Today, my boyfriend and I took a trip into the city of Boston to see the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which neither of us have ever been to. Admission was only $5 for college students, $12 for adults.
The Museum is the work of Isabella Gardner, who collected paintings, furniture, tapestries, and china from across the world, to fill her home with. The place was beautiful, the courtyard being the most striking part of the building. It was filled with real and fake flowers and sculptures. Very tall, very brightly lit by the sun.
Four stories high, Mrs Gardner spent most of her life on the fourth floor, leaving the bottom floors open to guests. Each room had a theme and a color scheme. There was a blue room, two red rooms, a green room or two, and a few brown ones. Each room mixed and matched pieces of different styles and eras. I thought that the entire collection was very impressive, and it felt like just that: a collection. The place was personal and homey. Unlike most museums, the entire room was the artwork. And every room was artwork. Everything was painted and decorated with unique items.
That’s what I want my house to be like. A slowly built collection of unique items, all unrelated, but put together in a way that makes them all fit. I highly recommend visiting if you like old homes or are looking for some interesting decorating ideas. Or, if you like fireplaces. There was one in almost every room. Huge fireplaces with fancy mantles and smoke hoods and two chairs facing one another, placed in front of them.
The house was quiet, but you could feel the vibrations of the elevator going through the floors. It was a little like exploring a haunted old mansion by yourself, at the same time as thirty other people. Each visitor was on their own mission navigating through passageways and iron gates and stone doorways without taking note of one another.
The house was bigger than I expected it to be. Even though the courtyard, the first room that we discovered, was enormous, the building viewed from the outside just doesn’t seem to be as voluminous as it is on the inside.
They are working on an addition to the museum which will possibly bring back the Asian artwork room that was removed several years ago, its pieces dispersed throughout a number of small rooms between the larger ones. That was perhaps the only disappointment: that the beautiful Japanese tapestries and rice paper room dividers we hung high on the walls in such small dark rooms. They were still pretty, just not displayed as nicely as the other things.
Even still, the house was beautiful. I couldn’t imagine living in such a place. It’s certainly worth a visit, not just for the number of master paintings, but for the arrangement of color and pattern in the decorations. It definitely gave me a few ideas.