Sunday, January 15, 2012

Adding New to the Old

Yesterday, I took a quick work trip to Boston to celebrate the opening of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's new wing, designed by Renzo Piano. While the Gardner is largely known for their significant historical art collection (and the infamous theft of several masterpieces in 1990), the museum also has a strong residency program that fosters the work of many contemporary artists. The new wing is beautiful, and holds a dramatic glass-walled gallery, as well as a large concert hall.

The original museum, just steps away, consists of a 15th century Venetian-style manor that surrounds a lush courtyard filled with tropical plants and 1st century marble sculptures. It's enclosed from the elements, and feels impossibly perfect and relaxing...A far cry from the frigid Boston weather howling outside.

Inside the palace, rooms hold paintings by masters such as Botticelli, Degas, Manet, Raphael, Rubens, Singer Sargent, Titian, Velázquez and Whistler, all of which are displayed alongside antique furniture and decorative objects. Exploring the museum is a bit like wandering an eccentric house, with each turn and hallway revealing more architectural and artistic treasures...

A few favorites from inside the hallowed walls:

Rembrant's Self-Portrait from 1629 | an exquisite silver ostrich tucked in a cabinet of treasures | a collection of white lace | massive stone fireplaces dotted throughout the rooms | a stained glass window from Soissons cathedral, 1205 | a small silver 19th century Indian box | the sweet sound of the gurgling fountain in the courtyard | Matisse's Terrace at Saint Tropez, 1904 | the light that passed through nooks and crannies in the dark wood walls, spilling over the floor and illuminating the relics inside |

I can't wait to go back.

Image one of the new wing via here. All other images taken by me with my iPhone.

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