This weekend gave us a chance to cross another item off our Boston Bucket List. We spent Sunday at the most unique art museum...the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It has a checkered past with being the victim of one of the biggest unsolved art heists in the world. And while this place has such an interesting history and some amazing pieces, at times it felt more like we were wandering through a secret garden than an art museum.
Normally art museums are cold and dark in order to better preserve the art. But this museum is so well done with managing to add in lots of natural light. There are two buildings connected by an open walk way. The newer modern building has a restaurant, a concert hall, and plenty of bright open areas. Meanwhile, the original building houses most of the art. It's centered around an open courtyard that can be accessed from every floor. So each gallery offers a different perspective of the courtyard.
Isabella modeled the courtyard after an Italian Palace, so those pink marble walls and romantic balconies are always surrounded by sprawling palms and sculptures. But the flowers are changed out multiple times a year. During our visit, the courtyard was filled with bright orange nasturtiums, flowering maples, and the cutest orange trees. Perfect for the start of spring + ideal for this girl who was just getting over a cold and in need of some good vitamin C.
I assure you that there is actual art in this ART museum. Isabella was a very wealthy woman and she used her personal fortune to purchase and display art for the "education and enjoyment of the public forever". While the frames from the $500M art heist remain empty, there are still thousands of pieces of art including some favorites like Rembrandt and Degas.
One thing I know for certain, we will definitely be back to visit this
secret garden art museum again and again.