Friday, February 29, 2008

Mrs. Gardner's Egg

Last week while Julia and I were in eastern Massachusetts, we took a day trip to Boston with my sister Laurie. We went to one of my favorite places in the world - The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This is only the second time I have visited this lovely place and it was just as wonderful as I remembered. It was great to show Julia around.

Built at the turn of the 20th century, the building resembles an Italian palace. There is a large courtyard in the center full of plants all year long. There's a lovely mosaic in the center of the courtyard. As you look up to the glass ceiling you view the four floors of the building full of windows and little porches. In April, blooming nasturtiums cascade down the walls of the courtyard.

The museum is full of paintings, sculpture, decorative art including furniture, ceramics, silver and more. There's so much to look at and it is all so accessible. It's a big place so the thought of living there doesn't enter my mind but I could move right into one of the large rooms! There are lovely stone columns all over the place carved from different kinds of stone.

The rooms and hallways are painted in dark colors that really speak to me - a dark royal blue, crimson red, and deep green. The art and furniture looks wonderful against it. There are no lights on the artwork so it does make it difficult to see everything but the atmosphere far outweighs this. In 1990, thirteen works of art were stolen from the museum. They have left the spaces empty with little cards explaining what happened. It is kind of eerie and odd. Needless to say, the guards are very cautious of each person who enters a room.

If I am not mistaken, Mrs. Gardner left specifics in her will that everything should remain as she placed it. Her collection from all over the world happily co-exists together in this lovely place. I read a wonderful book about Mrs. Gardner and how she collected all these things. "The Art of Scandal" is sadly out of print but you may be able to pick up a used copy. It's a fascinating look into a very interesting woman's life with art.

In one of the glass cases, Laurie spied this wonderful ostrich egg covered with silver. It's quite bizarre and fabulous all rolled up into one - kind of like the Gardner Museum is itself! Makes me wonder about who made this!

Put this place on your list if you ever come to Boston!


goldwoman said...

My most favorite Museum. As a college student in the long winter's day I walked into that wonderland.As my jaw dropped in awe of such a wonderful place the memory is still as vivid today.

Janet said...

That is a wonderful museum. I always suggest it to friends visiting Boston. It's a lesser known gem for foreign visitors. I'm Boston born and only discovered it myself a few years ago when returning as a tourist.

Hinklebell said...

I used to work at the MFA and some days I would take a long lunch and go sit at this relaxing amazing museum instead. I love the open space and feel like I'm in another country when I'm there.