The Amazing Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

American artist John Singer Sargent re-imagined Isabella as a modern-day Madonna in a life-size portrait that is located in the southwest corner of the Gothic Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
American artist John Singer Sargent re-imagined Isabella as a modern-day Madonna in a life-size portrait that is located in the southwest corner of the Gothic Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
American artist John Singer Sargent re-imagined Isabella Stewart Gardner as a modern-day Madonna. Sargent’s life-size portrait of Isabella is hosted in the southwest corner of the museum’s Gothic Room. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

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.

Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner painted by John Singer Sargent in 1888.
Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner painted by John Singer Sargent in 1888. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

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.

The Courtyard inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Courtyard. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

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.

The Spanish Cloister inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
Spanish Cloister. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
The Blue Room inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
Blue Room East. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

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.

The Dutch Room inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1990, 13 works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, six of them from the Dutch Room. Photo credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Info
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115
+1 617 566 1401
Open daily from 11am to 5pm, Thursday until 9pm; closed Tuesday
Museum tickets can be obtained here

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