I was at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston with my family yesterday, a precious place that I visit about once a year but to which none of them, oddly, have ever been. Wandering around the eclectic rooms of the first floor, my brother remarked to me: it’s as if all of these paintings were in the Masterpiece game that we played as children. Now he is a well-educated, worldly New Yorker, so this was hardly his first exposure to these genres, but he was right: as soon as he said it I was plunged back into the late 1970s as well. There was something about the placement of these paintings that reminded us of that old art auction board game!
The 1970 Parker Brothers’ Masterpiece Game, Museum of Childhood, Victoria & Albert Museum Collection and for sale here (for a while; I might need to snatch it up).
The game contained 24 art cards which became emblazoned in our minds: I remember when I first saw one of the original paintings in real life it seemed…………BIG. My brother’s memories was jostled by a Degas-like painting by Louis Kornberg titled In the Dressing Room (1920) in the Yellow Room, while the facing Whistleresque Lady in Yellow (1888) by Thomas Wilmer Dewing looked vaguely familiar to me. I was absolutely certain that Carlo Crivelli’s St. George Slaying the Dragon (1470) upstairs in the Raphael room was a game card, as well as Rembrandt’s 1629 Self-Portrait, in the Dutch Room. But when I returned home to look up the game on various vintage board game sites, I quickly realized that our memories were false: all the paintings including in the Masterpiece game are apparently from the National Gallery in London. Mrs. Gardner’s ladies, saint, and Rembrandt were not our Masterpiece ladies, saint, and Rembrandt, but nevertheless it was good to see them (again).
All Images courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
January 11th, 2015 at 11:36 am
That game looks so fun! I never came across it in my childhood days.
January 11th, 2015 at 11:58 am
It was fun, Kat–now I remember playing it quite a bit, but before yesterday I had completely forgotten all about it!
January 11th, 2015 at 1:31 pm
That’s rad…I should have known about this game but never even heard of it…too bad!
December 7th, 2016 at 5:22 pm
You played the American version which used images from the Art Institute of Chicago. You are referring to the British version which had different images. Your memory was correct.
December 8th, 2016 at 6:00 am
Thanks so much, John–that’s the kind of affirmation you like to hear!