on November 26, 2007
If your name is Isabella this is one of the times you will be really glad, all Isabellas get free entrance to this museum. Now being an Isabelle I tried to convince them that my Mom had just forgotten the “a” but they weren’t buying it. It has to be exactly correct so I am assuming that Isabela isn’t going to get in free either. Isabella Stewart Gardner was one of the foremost art collectors of her time. She also befriended such greats as John Singer Sargent who did several pictures of her which you will see in her museum. Before you begin to tour the museum I am going to suggest that you either rent the audio tour and/or ask them to borrow the little blue book that gives you information on the pieces in the collection. Without either one of these, unless you are my friend Joe, you will be at a loss. The items in the room for the most part have no marking so unless you are an art expert, you will be as lost as we were. We went back and got the headphone and certainly would have also taken the book if we had known about it before we got to the third floor. Unfortunately the docents are not experts and on the several occasions that I had a question about a particular piece were not able to offer me any information. Entrance $12 Audio $4 if you visit the Museum of Fine Arts the same day a $2 discount. Both are also on the Go Boston card.The house has three floor built in the Mediterranean style around a center court yard with a glass covering. The rooms around the courtyard have windows that open onto it. Some of the Rooms are named for the painter whose paintings are on display in the room. There are Titian and a Veronese Rooms, others are more descriptive like The Early Italian Room and the Dutch Room. Many years ago the Gardiner Museum was hit by a major robbery and when you look around you at the treasures that are here it is hard to imagine that the best of the best is gone. For that reason I am not going to talk about where any particular item is located but you will be stunned by the variety and quality of what is here. One thing that I noticed on this trip which I had not seen before was a piece of Mary Queen of Scots dress, it isn’t all about paintings here. If you are looking for a nosh there is a café and I did some serious Christmas shopping in the gift shop which is extremely well stocked. We parked at the Fine Arts Museum, there is also a parking garage. We paid $20 for 2 hours, a little steep but there really aren’t many options. There is metered street parking, good luck!
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