Sunday, February 24, 2019

Return to The Cloisters, part 2

Today I'm following up on my post from last week telling about my visit to The Cloisters in New York last October.  Wandering further into this massive place, we see more fragments accumulated from European churches, castles and monasteries.

 A few steps below the main level is another chapel with beautiful stained glass at one end a collection of artifacts from a variety of European churches inside.

Moving a little further on I came to the Boppard Room where I found a fifthteenth-century alabaster altar piece topped with three busts of female saints.  The exquisite altar and triptych above made this room jaw-dropingly beautiful.

Other works of art nearby are the Annunciation Triptych which came from an area that is now Belgium.  It depicts the angel Gabriel telling Mary she will be the mother of Jesus.

A statue of mother and child stands adjacent.

Another room is filled with display cases with smaller medieval works of art.  Above is a Reliquary Shrine made of gold, silver, enamel and paint.  It came from Paris and was created sometime between 1325 and 1350.

Above is another one of the courtyards surrounded by cloisters that I spoke about in last week's post.

An open window looks out at one of the courtyards.

The Met Cloisters is full of architectural features that I found amazing to see.  And, it's location in north Manhattan at Fort Tryon Park overlooking the Hudson River is the perfect spot to make you forget you are in busy New York City.  In fact, it feels very much like you have been transported to some remote part of Europe.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Return to The Cloisters

A few years ago, I had a post about a my first visit to The Cloisters in New York and I mentioned that I would love to visit the place again.  I did just that last October.  It is as magical as I remembered.  Maybe just a little busier than I remembered but, every bit as awe inspiring.

From the time you enter the building and climb the long set of stairs to the reception area, you are transported back in time.  Being surrounded by those massive stone walls gives a strong sense of exploring an ancient abbey or church somewhere tucked away in the hills of France, Italy or Spain.

The Met Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe.  It gets its name from the medieval cloisters that form the core of monasteries and abbeys.  It was built using stones, windows, frames and other features from European sources.

One of the first rooms you enter is the Romanesque Hall and as you pass through the monumental thirteenth-century doorway you enter Langdon Chapel.

That amazing door frame came from Moutiers-Saint-Jean in Burgundy.

To one side of the Romanesque Hall is the Fuentiduena Chapel.  The limestone blocks that form the apse of this room came from Spain.  The room is dominated by a twelfth-century Spanish wood crucifix suspended from the arch.

One one wall of this room are these statues, The Adoration of the Magi that came from the church of Nuestra SeƱora de la Llana in Spain.

The nucleus of monastic life centers around open-air courtyards surrounded by covered passageways called the cloisters.  The Met Cloisters has several of these areas to explore.

These have been reconstructed from fragments of a monastery near the Pyrenees.  All of them form tranquil spaces that I found myself drawn to over and over during my fall visit.  I'll have more about this wonderful place in next Sunday's post.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Mining Town

The town of Bisbee Arizona is mining town with a long history.  It is located in the far southeastern corner of the state very near the border with Mexico.

It sits on a hillside with streets that curve upward and homes that cling to the side of the Mule Mountains.  In fact, the city boasts a four story high school building built on the hillside and all four floors have a ground level entrance.

On the edge of town, you'll find the Lavender Pit mine which was named in honor of Harrison M Lavender who was Vice President and General Manager of mining operation for Phelps Dodge Corporation.  He made an unprofitable mine able to produce commercial copper ore.

The mining company needed a place for dignitaries and investors to stay when they visited the mine so they opened the Copper Queen Hotel in 1902.  Today, the hotel is the longest continuously operating hotel in Arizona.

The hotel has hosted many famous guests from John Wayne and Lee Marvin to Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland.  Even First Lady Nancy Reagan stayed there once as have many of Arizona's political officials.  The hotel is said to be haunted and has been featured on the television show Ghost Hunters.

Many of the buildings in the city are on the Historical Register, such as the Brewery building above.

And, the Bisbee Post Office which still operates as a post office today.

Phelps Dodge ended mining in 1975 and the town slowly started to lose population.  However, the town saw a tourism potential and started mine tours as well as a thriving arts community.  In 2007, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold bought Phelps Dodge Mining and in 2013 it began to once again mine in Bisbee extracting both copper and gold.

When I visited Bisbee, I enjoyed all the art galleries shops along Main Street.

And, I loved the way the city looked after a brief shower, just after sunset.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Grand Public Library

When I was growing up in a small city in Illinois, I used to go to the public library often.  I was as impressed by all the books as I was by the gorgeous building that housed them.  My hometown library building is now a museum but, the main New York City public library is still sitting prominently on  5th Avenue and 42nd Street and it still draws thousands of people every day.

I had visited this library many years ago and was impressed by the beauty of the place so on this recent trip to New York, I made a point of visiting again.  As you can see from the top two photos, it is not an ordinary building.

The stacks and the reading rooms are on the upper floors and the open space leading to the reading rooms is called the McGraw Rotunda.  The area is surrounded by murals on all sides and overhead on the ceiling.    It's a beautiful space and as you can see from he above photo, it draws a lot of attention.

The murals didn't stop in the rotunda.  The ceiling inside one of the reading rooms also features a beautiful mural of the sky.  I love this room.  I can picture my teenage self sitting at one of those desks and studying.

Isn't this a beautiful room with those wonderful tables with the lamps on top.  It just seems like the perfect place to read and learn.

There are so many places to see in a city like New York City so I'm guessing the public library isn't on everyone's list but, if you love architecture and history, you will find this place inspiring.