Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
November 26, 2007
From journal Iz & Irene's Beantown Adventure Continues
February 27, 2007
From journal Beautiful Boston
November 8, 2006
Numerous travel books and people who have traveled to Boston told me that I had to stop by the Isabella Gardener Museum. On my last afternoon in Boston, I finally found time to squeeze it in.
When my college roommate and I arrived, we were extremely happy that we had our GoBoston Cards with us as it covered the admission costs. If you don't have a GoBoston Card, the price for admission is $12 for adults and $10 for Seniors. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 11am to 5pm. We arrived at around 3:00pm and they started to try to close things down around 4:30ish.
My first impression of the museum was that it appeared to be quite small from the outside, but inside it expands and includes an enclosed courtyard. This museum was different from any other museum that I have ever visited. The first difference is in the way the museum was kept. Mrs. Gardner laid specific stipulations about the museum's collection in her will. They were not able to add to this collection following her death in 1924. Therefore any artwork stolen was not allowed to be replaced by other pieces. The museum has had approximately 13 pieces of artwork stolen since the founder's death. They have left the empty frames where the artwork belongs with its description should it be returned. They have also set up a really interesting exhibit on art theft. Some people may think that this would be really odd or uncomfortable, but I thought it was really neat and interesting.
Another difference was in the way that the artwork was displayed. Mrs. Gardner designed each of the rooms in the museum to be like someone's home. There was a cozy sort of feeling to it. The pieces were displayed using fabric backings in some cases, and the groupings were intricate.
Another difference was that in addition to the sculpture, drawings, and paintings, Mrs. Gardner was also an avid collector of historical notes, rare books, and documents. These documents such as letters written by George Washington are available to be viewed. It was really exciting to see notes written by America's Founding Fathers.
The thing about this museum that I found to be truly unique was the courtyard. Between the two sides of the museum is a beautiful courtyard featuring lush, flowering plants. It was bright and airy especially when compared with the dark formally decorated rooms of the museum. There were even open windows from the within the gallery walls that you could look out onto this gorgeously landscaped area.
This museum showcased a wide variety of artists and it was a truly unique experience. If you are looking for something on the scale of the Metropolitan in New York this isn't it, but if you are looking for something truly unique and different check it out. The website for the museum is www.gardnermuseum.org/index.asp if you want to check it out.
From journal A Historic Visit on Labor Day Weekend
London, United Kingdom
May 7, 2004
The building appears quite plain on the outside, but the inside is a maze of rooms jam packed with incredible art objects of every variety -- paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, ceramics, and architectural elements -- spanning 25 centuries. The Dutch Room is probably the most remarkable. A self-portrait by Rembrandt was Mrs. Gardner's first major purchase, and I literally stood there with my mouth hanging open. I have seen Rembrandts before, but this is the most remarkable one I have experienced. In 1990, a Vermeer, three Rembrandts and several other objects and paintings were stolen and have not yet been recovered. Since Mrs. Gardner stipulated that nothing in the home was to be changed after her death, the empty frames are still hanging, and are a sad reminder of this enormous loss.
The house is arranged around an Italian renaissance-style courtyard, which is elaborately embellished with marble columns, ancient sculpture, a Roman mosaic floor, and an abundance of plants and flowers. The benches around the courtyard provide a welcome resting place.
There is also a cafe, for which reservations are suggested. We didn't get a chance to eat there, but I bought the cookbook and the recipes are very tempting. The giftshop is available online, and I highly suggest buying a guide before visiting the museum. There is very little information posted in the galleries, since Mrs. Gardner wanted viewers to experience the art and not be distracted. The museum has an audioguide for $4, and I plan to try that next time.
There is parking available nearby for a fee, but the museum is easy to reach on the Green Line. Just get off at the Museum stop, cross Huntington, walk two blocks down Louis Prang Street, and the museum is on the left. Open 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Sunday, admission is free for those under 18, $10 for adults ($11 on weekends), $7 for seniors, and $5 for college students.
May 18, 2003
The Gardner Museum, its couryard, and the object d'art it contains are all the work of the eccentric 19th century socialite and art collector, Isabella Stuart Gardner. Mrs. Gardner was an avid traveller, and she searched throughout Europe to find the pieces that currently compose the museum's collections. She had very eclectic tastes--most of the museum's paintings are from the Italian Renaissance, but you can also find works by Whistler, Sargent and Manet, as well as Renaissance polychrome terracotta medaillons, Flemish tapestries, A pair of bronze bear statues from the Han Dynasty, snippets of French lace, and 18th century gilt chairs. That's why my friends and I jokingly call the Gardner the "Stuff I Found Somewhere and Thought Was Cool" Museum.
Once you leave the bright courtyard and head upstairs into the damask-hung rooms where most of the art resides, the Gardner's atmosphere grows more and more that of something preserved carefully in amber. This feeling is heightened by the general dimness of the exhibition rooms, and the air, faintly redolant of decay--like an old attic.
In point of fact, the Gardner's collection is preserved like a fly in amber--Mrs. Gardner's will stipulates that the collection cannot be added to or subtracted from, and that the art must be displayed according to her wishes. This leads to quirky surprises around each corner--like the piece of green silk hung beneath Titian's famous painting of The Rape of Europa. It's a piece cut out of one of Mrs. Gardner's Worth evening gowns. The down side of this is that even when paintings are stolen--as in the 1990 theft of 12 works, including a Manet, a Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and several Degas sketches--they cannot be replaced. The paintings empty frames still hang in the museum, waiting for the art to be recovered.
Admission to the museum costs $10 for adults($11 on weekends), $7 for Seniors, and $5 for college students with ID. You can save $2 off adult and senior admission if you're visiting both the Gardner and the MFA in a 2 day period.
From journal Boston: On the Tourist Trail and Off the Beaten Path
July 25, 2000
From journal The Art of Boston
June 18, 2000
From journal Time Travel in Historic Boston