The last remaining vestige of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Venetian vision for the music room at her Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts, palazzo-style mansion is this oil painting by Martin Mower painted in the late 1890’s. Destroyed at the turn-of-the-20th-century, Mower’s romantic paean to Gardner’s Venetian decorative tradition paints a dreamlike world where 18t-century carved gilt chairs casually float against a rich background of silks and brocades. Despite the room’s fine Renaissance carvings and interior architecture Ms. Gardner conceived of rooms that are at once opulent and accessible. Furniture is informally arranged for conversation and comfort, centered on the room’s baronial hooded chimneypiece, at left, and further enhanced by a dose of exotic eclecticism weaving through her collections, textiles and objet d’art. A lyrical and timeless beauty pervades Ms. Gardner’s music room, which we can perhaps attribute to Martin Mower’s insightful and sensitive interpretation of the chatelain’s vision of Venice.
You can visit the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum at 152 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts.