Recently I took a five-day trip to Chicago, Illinois with my husband and one of our stops was to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was a highlight for me during the trip, for my husband – not so much. It balanced out because the week before I had to commit two hours straight of gameplay for his gaming channel.
I had goosebumps as I entered the museum since it’s one of the premiere art museums in the world. Founded in 1879, it served as a museum and a school of fine arts and sits on the homelands of the Council of the Three Fires.
The Council of the Three Fires are the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. Chicago was and still is home to Native Americans because of the federal urban relocation policies. Much of the land that it sits on was turned into a landfill containing remnants from the Chicago Fire.
Just in time for the World’s Columbian Fair in 1893, the Art Institute found it’s place where it is now on Michigan Avenue and Adam Street, not too far from the shoreline of Lake Michigan. You are greeted by two bronze lions as you walk in through the same entrance that many guests before had gone.
The building is done in the Beaux Arts style, combining French neoclassicism with Gothic and Renaissance elements. A style that originated from Paris, France. Recently, it had added a Modern Wing by Renzo Piano. The museum houses masterpieces from such artists as Monet, Diego Rivera and de Kooning.
I found it a bit overwhelming halfway through the tour, there is so much to see and read. Catching the suggested highlights from the map is a great way to pace yourself if you only have a couple of hours. My awe-inspiring moments were viewing George Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and the Medieval department with its armor and weaponry.
The Seurat was bigger than I expected. You get the dimensions of these art pieces in an art history book, yet it’s not the same when you actually see it. I tried imagining how he did his style of pointillism on this piece of work and it boggled me. The displayed armor renewed my romantic, fantastical imagination I would have when I read about King Arthur and Camelot.
We also viewed the Monet and Chicago exhibit, a temporary exhibit on Claude Monet and how his works had an impact on Chicago. If you’re a fan of Monet, this is an exhibit to see. You’ll be able to see many of his famous works, such as his Stack of Wheat series and Water Lily Pond and his lesser known works such as, Branch of the Seine and Apples and Grapes.
Now you must be wondering why I mentioned about searching for water, not too long into the tour of the Art Institute I started getting thirsty. They didn’t have the water fountains on, their café was closed and I had left my water bottle behind. At one point I found myself drinking out of the restroom sink. If it wasn’t for this problem, I would have stayed longer in the museum. TIP: if you’re traveling here or any museum for that matter during this time, bring a water bottle and wear comfortable shoes.