The period between ancient and modern times in Western civilization, known as the Middle Ages, extends from the fourth to the early sixteenth century—that is, roughly from the Fall of Rome to the beginning of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The Metropolitan Museum's collection of medieval art, one of the richest in the world, encompasses the art of this long and complex period in all of its many phases, from its pre-Christian antecedents in Western Europe through the early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic periods. Though administered by a single curatorial department, the Museum's medieval holdings are exhibited in two different locations: in several galleries on the first floor of the Main Building on Fifth Avenue, and at The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan devoted to the art of medieval Europe in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. The medieval objects in the Main Building, of which there are more than six thousand, display a somewhat broader geographical and temporal range—pre-medieval European antiquities (that are not Greek or Roman) from as early as the Bronze Age fall under the department's purview and are exhibited here, as are works of Byzantine art from the Middle East and North Africa—while the collection of about five thousand objects housed at The Cloisters is strictly European and starts in the year 800, with particular emphasis on the twelfth through the fifteenth century. Both locations exhibit two- and three-dimensional works of art in a wide range of media, from wooden and stone free-standing and architectural sculpture to stained glass, metalwork, enamels, ivories, manuscript illuminations (typically tempera and gold leaf on parchment or vellum), oil paintings, tapestries, and more. The collection of medieval art exhibited at the Main Building is particularly strong in Byzantine silver, enamels, glass, and ivories; medieval jewelry; Romanesque and Gothic metalwork, stained glass, sculpture, enamels, and ivories; and Gothic tapestries.
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
1000 5th Ave
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