Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

4.4
#4 of 305 in Parks in Massachusetts
Designed after a Venetian palace, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to the private art collection of its namesake. Gardner bought her first painting, Vermeer's "The Concert," at auction in Paris. The painting was stolen in a famous heist in 1990, when 13 renowned works of art were stolen. Not to worry, because almost 3,000 pieces representing periods from ancient Rome to 19th-century America still fill the gallery spaces. These include furniture, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, and paintings from almost every era displyed just as Mrs. Gardner left them, with empty spots where the artwork was stolen. Don't miss Anders Zorn's painting of Mrs. Gardner in the galleries. Her collection blossomed quickly after her first Vermeer and she commissioned the building of the current space to give the public access. Mrs. Gardner's great love of Italy, and particularly Venice, inspired her to recreate a Venetian palace to house her favorite pieces, and in 1903 it opened to great fanfare. If your name happens to be Isabella, you get free admission. Put Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and other Boston attractions into our Boston trip itinerary planning website , and watch your holiday take shape.
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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Reviews
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  • The entrance ticket costs $25, but I passed on the membership card of his companions (she bought one-year and friends now leads for free). Very nice inside-styled with Italian medieval courtyard. A lot of greenery and flowers. Rich girl Isabella Gardner in the late 19 and early 20 century gathered in his house works of art from around the world. Here is a Chinese tea room, Buddha statues, Roman beauties and the Virgin Mary, paintings by famous artists and unique interior decorations and furniture. The Museum is known for the fact that in 1990, the two robbers dragged from him 13 works of art, including rare paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt. Crime is still not solved. If there is time-don't miss there, you won't regret it.
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  • The garden in the middle is worth seeing, and we took a few pictures. The overall impression, however, was that it's a dark and confusing place. I felt underwhelmed by the rest of the museum.  more »
  • What a beautiful surprise this was. The museum itself is a beautiful building, holding beautiful artworks. I decided to treat myself to lunch there and was so pleased. The food was absolutely deliciou...  more »
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  • This is a very special place, (literally) a home to some of the most beautiful, mostly European, art and craft. Walking around "The Palace," the original building, is to visit a past world of luxury, exquisite taste and sophistication. From Gardner's choice of paintings - which includes Titian, Rembrandt, Sargent - to surprise odd bits of witty sculpture tucked in a random niche, to the furniture, the tile, fabric and leather wall coverings, the architecture and the gorgeous garden, you're in a world nothing like your own. Back through the modern glass walkway to the new addition, you're in a world of contemporary sophistication where you can visit another gallery, have a quiet seat to rest or read, shop in a small store with interesting stock and have a lovely, moderately-priced meal. The bright, well-lit addition almost high-lights the one drawback to this gem, which is the dim lighting in The Palace.
  • Beautiful museum with an interesting history. Three floors of art, but overall it's on the smaller side so won't take you too long to get through. The cafe has great food. On certain Thursdays, they host events with live music and drinks in the garden/courtyard. I would definitely recommend these events as the admission is cheaper and the entertainment is fun.
  • This place is absolutely incredible! I was so impressed by Isabella's massive art collection, and every room was so beautiful. Tapestries on the walls made the whole environment feel so rich. We stopped in here on a rainy Saturday, and it was fairly busy, but it's a nice self-guided walk through the museum. Each room has a collection of handouts that act as a key for each piece in the room; giving you the name, date, and artist. We were very pleasantly surprised with how incredible this place was, and were sad when we had made our way through the entire museum! I definitely suggest this as a "must see" anytime you visit Boston, MA!
  • Love this unique museum and the airy new wing. Mrs Gardener was just an amazing lover and patron of creative arts who attracted the most respected and recognised talents to her. She was also fabulously wealthy and beautiful. All alluring features to her many admirers! Enjoy the Henry James show whilst it is still on!
  • This is a must see in Boston. The building itself is half of the experience and the art collection is tops. The new display space allows for diverse shows. When were there recently they had American impressionist works. Don't miss the restaurant. It's not inexpensive but fabulous food and service.

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