The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, situated in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts and modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace, is the end-product of a woman’s vision to spark local people’s imagination, awaken their senses and immerse them into the fabulous world of art.
Isabella Stewart (1840–1924) was raised in a prosperous family in New York City, and as a young woman, she traveled extensively around Europe. At age 20, she married John (“Jack”) Lowell Gardner Jr, one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.
After their marriage, the young couple’s travels to Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia inspired Isabella to envision a highly ambitious project of creating an institution that would house some of the world’s most remarkable art collections. Backed by her father’s inheritance, she was finally able to found her museum in 1903, which back then was known as “Fenway Court.”
When she passed away, she left her museum and everything in it “For the Education and Enjoyment of Public Forever.”
On the museum’s ground floor, the dramatic view of the four-story Courtyard sets the stage for an exciting walk through the institution.
In the middle of the Courtyard, there’s a Roman mosaic featuring an electrifying image of the head of the Greek mythological creature “Medusa.” On the first floor, visitors can check the Spanish Cloister and the Blue Room.
On the second floor of the Gardner Museum, guests can also find the Early Italian, Raphael and Dutch rooms, while the Long Gallery, as well as the Titian and Gothic rooms, are located on the third floor. Isabella’s private residence is on the gallery’s top floor. Apart from featuring great works of art, this delightful museum of Isabella Stewart Gardner often hosts dance and music events.