At the 1938 public opening of the Cloisters—the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art of the medieval world—not a word was spoken about the threat of war looming over Europe. Rather, American officials marking the occasion spoke of the sense of peace and wellness to be derived from a visit to the new museum.
Yet ironically, the Cloisters’ very foundations stand in witness to the devastating impact of centuries of war and revolution on artistic heritage. Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, examines the museum’s finest works of art against the backdrop of history, with special attention both to the dangers that beset them, and the circumstances that preserved them.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.