We’ve got rhythm

17 10 2007

Take a sneak peak at this month’s gallery tour:

Sure, we have concerts every Sunday in season, performances throughout the year, and other hip events, but what is the rhythm of the Gardner? Seems obvious that old Isabella Gardner had style, but did she have rhythm? Could she boogie in those heavy, silk and satin, Victorian duds she wore? Let’s look to the design of her museum for answers. This is a short lesson in close looking and spatial awareness.

Think back about how you entered the museum. The entrance hall is low-ceilinged and cramped. Walking into the Spanish Cloister area gives you a bit more breathing room, and you see some art, and a little more interesting scenery. Once in the cloisters, windows allow views outside, and you get obstructed views of the courtyard. Most people naturally move toward the court to get the full view. When finally standing at the edge of the court, space, light, and color explode before you.

The short journey takes you from small, constricted, dark spaces to wide open wonder!

This movement from closed to open, dark and cramped, to light and space happens in other parts of the museum, too. Most especially, perhaps, on the 3rd floor, when going from the Long Gallery Chapel to the Gothic Room. But you may find other places if you stay aware as you wander.

Now, stand anywhere near the courtyard. Rhythmic patterns surround you. Look and listen. The regular, repeated, rounded, Romanesque arches of brick keep a steady beat on the ground floor. Let your eyes wander around the court to pluck out accent notes of ancient sculpture, tall tree ferns, and patches of color amidst the greenery. At the back of the court, the staircase above the fountain invites you up. The patterns repeat and alter in the three levels of windows above. At a casual glance the windows appear the same – all have pointed Gothic-arched tops, but close looking reveals variations. Broken rhythms come together again at the top, where regular, repeated pinnacles cap the walls…


Read on at After Hours tomorrow night. Oh, and you might want to buy your tickets in advance. (We’re expecting a crowd.) Sales are happening online and through our box office (617.278.5156) through noon tomorrow. Sales resume at the door at 5pm.

Rich LingnerRichard Lingner is Assistant Curator at the Gardner Museum, and the voice behind the cheeky collection tours you’ll get at Gardner After Hours every month. (Read highlights from last month’s here.) Rich is also famous among museum staff for his MC talents at barbeques and holiday parties, and his uncanny knack for improvising songs for every occasion.




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