Modeled after a Venetian palazzo, its unforgettable galleries contain paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, rare books and decorative arts. Galleries surround and overlook a luminous courtyard filled with verdant floral displays that rotate eight times a year.
A foremost patron of the arts, Gardner created one of the most preeminent and intimate collections of masters such as Rembrandt, Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo, many the first in US collections. She was a collector and dynamic supporter of artists of her time, including John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, and Henry James, and encouraged music, literature, dance, and creative thinking across artistic disciplines. With the stipulation that nothing be changed, she created her namesake museum for the “education and enjoyment of the public forever.”
The Renzo Piano-designed wing opened in 2012 and provides a platform for contemporary artists, musicians, and scholars, and serves as an innovative venue where creativity is celebrated in all of its forms. Spaces include a special exhibition gallery; education and art-making studio; greenhouse; and Calderwood Hall, a 300-seat performance venue.