far away, there are typically less tourists. Like the Met, it’s pay as you wish. It’s much smaller than the Met so you can see everything in about a couple of hours.

My favorite thing about the Cloister is Fort Tryon Park where on entrance, your eyes are feasted upon a beautiful manicured garden of various variety of flowers. If you visit in September or October, you might even get a chance to see Medieval Festival.

The Cloisters

Winding through the park, the abbey stands at one end of the cliff overlooking the city. A favorite Medieval work are the Unicorn Tapestry. Tapestry is considered a “female” utilitarian work and for the longest time was not considered art (so I remember from my women’s art study). I always thought the unicorns were like the women of the time—chased and then trapped for amusement and decoration.

The Cloisters Unicorn

I went to the Cloisters to see the various illuminated manuscripts that could help inspire me. The is one main book called Saint Augustine’s City of God, which you can find in the first room from entrance.

The Cloisters

To find the rest of the illuminated books, you can find them in the Treasury. I was glad to have found even a Hebrew illuminated book.

The Cloisters

Aside from the illuminated manuscripts, there are beautiful gothic vaults, herb gardens, and medieval paintings and stained glasses.

The Cloisters