Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 Reviews

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  • The exterior of the Gardner Museum
    The exterior of the Gardner Museum
    by mikelisaanna
  • The Facade of the Isabell Stewart Gardner Museum
    The Facade of the Isabell Stewart...
    by Paul2001
  • Gardner Museum
    Gardner Museum
    by kazander
  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Tour

    by BruceDunning Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Brochure of the information-times

    It is a home and museum with gardens. I was not able to get that far to see due to time constraints, but it is said to be good. Collection of art is large. Venetian architecture prevails inside. Located in the BAck BAy area and times are Tuesday-Sunday with a cost of $12.

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    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by mikelisaanna Written Oct 18, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The exterior of the Gardner Museum

    Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy Boston heiress and socialite who was a passionate art collector. After her husband's death in 1898, she hired architects to design and build a new mansion to house her and her large art collection. The new mansion was completed in 1903 and served as Mrs. Gardner's home until her death in 1924. The mansion looks like an ordinary apartment building from the outside, but its interior is much more ornate. One of its highlights is a beautiful four-story atrium in the middle, which features gardens and sculpture.

    After Mrs. Garner's death, her mansion and art collection were opened to the public as a museum. The first three floors are exactly as she left them (nothing can be moved under the terms of her will). The fourth floor, where she and her servants lived, is not open to the public. The collection of antique furniture and art in the mansion is world-class, and includes paintings by Rembrandt, Titian, Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Valezquez, Fra Angelico, Whistler, and Sargent. The collection's biggest focus is on Italian renassaince painters, but the museum also has a solid collection of Dutch old masters, as well as English, American and Asian artists. In addition to paintings and furniture, the museum also has solid collections of tapestries and porcelain, as well as an interesting collection of letters from famous people.

    Unfortunatley, the Gardner museum was the victim of the largest art theft in recent history. In 1990, thieves dressed as policemen overpowered the museum's guards and stole 13 artworks, including pieces by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer. The paintings have never been found, and the spots where they hung upon the walls of the museum now feature empty frames.

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  • donpaul77's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by donpaul77 Updated May 22, 2008

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    One block from the Museum of Fine Arts is the intimate Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Gardner Museum was once the private collection of Mrs. Gardner, and is currently arranged in the exact way she left it when she died. This is an amazing "private" collection and is very palatable in a single visit, as opposed to the vast MFA. It features such masters as Botticelli, Titian and Rembrandt. Spring may be the best time to visit, as there is an open courtyard and flower gardens to enjoy.

    Adult admission is $12, children under 18 are free (!) when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

    People named 'Isabella' are always admitted free :)

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

    by Paul2001 Updated Jul 25, 2007

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    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the finest privately owned collections of art in the United States. The collection was accummulated by Isabella Stewart Gardner. The museum is house in a recreation of a Venetian palace and quite beautiful.
    Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840 to 1924) was a highly respected patron of the arts who accummulated her collection as she traveled the world with her businessman husband. She also befriended many of the artist represented in her museum such as Whistler and Sargent. Isabella Stewart Gardner held a particular love for Venice, hence the Venetian architecture and strong representation of Venetian painters like Titian her museum. Other artist works include Rembrandt, Raphael, Botticelli and Picasso. Titian's "Europa" is often considered to be the finest work of this great painter in America.
    The museum also has a strong collection of decorative arts from cultures across the globe. The building is especially noteworthy for its brilliant courtyard where you will want to linger after viewing the artworks.
    Sadly the museum was the location of one of the most famous art thefts in history when theives entered the premises disguised as policeman and made off with a Vermeer, two Rembrandts and other minor works. They have yet to be recovered.
    The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. It cost $11.00 for an adult to visit the gallery on weekends and $10.00 on weekdays.

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by sarahandgareth Updated May 15, 2007

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner courtyard

    The Gardner museum is a fabulous gem in a lovely building which is nearly as fascinating as the spectacular collection it houses. In her time, Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy fixture of the Boston social scene, but she was anything but conventional. She and her husband traveled extensively, and accumulated substantial artistic holdings. After her husband died, however, her role as a patron of the arts reached its zenith, and she invested much of her wealth in recreating a Venetian palazzo in Boston. The building - the museum - was opened in 1903, and continues to wow visitors amazed by the workmanship on display.

    The collection itself is small compared to the MFA, but still extensive, and what really impresses is the quality of the individual pieces: there's nothing ordinary on display here. It's also exhibited, per her orders, exactly as Mrs Gardner left the place in 1919, including gaps where several paintings were stolen in the early 1990s.

