In The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron talks about “artist dates”. These are special times that you set aside for yourself to go off in search of inspiration, to be with your creative muse. When I lived in a city, I would make sure that at least once a month, I would spend some time in quiet contemplation in one of my city’s beautiful parks. This reset time was precious to my creative energy and inspiration. Normally artist dates are done alone, but today I went on one with my mom. I guess we went on a double date with our creative muses?
As a belated birthday gift my mom took me to Boston for the day, and we spent most of it at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. My mom went to art school in Boston, and spent many of her own artist dates here, back when the now roped-off courtyard was open to the public.
The courtyard was definitely a highlight of the museum, and coupled with the small gallery rooms and furnishings, gave the feeling of a rare invitation into someone’s luxurious home. I felt immersed in the artworks and in the time period they were collected in, a very different feeling from the cavernous white-walled rooms of other art museums I’ve visited. The first and only other time my mom brought me here was when I was about 15. Time sure has changed me. For an art history nerd like myself with a passion for pre-Raphaelite and medieval art and architecture, this place was a gold mine. As I walked through the rooms and hallways full of carefully arranged artworks, furnishings, books, and manuscripts, I could sense just how important this collection (and it’s availability to the public) was to Isabella Gardner. And of course there were…tapestries!
Unfortunately, the main room I was here to see, the actual Tapestry Room, was closed for roof renovations! I was pretty bummed about that, but I can’t wait to come back when it reopens…. in January. It’s a long time to wait, but until then I’ll be dreaming about this place and weaving onward…