Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Acts of Thursday - For Boston, for art

Have you seen this painting? It's Vermeer's The Concert, painted between 1658 and 1660.
How about this one, Rembrandt's only known seascape?
Or this one?
I watch the box with the moving pictures, you know. As often as I've wished a quick and final finish to our 20-year-old television so I have an excuse to cancel cable and get a real life, Mr. Farnsworth's folly continues to suck me in. And because I'm a nerd that way, I tend to watch a lot of educational and documentary type things.

Back when I was an oblivious college student in 1990, thieves dressed as police officers handcuffed the night guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 rare works of art, including three Rembrandts and a priceless Vermeer, one of only 34 paintings ever created by the Dutch artist. I probably heard about it then, but it didn't stick. To date, and despite a $5 million reward for their safe return, the paintings, drawings and sculptures are still in the wind.

The most interesting aspect to me is that, as stipulated in Mrs. Garder's will, the museum's collection has remained unchanged since her death in 1924. As such, since 1990, the museum has displayed 10 empty frames where beautiful art once hung. Where many museums would hide such a vast disappearance by rotating other items from their collection into view, the evidence of this theft remains visible, open, raw for anyone visiting the museum.


Anonymous said...


Elliott said...

Why what?

Bev said...

Wow, that is really interesting. I suppose their glaring absence is, in itself, art.

Elliott said...

I love that 85 years after her death, they still abide by her thought that the collection and the building she designed to house it are a collective, single work. How many people have their dying wishes ignored for the betterment of someone else?

Be nice and share!

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