Art as a Mirror

The early afternoon sunshine cast a luminous glow onto smooth alabaster as it forced its way into the dark courtyard through muted panes of glass. Carved by hands long dead, the headless figure of a young man with remnants of wavy locks cascading to his shoulders, sat staring into nothingness. Off in the distance, a gypsy gathers herself for her next step into abandonment as she moves along to the music being created by musicians lost in the passion of the moment. On the other end of the stone courtyard is an alter, surrounded by the brilliant colors of medieval stained glass. Nearby reclines the stone effigy of an unknown man, lost to the call of the Grim Reaper.

This is just one room in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Curated from a lifetime of travel, the art this one remarkable woman collected, reflects the passions of life – those moments where we are reminded what living truly means. Each majestic piece, still sitting where Isabella herself originally placed it, evokes an emotion. Whether it be pain, grief, joy, love, desire, anger, or sometimes peace, by simply viewing these treasures we are reminded of what life is all about by a woman who lived it to its fullest.

All photos by the author. Please do not use without written permission.

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