|Isabella Stewart Gardner by Anders Zorn, 1894|
Just got back from five days
of college visits on the east coast.
While we were in Boston
we were able to do a little
Three different Bostonians
told us one of their
in their city
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
It is truly unbelievable.
From the minute you
walk through the door
you see why it
is such a magical place
that makes an impact on its visitors.
(Note: we were not permitted to take any photos
inside the museum, so these have all been gathered from
Pinterest and Google images.) I was sick that I could not
take any pictures of my daughter standing in this amazing space,
but I am a rule-follower so I obeyed the instructions!)
|Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840 - 1924)|
This is Isabella.
She was born in New York
in 1840 as Isabella Stewart
and married a Boston man named
John Lowell Gardner Jr. in 1860.
The two of them traveled the world
and began collecting art and artifacts.
When Isabella's father died in 1891,
leaving her a large fortune, her "collecting"
took on a new purpose and acquisitions amassed.
She had always dreamed of building a museum
to contain her collections,
and when her husband died unexpectedly
of a stroke in 1898, these plans
became a reality.
She found land to buy
in the undeveloped Fenway section of Boston,
and in 1899 the construction of this building began.
Two years later, Isabella moved into the new structure
with eight balconies looking down onto a Roman
mosaic courtyard surrounded by Roman
statues with tropical gardens and fountains.
|The indoor courtyard has a glass dome roof four stories |
above to allow natural lighting for the gardens below.
she opened her museum
(with private living quarters on the fourth floor)
and named it
|18th century Venetian chair|
|Titian's "Europa" dated 1561|
This palace in the city,
is similar in style and architecture to a
museum in Milan, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum
that she had visited as a young girl.
|Poldi Pezzoli Musuem, Milan|
Isabella's spectacular collection of over
2,500 pieces ranges from ancient Chinese
bronzes, to Titian's Europa, and the first Matisse
acquired by an American museum.
|17th century Italian leather wall covering panels|
The walls within are covered with paintings
from Rembrandt, Manet, Degas, Velasquez,
Whistler, Van Dyck, Rubens, Bellini,
and Sargent to name a few.
There are rooms with floor to ceiling tapestries,
filled with relics of cathedrals and castles
from around the world. Ancient carved figures,
furnishings, and religious paintings
and pieces dating from the 1300's.
Too much to list.
You just need to go and visit -- it is a gift to behold.
disappointing moment for me.
My most favorite non-American artist
is Jan Vermeer (1632 - 1675).
When I realized Isabella had a Vermeer -
The Concert, c. 1658 shown above,
I was ecstatic!
I looked and looked and could
not find it anywhere.
It was stolen.
It seems that in 1990,
two thieves dressed as Boston policemen
stole thirteen works of art to include this Vermeer,
and two of her Rembrandt paintings.
They have never been found.
|Empty frames hang where the stolen paintings |
were once displayed.
|Stolen Rembrandt: "Storm on the Sea of Galilee"|
In any event,
I highly recommend that you visit
this breath-taking collection and gardens.
|John Singer Sargent painted Isabella several times. This is just one version. |
A second one shown below two years before she passed away.
|Sargent's Isabella in 1922|
|For museum information link here|
The next time you are in Boston,
put it at the top of your list.
It's right near the Museum of Fine Arts
and Fenway Park.
Seeing a collection
of this magnitude in a castle-like setting
is so much more interesting.
I think you will agree!