Monday, April 25, 2016

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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.
visit isabella stewart gardner 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 steward gardner 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. 
isabella stewart gardner orange trees
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.
isabella stewart gardner tickets
One thing I know for certain, we will definitely be back to visit this secret garden art museum again and again. 
linking up with weekending//travel tuesday//

16 comments:

  1. Definitely my #1 favorite museum in Boston!! I just love the beautiful flowers right smack dab in the middle!! Such pretty and vibrant pictures! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

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    1. I love the idea of the indoor garden all year long. I'm sure it's a nice place to escape to during Boston's winters

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  2. Whoa! That place is absolutely gorgeous! Love the photos.

    www.shesleaninginblog.com

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  3. WOW!! This museum is absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. It was definitely at the top of the unique list because the courtyard was so unexpected

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  4. WOW! That is seriously beautiful! What a cool place.
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  5. Wow. What a gorgeous and unique museum! So interesting! What a different way to construct a museum!

    http://mymonochromaticlife.com

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    1. It's definitely 1 part museum: 1 part botanical garden. I think people are drawn there for the courtyard just as much as the art.

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  6. Wow that museum looks beautiful!

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  7. This really does look like the secret garden! And what art heist? I'm very unfamilar with art or thefts >_<

    I can't believe it's a museum it looks far too beautiful!!

    liz @ j for joiner

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    1. We couldn't believe that we hadn't been here sooner, especially since it only cost us $5 total to get in. They change the gardens out regularly so we will be going back for sure.

      As far as the heist, there were 13 pieces of art stolen from here in the 90's including Rembrant's only seascape which is considered priceless and a Vermeer (remember girl with a pearl earring?). There are a ton of best seller books about the robber…like "the gardner heist".

      When Isabella died, she left strict instructions that none of the paintings were to be moved. So the museum can't change the layout after the theft. So when you visit, there are a bunch of empty frames and you can still see where the canvas was ripped out during the robbery.

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  8. Oh wow! I have never seen an art museum quite like that! I love the garden, that will be on the top of my list if I ever visit Boston. What was your favourite piece of art you saw?

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    1. there was definitely plenty of pieces from famous artists there, but the unique aspect of this museum is that the art was from a personal collection so there are lesser known artists too. Our favorite was definitely omnibus by anders zorn

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  9. How beautiful! I'm originally from the Boston area, but there are sooooo many things I haven't seen since we moved away when I was just a kid. Off topic: where does your husband go to school? My sister is about to do the long-distance marriage for a while, too, as her husband is in flight school in Alabama and she'll be going to grad school in Washington State.

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  10. woah, I will definitely be trying to go to this musuem during our trip to Boston in July! do you happen to have your Boston Bucket List on the blog? i'd love to see it for ideas!

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    1. I would definitely recommend it Diana. And the best part is that the garden will probably be swapped out by then with all different flowers.

      I actually had never shared our bucket list on the blog because we wanted to cross a few things off first, but I just posted it here
      http://makingrestorations.blogspot.com/2016/05/boston-bucket-list.html

      Also, if you let me know when you will be in town//what you like to do, I would be happy to make some recommendations. I would definitely add boston common, the freedom trail tour, and the fenway park tour to your must add list. All of those are on my blog, just use the search bar.

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