Things to do with Dad

author/source: Cathie Briggette

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – The Farnese Sarcophagus Exhibit

Farnese-SarcophagusLife, Death, and Revelry – June 14th through September 3, 2018, in the Hostetter Gallery.

The Farnese Sarcophagus—with its glorious images of cavorting satyrs and maenads—is one of the most important works of art in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The exhibition and accompanying catalog trace the object's journey over two millennia from ancient Rome to contemporary Boston, exploring the many ways in which it has inspired generations of artists, collectors, conservators, and viewers since its rediscovery in the early modern era.

For the first time in over 100 years, the museum has moved this monumental work from its usual location, wedged between columns in the Palace courtyard, into Hostetter Gallery, so that all four sides of it are now visible. This exhibition presents new discoveries by our conservation team about its original colorful appearance and the restoration campaigns it has undergone in the last few centuries.

In terms of antiquarian fame—marbles copied in sketchbooks, paintings, or sculptures from the Renaissance on—the most important work of art in the Gardner collection, and perhaps of its type in America, is the sarcophagus with satyrs and maenads gathering grapes. This large, rectangular coffin of Pentelic marble with one long side and both ends elaborately carved and polished (the second long side left in a less finished state because it stood against a wall in the funerary chamber), was exported from Athens to the area of Rome in the late Severan period, between circa 222 to 235 AD. The occupants of the monument are unknown since the lid was lost or destroyed some time around 1500. The groups of reveling couples on all sides, combined with the type of lid found on other examples of this Attic imperial sarcophagus, suggest a husband and wife were shown on top as if reclining at a symposium on an elaborate couch.


Farnese Sarcophagus Exhibit-fathers-DayThe art-historical diarist and cicerone of the mid-cinquecento, Ulisse Aldrovandi, reported that the sarcophagus came from Tivoli and was first to be seen in Rome in the Villa Farnesina in the 1550s. For over a quarter of a millennium, the monument ornamented the courtyard of the Palazzo Farnese in the heart of the city, passing finally to the Villa Sciarra. In 1898 it was purchased from the Sciarra collection, through Richard Norton. The carving of the satyrs and maenads was especially suited to the artistic tastes of Mannerist and Baroque Rome, providing one of the most elegant examples of Greek imperial optic elongation to have survived from ancient times. The Farnese-Gardner sarcophagus can be considered one of the latest expressions of monumental pagan sculpture used for non-historical and decorative funerary purposes. As such it makes a perfect transition through the sculptures of the Middle Ages at Fenway Court to the cinquecento paintings with antiquarian flavor, like Titian’s Europa, in the rooms upstairs.

Source: Cornelis C. Vermeule (1978), "Sarcophagus: Revelers Gathering Grapes", in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong, et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 12-13.

This ancient work will be in conversation with Maenads & Satyrs, a 3D video installation by 2012 Artists-in-Residence OpenEndedGroup. The soundtrack is composed by Kaija Saariaho and performed by cellist Yeesun Kim of the Borromeo Quartet.

The Spirit Books – Susan Kappuscinski Gaylord

Arnold Arboretum – May 4th through July 22nd

Spirit Books-Susan Kappuscinski GaylordSpirit Books are displayed in the Hunnewell Building's Visitor Center. These art books reveal Gaylord's connection between the inherent spirituality and mystery of nature with the long-standing tradition of books as testaments of faith and belief. She gathers twigs, branches, vines, and roots, then uses them to cradle her stitched, wordless books. Incorporating beads and seeds with handmade papers from around the world, she constructs sculptural altars; the supports of natural materials as integral to the art as the beautiful books they cradle. From a distance, these books do evoke sculptures; however, their essential "bookness" becomes apparent upon closer observation. Gaylord encourages "reading" the books as a contemplative experience, one that will take the viewer out of the everyday world. See our ARBlog and The Boston Globe. Susan was also featured in the Harvard Gazette.

Things-to-do-with-Dad-this-weekendGaylord is best known for her Spirit Books. Since she created her first one in 1992 and coined the name, the Spirit Books have been exhibited throughout the US, Canada, and in Korea. She has exhibited at the Center for Book Arts in New York City, the University of Indiana Art Gallery, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and the Seungnam Book Fair in Seungnam, Korea. Spirit Books are in the book arts collections at Bowdoin College and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and many private collections. They are also well-represented in print.  Free and open to the public

Dads get in free at the Franklin Park Zoo and the Stone Zoo this weekend.

Franklin Park –

Gorillas at the Franklin Park ZooBe sure to look for all of the animal dads, including western lowland gorilla dad, Kit (pictured left), and his offspring, Kimani, Kambiri, and Azize.

Butterfly Hollow-Franklin-ParkAnd don’t miss Butterfly Hollow! Our popular, seasonal exhibit opens June 16 (weather-permitting). At Butterfly Hollow, guests have the opportunity to stroll through this tranquil environment filled with butterflies. This tented, outdoor exhibit also features several garden beds, a pond, soothing surround-sound music, and new fairy houses to discover throughout the space. Butterfly Hollow will be open through Labor Day, September 3.

Zookeeper Chats

Please note: Free admission for dads is honored at Admissions booths only, not for online ticket sales. Free admission is not applicable for the Destination Dino exhibit.

Stone Zoo

Stone ZooCelebrate your father (and all of ours!) this Father’s Day with FREE ADMISSION for all fathers throughout the day. Bring Dad along with the entire family for a memorable day spent discovering all of the incredible animals at the Stone Zoo! Be sure to visit the white-cheeked gibbon exhibit to visit dad Kien and his offspring Jian.

Zookeeper Chats

Please note: Free admission for dads is honored at Admissions booths only, not for online ticket sales. 

Kayaking on the Charles River with Community Boating

Kayaking on the CharlesAll one-day kayak and stand-up-paddleboard rentals are available for $45 for either a single or a double kayak sit on top kayak on a first-come, first served basis during the Adult Program operating hours.


Kayaking is limited to the basin between the Mass Ave. bridge and the Longfellow bridge. For both adults and kids: lifejackets are provided and must be worn at all times; must be able to swim 75 yards; no prior experience required.


Age                         Restrictions

Age 9 and below   Must be 40 inches tall and in a double kayak with their parent or guardian at all times.

Ages 10-15              Must be 40 inches tall and accompanied by a parent or guardian who is on the water providing direct supervision at all times. Kids may kayak in a separate kayak than their parents.

Ages 16-17              May rent a kayak with a signed waiver by their parent or guardian.

Kayaking on the Charles for Fathers Day