    The collection itself ranges from ancient times to the nineteenth century, with several wonderful John Singer Sargent pictures among the most recent highlights (check out the picture of a Spanish dancer in one of the first rooms you visit; the illusion of movement is almost unnerving!). And whatever you're looking at, don't forget to glance around the rooms you're in, too; it's a little like walking through one of the masterpieces on display.

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by raraavis Written Oct 24, 2006

    This is a gorgeous, small museum with a private collection by Isabella Stewart Gardner. Miss Gardner purchased the European style mansion at the turn of the century and decorated with her private collection for public viewing. She kept her apartment in the museum in the top floor. The museum has a pleasant European style garden. It has remained the way it was when Miss Gardner passed away. The art collection is not in any kind of order, but placed wherever Miss Gardner saw fitting. Unfortunately photography is not allowed here, a real shame.

    Green Line on the T (Boston subway system). Five minutes walking from the T-stop. Behind Museum of Fine Art.

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  • Laura_Mexico's Profile Photo

    A not-so-usual kind of museum: Isabella Gardner

    by Laura_Mexico Updated May 23, 2006

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    The comments I heard about this museum both from people living and having been to Boston were quite contrasting. Some people had found it fascinating, others were disappointed after having heard great comments about it and not having found what they expected (whatever that was)... I even was told not to waste my time there and visit other places instead. I decided I had to see & judge by myself.

    I must say that I did like it, but didn't find it way too exciting or awesome either. What does need to be said is that it's a rather unusual and unique place. It is a museum, but it is located in what used to be Isabella Stewart Gardner's house and contains all of the personal objects, furniture and works of art that belonged to her. She was an American art collector and designed the museum herself, which was to remain untouched after her death (i.e. the disposition of the rooms & objects had to be respected).

    This house is over 100 years old and it is certainly pretty, and some of the works of art are interesting as well... I particularly liked the garden, located on the first floor and almost in front of the main entrance. But I did not like the fact that taking pictures is forbidden - I know the paintings, tapestries and sculptures need to be respected in order to preserve them but you can't even take a picture of the garden - and the entrance fee is a little high (USD $10). For what you can see in here, it's a bit excessive. But I was glad I got to see this by myself and I don't think it was a waste of my time or money: if you appreciate art you will like this chance to observe this rare and heterogeneous collection.

    An "interesting" thing I just learned about this museum is that some very valuable paintings were stolen from here some years ago....

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by leffe3 Written Apr 26, 2006

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    One of my personal favourite museums in the world - this is a stunning place. A mock 3 storey 15th century Venetian Palazzo, the exhibits, the courtyard and the building all combine to a cohesive whole. It's overflowing with artefacts - paintings, sculptures, drawings, furniture, prints, manuscripts, letters, Japanese screens, books and so much more.

    And it's all the private and personal collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner, amassed in a relatively short period from approximately the 1880s, with Fenway Court (as the museum was originally known) opening on January 1, 1903, to friends and February 23 to the general public.

    Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, Asia, the Islamic world and 19th-century France and America are all stunningly represented, with artists such as Degas, Cellini, Ucello, Michelangelo, Boticelli and Manet on display. Stunning - and if you need a break, head for the courtyard and the open space.

    if that's not enough, the Museum also arranges regular music events.

    Opening times: 11am - 5pm (Tuesday-Sunday - last admission at 4.20pm)
    Closed Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

    Cost:
    Adults: US$10 (US$11 at weekends)
    Pensioners: US$7
    Students: US$5
    Children under 18 free when accompanied by an adult
    (US$2 off adult and pensioner entry when combining visit with Museum of Fine Art within a 2 day period)

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  • jmhenry1123's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by jmhenry1123 Written Oct 25, 2005

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner constructed this museum in the style of a 15th century Venetian Palace to store her collection of art and antiquities.The contents of the museum are placed as she had originally placed them. She had impeccable tastes in art and decoration. She included amongst her friends the painters, John Singer Sargent and James Whistler. Several of their paintings hang in the palacial museum.

    Fifteen years ago the museum was robbed of 15 precious works when burglars disguised as police officers broke in. The art has yet to be returned. Reminders of the theft are still commemorated by empty frames hanging in the walls of several rooms.

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Closest thing to Venice in Boston!

    by acemj Written Sep 24, 2005

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    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of my favorite museum anywhere!! This place is great. When you walk in you'll immediately be greeted by the spectacular Venetian-style courtyard pictured here. Actually, you're not supposed to take any pictures at all, so I had to be a little sneaky to get this shot. The collection here includes artist outside of Italy, but it is certainly heavy on Italian masters and the best part of it is the setting. You really feel like you have just stepped into one of the spectacular palaces along the Grand Canal. In addition to Italian art, you'll also find a lot of Asian influences and on the day I visited, there was even a live pianist playing in a performance room on the second floor.

    Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy Bostonian who in the late 1880s began to gain interest in the writing of Dante and in Italian art. She began to travel the world and amass an amazing collection of art and in 1903 she opened the museum to the public.

    It's $10 for adults, $5 for students
    Tuesday-Sunday 11 am-5 pm (gotta get in before 4:20 pm)

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by kazander Written Jul 6, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gardner Museum

    I love, love, love this museum! It is so peaceful here. Designed as and old Italian mansion, it's as though you are stepping into another time and place. The centerpiece is a large 4 story high courtyard with a glass ceiling. There are a beautiful variety of trees (my favorite was the fern tree) and flowers, including some amazing orchids I had never seen before here. Around the perimeter there are many rooms to explore with period furniture, and many paintings, books, some with illuminated manuscript, and other interesting pieces. There is no textbook coherence to how everything is set up. Ms. Gardner wanted to place the artwork in a way that was most enjoyable for viewing, which means that the way the art is displayed is as artistic as the pieces themselves. Not all like works are grouped together.

    No photographs are allowed inside the museum, not even in the courtyard. You may take photos from the side garden.
    The Museum Cafe is a lovely spot for lunch. We sat outside under the awning in the garden. Very realaxing.

    Museum is closed on Mondays.
    Open Tuesday-Sunday 11 am-5 pm(Galleries begin closing at 4:45 pm)

    Adults: $10 ($11 on weekends)
    Seniors: $7
    College Students: $5 with current I.D.
    Children under 18 are admitted free

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  • Karnubawax's Profile Photo

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    by Karnubawax Written Nov 3, 2004

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    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is not your typical museum. It is a private home and art collection that is opened to the public. Mrs. Gardner stipulated in her will that the museum was always to remain as it was when she passed on. And it has. The building itself is incredible - a Venetian-style 4-story palace housing over 2000 pieces.

    Many of the pieces aren't just fascinating in and of themselves, but the stories behind them are quite interesting, too. So when you go in, go STRAIGHT to the bookshop and pick up a guide ($5). You'll be glad you did. Mrs. Gardner did not think much of putting big, descriptive plaques near the pieces; indeed, many of the pieces are not labeled in any way! The docents try to take up the slack, but you will get a LOT more out of the ISG museum if you pick up a guide.

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  • jbel2879's Profile Photo

    The Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum

    by jbel2879 Updated Jun 28, 2004

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    This is hands down my favorite spot in Boston. Sometimes I would just go here and sit. It's also the site of my favorite painting, El Jaleo, by my favorite painter, John Singer Sargent. There's an amazing collection of Sargent paintings here, including several of Mrs. Gardiner herself. There's also a few Titians and Rembrandts that are breathtaking and a number of fascinating hand-written letters, from Thos. Jefferson to Marie Antoinette

    Mrs. Gardiner and her husband were incredible art collectors, and when he died, Mrs. Gardiner commissioned this incredible building to hold their collection. The building is 4 stories, and in the middle is an enclosed garden lit by a huge skylight. Oh my gosh it's so wonderful. It's my deepest most desperate wish to get married here but they don't allow it. Sigh. Please go, it's gorgeous.

    One last fabulosity: all Isabellas are admitted free to the museum forever.

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  • Isabell Stewart Gardener...

    by klstomi Written Aug 25, 2002

    Isabell Stewart Gardener Museum.
    The museum is housed in The Gardener's house. They built it in an Italian style. The hosue is more of a drwa than the collection. Just around the corner from the MFA (walking distance)

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  • Museums

    by zChris Updated Aug 24, 2002

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    Museums
    Boston has three excellent major art museums. The one pictured here is Boston's largest and most comprehensive museum, the Museum of Fine Arts. The MFA is Boston's answer to New York's Met, displaying precontemportary works. Four levels of exhibition showcase art from ancient times up to the early 20th century, from Sudan to Massachusetts. The museum also offers a host of good yet expensive restaurants.

    About two blocks away is the equally impressive Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Gardner museum is housed in Mrs. Gardner's former manion, a huge Venetian palazzo in the Fenway. The courtyard is absolutely pehnomenal, and so are the rooms around it, holding beautiful and valuable pieces of Rennaisance art. Each room in the house has been carefully arranged to correspond with its art, and the museum cannot rearrange anything as per Mrs. Gardner's will. Even restoring tapestries requires considerable paperwork.

    In a restored firehouse on Boylston Street in the Back Bay is the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston's lesser known major art museum. The museum has a rather small collection due to its cramped quarters, but is planning to expand to a large new glass building on the waterfront and expand the collection many times over. I hope that when it does, Bostonians will finally be able to appreciate their small contemporary art museum.

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