The Gardner, part II – Vatichino

We continue our walk with a brief stop by the Blue Room, one of the most intimate and personal spaces, with objects that reflect Isabella’s personal relationships. In the early days of the Museum the Blue Room welcomed concert goers, serving as the ladies’ reception area. We stop long enough to throw envious stares at the luxurious locks of the lady depicted in Howard Gardiner Cushing’s – aptly named – painting ”The Shower of Gold” (1908).

Next, we enter the ”Vatichino” (the Little Vatican), a small and narrow room, thus named teasingly by Isabella precisely because it is so tiny.

Here we can enjoy a collection of objects related to Gardner’s lifelong love of music.  ”An avid traveler, her musical tastes were shaped by experiences around the world. In diaries and letters, Gardner described the sounds of different cultures – from the soaring voices of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany to the raucous singing of boatmen on the Nile. When in Boston, Gardner regularly invited friends and family to concerts at her home, often printing beautiful programs for her guests.”

Program for a concert, 10 May 1900
Ink on polychrome Japanese woodblock print

”At her homes in Boston and Brookline, Gardner hosted musical performances and concerts for a range of audiences. While they were private events, they set an important precedent to the public musical performances that would be hosted at her museum after 1903. This program for a concert at her Brookline estate, which as known as Green Hill, features work by her friend Charles Martin Loeffler.”

Victor George (active early 20th century)
Tamaki Miura, 1915
Platinum Print

”Tamaki Miura was the first internationally celebrated Japanese soprano. After training in her native Japan and in Europe, Miura was cast in the title role of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in London in 1915. Acclaimed for her performances, Miura toured the United States to reprise her role for American audiences. Gardner was a great fan of the opera and friend to many singers; the fact that she collected a photographic portrait of Miura denotes her admiration for the path-breaking soprano.”

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

May 4th, 2017


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