The Cloisters

The Cloisters Museum.

In the 14th and 15th centuries weavers in Europe perfected tapestries.  Woven to hang on the stone walls of castles, they tell stories in the flattened perspective of two dimensions.

Some of the most famous are at The Cloisters in New York City, the medieval museum donated by John D.Rockefeller.  The museum is a series of ancient monastic cloisters bought and then reassembled in upper Manhatten.

Tapestry - The Falcon's Bath, 1400, The Cloisters

Tapestry – The Falcon’s Bath, 1400, with rose arbor and flowers

On careful evaluation one finds millefleur woven into the background of many tapestries. Mille fleurs literally mean thousand flowers in French and many of the tapestries use this motif to evoke the outdoors and meadows. In “The Falcon’s Bath” we see the beginning of this stye and a beautiful rose arbor woven into the background.

The Unicorn tapestries are particularly well known as a complete set, telling the mythical tale of unicorns.  They are hung in one room of The Cloisters (top photo).

“The Unicorn in Captivity” is found in a wooden corral in a meadow with thousands of flowers -carnations, iris, gentians, daisies.

The Unicorn in Captivity, tapestry, The Cloisters

The Unicorn in Captivity, tapestry, The Cloisters


Unicorn in Captivity tapestry with millefleur, (French mille-fleurs, literally "thousand flowers") a background style of many different small flowers and plants, usually shown on a green ground, as though growing in grass. It is essentially restricted to European tapestry during the late Middle Ages; The Cloisters

Surrounded The Cloisters are wonderful gardens overlooking the Hudson, and the Heather Garden are in full bloom.  Thousands of flowers in bloom.  Let me play tapestry inspirations.

Before and After Slider