Artful Books.

AuthorMoore, Alex

Work Title: Artful Books

Work Author(s): Alex Moore


Byline: Alex Moore

Only the ornate frames remain. Green brocade-covered walls and seventeenth-century Italian brown velvet show through their ravaged openings. Gone are Vermeer's The Concert, an exquisite example of photographic preciseness; Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, a tumultuous burst of color on a raging sea; Manet's Chez Tortoni, a man in black with vibrant background; and others. Stolen late Saint Patrick's Day night 1990, when the Irish town of Boston was woozy with green, two men dressed as policemen entered the fifteenth-century Venetian palazzo-styled Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and made the biggest art heist in U.S. history.

Isabella Stewart Gardner, known as the Serpent of the Charles for her pagan allure, first threw open the doors to her museum-house on New Year's Day 1903 to the Brahmins of Boston. Inside, while the Boston Symphony played Mozart's Symphony No. 25, masterpieces were displayed from Bellini and Botticelli to Rubens and Rembrandt. She was Boston's patron saint of art.

All of the museum's art losses were painted by men. No woman was represented. Isabella would've supported women artists, if there were any of that stature centuries ago. Karen McCarthy in her ForeSight Art article, "Women Artists: Mothers, Transformers, Rebels," addresses this difference in fame between men and women artists. "Only recently," writes McCarthy, "have larger numbers of women had the freedom to fully engage in more creative pursuits, to combine motherhood or religious life with artistic endeavors and scholarly interpretive works, to offer art as a way to transform the world, to rebel against society's constraints."

Three Spotlight reviews concern art. In The Foundations of Christian Art, Beth Hemke Shapiro highlights sacred art; in Watercolor by Design, Bobbye Middendorf reflects on the concept of creativity; and Aimee Sabo reviews Stolen Masterpiece...

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