The next morning, Georgina had only one request for our day … to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. Since I had not yet been there, this was going to be new for both of us. I walk by the museum plenty of times each week because it’s right smack in the middle of Grant Park, half-way to Eddie’s office via Michigan Avenue. Just looking at the outside of the building is awe-inspiring because even I can tell that it’s a “roman-themed” architecture style and I imagine many of Italy’s buildings to be like this. It has these two grand bronze lions outside the main entrance that make you stop and stare, no matter where you are actually heading. They were made for the Art Institute’s grand opening in 1893 and have been roaring there ever since.
But inside … now this is a magical place. Whether you are an art aficionado or a history buff or a lookie-loo like me, you will not be disappointed. They refer to the museum as an “encyclopedic museum” which for me was a great way to help me understand what exactly it holds. And it holds pretty much everything from A to Z. Famous pictures that you’ve seen in books, postcards, and advertisements, then sculptures of roman emperors, Asian and Egyptian artifacts, glass, and pottery from 1000-5000 Before Christ! It’s very overwhelming to say the least.
We decided to go with the “one hour recommended self-guided tour” with the audio so that we could see and hear all about the seven (7) works of art that the Art Institute suggests everyone sees if it’s your first time visiting. First stop … Georges Seurat (French, 1859-1891) A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884. Well that took about 25 minutes to fully inhale. Next, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919) Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg) – 1879. Oh, another 15 minutes … and so it went. After about 5 hours (yes, 5 … not 1!) we had to call it a day … why? Because they were closing! Seriously! The tour they suggested was great, however, they didn’t tell us that we couldn’t get sidetracked if we really wanted to see them all. I don’t think we actually did see all 7 of the pieces they recommended, but we saw some beautiful paintings that are so incredibly done they look like photographs. Now I understand the word “masterpiece” … I’ve seen several. WOW! Mind you, I am nowhere near an art enthusiast, mostly because I’ve always felt so challenged when it comes to interpreting. But this … WOW is pretty much all I can muster. Here are a few of my own favorites … so far!
Before we left, we needed to see one last exhibit. You know how we HNM’ers love our stained glass? Well how’s a Marc Chagall (1887–1985) America Windows – 1977 for you? They almost had to drag us out, kicking and screaming because we just didn’t have enough time to fully enjoy the beauty of them. Of course, they don’t hold a candle to our own Fr. Bill stained glass, but they were pretty spectacular.
I highly recommend this place as a “must see” on your list, even if you’re just a lookie-loo like me … hey, if I can appreciate this place, you will too! I promise!!
We finished our walk with a tour of Eddie’s office building overlooking Grant Park. There’s no shortage of “view” from here!
You can see the Field Museum at the top of my head going towards your right and the Adler Planetarium going towards your left from Georgina’s head … that’s the “bottom” of the park, with the street Eddie’s office building is on as the “top” and running on both sides of the big street running from top to bottom too … Now you can see why I walk so much!
We ended our day at “Doc B’s” for burgers, walked Georgina back to the Drake, and took the Red Line back home to our apartment. Georgina has been a good friend for many years and I cherish her grace, wisdom, and beauty, inside and out! We have a lot more places to visit, so hurry back Georgina! Talk to you tomorrow!