If you are an art and museum enthusiast, we highly recommend the Art Institute of Chicago as a must-see on your next visit to the Windy City. There is something to please everyone here, given so many interesting exhibitions and displays.
The main building first opened in 1893. In 2009, the Modern Wing was added as an expansion effort making the total museum nearly one million square feet. It is the second largest museum in the United States, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
ARTIC, as the Institute is affectionately called via acronym, hosts approximately 1.5 million guests annually and is home to some truly iconic pieces. These include Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, all of which are surreal to see in person.
A popular exhibition at the time of our visit was Rodin: Sculptor and Storyteller, which brought Auguste Rodin to life as it displayed rarely seen sculptures and drawings from private collections. In addition, it contained photographs, drawings, prints and sculptures by the artist’s infamous friends and contemporaries, such as Monet and Matisse.
If you’re into the medieval times, then you will love The Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor exhibit, which showcases nearly 700 objects dated from 1200 to 1600. This includes altarpieces, luxury goods, jewelry, items of personal display and, of course, the arms and armor collection. There is also a gallery filled with swords, luxury firearms, and equipment for the hunt extending through the Baroque era. Seeing and learning about these old style weapons is nothing less than intriguing.
The Xu Longsen: Light of Heaven exhibit is displayed in the hallways and staircases in between exhibits at the Art Institute. Longsen’s set of painted pillars was created specifically for the museum. It has layers of ink wash along with a number of landscape paintings. Longsen is known for his large, landscape paintings – some over 30 feet tall. Seeing his work in person is awe-inspiring.
The Art Institute is a wonderful place to discover art both old and new. Learning about and physically seeing the different art forms throughout various eras and cultures is an eye-opening experience. From early 20th-century hair combs to South African wedding ensembles in the 1950s, the Art Institute of Chicago truly has it all and makes a visit not only interesting but educational.
A personal highlight was seeing Picasso’s, Monet’s and Warhol’s art pieces. Being so close stirred a feeling within me that was in the presence of greatness.
I highly suggest allotting a good amount of your day to the museum if you plan on visiting, as this is something that should not be rushed lest you miss something. It took my review team and me quite a few hours to look at everything, especially as there are countless galleries. And when you’re done with the museum, you can complete your day with a visit to ARTIC’s cafe (Caffee Moderno) and two gift shops.
General admission tickets are $25USD for adults and $19USD for seniors (65 and up), students and teens (age 14-17). The Art Institute is open daily from 10:30 to 5:30 and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Check out their website HERE for more information on admission and guidelines!
Review and Photos by Marisa Filippo