Thursday, October 13, 2011

Isabella, my new idol

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice by Anders Zorn - 1894

One of the biggest highlights since my arrival in Boston has been my visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  I went with Annabel during her visit on a rainy, chilly Boston day.  I had been obsessed with going to the museum since I borrowed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum book from the Brookline library back in June and decided to wait till her visit to go.  I devoured the book and through Isabella’s creation of the Venetian Palazzo at Fenway, she became my new idol.  My mother raved about the museum and I couldn’t wait to visit Isabella’s Palazzo.  I even wanted to work there and the idea still consumes me.

My friend Joanna once said, “She’s the Peggy Guggenheim of her time.”  Isabella sought out to create an enchanting and wonderful cultural experience for the masses.  She was often deemed as eccentric, all the better for creating a cultural experience filled with authentic pieces from all over the world.  If I were alive during her time, I would have loved to have been her friend or at least be invited to one of the many entertaining events that she held at her creation.

When Annabel and I walked in, we were already enchanted.  The outside of the building has nothing to do with what is in the inside.  We quickly paid the entrance fee, which is a lot lower than most museums, put our umbrellas in plastic, and off we went to see the world of art, décor, books, letters, walls of leather and lace, all of which are pieces of history in a mere three floors.  Our adventure started on the top floor and we slowly worked our way down to the bottom floor.  The guards on every floor offered helpful information on each room and even told us where to see an authentic etching.  The bottom floor is a breathtaking courtyard with the loveliest flowers and plants and sculptures.  It is the only place in the museum that Mrs. Gardner did not leave specific instructions to follow upon her death.

The Courtyard 
If you read the book, it is fascinating to learn how she acquired the pieces, how they were shipped to the USA and also about the misfortunate robbery.

Every inch of the museum has something to marvel.  If you are in Boston, I highly recommend that you add it to your itinerary.  You will be amazed and you don't have to be an art historian to appreciate the Palazzo.    

El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent - 1882

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