Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Chicago Art Institute
Danelle and I left early Monday morning on an Amtrak train to Chicago. Our train did not look like this, but it was nice. We had breakfast on the train and then sat in the lounge car with seats facing the windows. There is something relaxing about riding on a train.
In Chicago, we took a taxi from Union Station to the Art Institute. We were a bit early so we walked around Millenium Park. For some good images of what the park looked like (and it is worth a peek), go to the Millenium Park Website.
At 10:30AM, we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. Danelle had went with our daughter on a field trip about a month ago and thought I would really enjoy it.
We walked up the Grand Stair Case and entered the first room. They have a lot of different art there, but I really wanted to see some paintings. I wanted to see the texture of the brush strokes, see the actual size of the painting, and ponder it a bit. I wasn't disappointed.
The first room had several paintings hanging on white wall. There was a rope a little above knee level but it was only a foot from the wall. You could (but obviously shouldn't) easily touch the painting. I went and looked at the first one. Interesting. I looked at the little sign. It was painted by Renoir. Renoir? He's famous isn't he?! I'm standing in front of a Renoir! And I can get as close as I want. There didn't appear to be any glass in front of the painting.
We saw Renoir, Manet, and Monet (I love Monet -- the colors, the style... it always moves me.) Danelle and I both really liked Pissaro. This painting, Woman Bathing Her Feet in a Brook, was stunning! This photo wouldn't make me look twice, but in person, it just popped. It was amazing to see a painting you recognized and then walk right up to it. Rembrandt, Rodin, Picasso, O'Keefe, Mattise, El Greco, van Gogh, Dali, Gauguin, and Cezanne.
Here is Danelle in front of a painting we recognized. It struck me how large it was. Here's a quiz -- what is the name of the painting? Who is the artist? What type of art is it a great example of?
There was an artist named Robert who had painted some spectacular scenes of Roman (I assume) architecture that had just the right touch of fantasty for me.
It was amazing to see painting that began to paint glass objects, such as wine glasses or pitchers. You had to remind yourself, they didn't have a color for glass. They used white and painted the edges and the glares. Amazing.
I knew this painting was at the Institute. It is a famous painting of a farmhouse in Iowa. Who painted this one? What is the title? What is the relationship between the man and the woman? Who posed for it?
There was a lot of art I didn't like. I'm not a fan of the European religious art where everything looks so odd. I'm not a fan of a painting of fruit, no matter how real it looks.
We left the art museum a little before we had to. We had seen everything we wanted to see. We were tired, and we didn't want to look at stuff "just because we were there." We came out of the museum and decided to walk in the direction the cab had brought us. After a couple of blocks, I thought I should be sure and asked a man in a suit directions. He was very kind and gave us good directions. I thought he told us to stop at the river.
We found ourselves right in front of the Sears Tower and saw the river but not the Station. I asked another man in a suit, who after being surprised by the interruption, kindly told me it was just across the river. And it was. We were amazed that we could walk from Union Station in downtown Chicago to the Art Institute and not be afraid. If we go again, we think we will probably just walk to the park and the Institute.
We took the train home, several times agreeing that we were glad we weren't driving. I want to go again and gaze at the same paintings. The difference of seeing them in person is distinct. I want to go to New York and Europe and see more paintings.