The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a work of art itself. Modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palazzo, turned inside-out and surrounding an interior courtyard garden, the century-old museum is home to one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. Collected and personally installed by Isabella Stewart Gardner, the collection features over 2,500 artworks, including paintings by master artists Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Degas and Sargent, as well as sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, letters and decorative objects spanning more than 30 centuries. The Gardner Museum was the first museum of its kind, combining a world-class collection with an intimate atmosphere, and it is the only museum in which the building, collection and installation are entirely the creation of one woman. During Isabella Gardner’s lifetime, the museum bustled with artistic activity: John Singer Sargent painted in the Gothic Room; musician Charles Martin Loeffler composed in the galleries; Nellie Melba danced the cobra in the cloisters. Today, the museum continues this legacy through exhibitions and programming that emphasize this intermingling of the arts. Contemporary and historic exhibitions, the oldest museum music program in the nation, seasonal garden installations, innovative school and community partnerships, and contemporary Artists-in-Residence representing a range of disciplines and nations continue to enrich the permanent collection and provide new perspectives on the century-old museum.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum