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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: A Companion Guide and History (1995)

af Hilliard T. Goldfarb

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1764119,315 (4.1)2
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to one of the pre-eminent collections of art in the United States, with more than 2,500 treasures ranging from Chinese bronzes to Titian's Europa.
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  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
This book, the smaller in size of the two Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum guidebooks, is a very interesting and informative read. There is a larger book which has more pictures and covers more of the collection, but I prefer this one because it goes more in depth about the history of the museum, room by room.

The book has a good balance between pictures and reading to keep the reader interested. I read it right after visiting the museum which I feel put the art and environment that they are housed in into perspective. It also made me want to revisit the museum to look at the small odds and ends the book covered but I missed.

Those looking to learn more about the heist, I suggest you look else where. It very briefly covers the heist. But there are other books available that are dedicated just to the heist, this book is strictly about Isabella Stewart Gardner and her collection.

Its a gem of a museum and a gem of a book. I highly recommend both, I bought the book at the museum in Boston but the book can probably be found off of the museum online shop or second hand on Amazon. ( )
  rachel_stewart19 | Jul 31, 2016 |
While on a recent trip to Boston, I made a point to visit the eccentric Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. When Ms Gardner died, she wanted her house and possessions to become a museum, and it was stipulated nothing could be added to it or removed.

And what a museum it is. Quite frankly, my first impression was that this was some batty lady who couldn't make up her mind over what she wanted to collect, and thus she collected bits of everything. The paintings on the walls -- by some of the biggest names in art, like Botticelli and Rembrandt -- are sometimes dwarfed by other items in the rooms, like furniture, statues, or tapestries. I left the museum with a headache, my senses overwhelmed.

But this is one of the "crown jewels" of the Boston art scene. What was I not seeing? I passed up buying the official museum book while there, but I later caved and found it more cheaply online. It covers some of the history that I hadn't known about, and gives the art some context. Overall, it's a decent summation of the museum. Not every piece is discussed, nor is there more than a paragraph on the 1990 theft of thirteen pieces from the building (which adds to the oddness: the museum still keeps the frames on the walls in hopes that someday the paintings will return). Sometimes the author does go a little overboard in the descriptions ("Guardi's work stands in the deeper Venetian tradition of dreamlike, densely atmospheric, painterly evocations of his city ... with its limpid, almost washlike application of tonally sensitive brushstrokes").

While I still think the museum is pretty strange, I'm now starting to see a little method in the madness. If you're not an art connoisseur, skim this book before visiting the museum. But if you're pretty familiar with art and art history, go first and read the book later so that you can immerse yourself in the whole experience.

-------------------------------------------------
LT Haiku:

Boston museum
With famous artists right next
To some empty frames. ( )
2 stem legallypuzzled | Oct 14, 2012 |
A nice guide book to the ISG Museum with lots of details and great photos, I would have liked for the book to have more photos though. I would also have liked more information on the books in Isabella’s collection. Overall it is a fine keepsake to take home after a visit to the museum. ( )
  Chris177 | May 6, 2010 |
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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to one of the pre-eminent collections of art in the United States, with more than 2,500 treasures ranging from Chinese bronzes to Titian's Europa.

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