Boston - Boston Public Garden and Other Sites of Interest for Artists

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   It is hard to overstate the amount of artistic inspiration Boston offers. We start this category with the Boston Public Garden, where we had the opportunity to paint over nearly a week in early June. The nearby Public Library houses the wonderful murals of John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey and Puvic de Chavannes. We will be adding more sites of interest to artists in Boston over the course of our travels there.

Boston Public Garden

  The Boston Public Garden consists of 24 acres, and is the second “jewel” in the Emerald Necklace chain of parks linked together through Boston and Brookline designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Public Garden was established in 1837 through the efforts of philanthropist Horace Grey. Since then, the park has gone through declines and restorations, surviving threats of development and neglect and is now protected as a National Historic Landmark.

   The Garden was initially designed by architect George F. Meacham, winner of a public competition that paid $100. The trees of the Garden are perhaps the most striking elements. There are over one hundred varieties, some massive and dating back to the original plantings of the 1800s. Statues have been added along with, in 1867, the "world's smallest suspension bridge” designed by William G. Preston, which spans the serpentine four-acre pond. The pond also contains a small landscaped island and the dock for the famous Swan Boats. The Swan Boats offer fifteen-minute rides around the pond and were designed by shipbuilder Robert Paget in 1877. Paget was inspired by the Wagner opera "Lohengrin" in which the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. The Swan Boats are still operated by the Paget family. More information is available at the Friends of the Boston Public Garden.

Boston Public Library

Art at the Boston Public Library by Bela Pratt
Bela Pratt's Sculpture Representing Art at the Boston Public Library

   The Boston Public Library in Copley Square (700 Boylston Street) was established in 1848. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in America and the first public library to lend books. The original building was designed by the architecture firm of McKim, Mead and White. Architecture tours are available daily and free of charge.

   The Library contains the specially commissioned murals of Puvis de Chavannes, The Muses, the series of mural paintings by Edwin Austin Abbey titled The Quest of the Holy Grail and the mural sequence by John Singer Sargent called Triumph of Religion. Members see Sargent's Great Murals.

   More information about the Library is available at The Boston Public Library.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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   "Years ago I decided that the greatest need in our Country was Art… We were a very young country and had very few opportunities of seeing beautiful things, works of art… So, I determined to make it my life's work if I could." - Isabella Stewart Gardner

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (280 The Fenway) is in itself a work of art, the only private art collection in which the building, the collection and its installations are the creation of one individual, Isabella Stewart Gardner. Gardner was the ultimate patron of the arts, befriending and collecting the work of John Singer Sargent and James Abbott McNeill Whistler among many others. The Museum houses more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries and rare books and includes work by Titian, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Manet, Botticelli and Degas. The original building is a 15th-century Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding a flower-filled courtyard. A new wing designed by architect Renzo Piano opened in January 2012. More information is available at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

   In 1990 the largest property theft in recorded history occurred at the Gardner Museum. It remains under investigation. Information about the incident and images of the artwork stolen can be seen here.

Recent articles

  Plein Air Oil Painting in the Boston Public Garden
  Sargent's Great Murals - Perspectives No. 140
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We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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