Tag Archives: Art Institute of Chicago

“They rejected brushes and pencils in favor of drafting tools and photography”

The Art Institute of Chicago is currently hosting an exhibition titled “Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life” which follows six artists working in Eastern Europe primarily from the 1920’s and 1930’s in the world of design. As the exhibition overview tells, these artists “rejected brushes and pencils in favor of drafting tools and photography,” choosing not to create fine art, but to bring their work to the people through posters, books, magazines, and even office supplies and stationary. The six artists are similar and at times their work overlaps in space, style and intent, but I found the second half of the exhibit – that focusing on the work of Latvian Gustav Klutsis, Russian El Lissitzky and German John Heartfield – to be the more interesting. Continue reading

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Is it Due to a Deep Interest in the Afterlife?

I had a conversation with a friend recently that included the above question. When pulled from its context, it makes a great title for a blog post, don’t you think?

We were chatting about a work by Édouard Manet (Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers, 1865) and, as the conversation meandered, we spoke of Madrid’s excellent Museo del Prado and so I revealed that I really love a lot of that explicitly religious style of medieval art that characterizes Old World collections like El Prado’s. When she pressed further on what drew me to it, I fell back to an old standby of mine, Hieronymus Bosch and his work The Garden of Earthly Delights. You likely have seen the painting; Bosch is well known for his especially creative and visually exciting depictions of religious scenes, the most popular of which are his depictions of Hell and damnation.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1450-1516

The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1450-1516

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A Hypnotic Shade of Blue

Chagall Windows

I alighted from the 6 bus yesterday, the first snowy day of the year, to start a last round of profligate spending that began during Thanksgiving with the goal of leaving my walls and wardrobe less bare. The stores lay on a convenient south-north route along State and Michigan, and I got off at Jackson. With the Art Institute directly in my line of sight, I decided to delay my brief foray into Christmas consumerism and take advantage of the university’s Arts Pass to see the Chagall windows.

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Moved to Tears

I want my museum to give me an emotional experience. I find myself returning time and again to the Art Institute of Chicago because I get euphoric while I’m there. It’s not that each piece of art is mind-blowing – there are some real duds there for sure – but just being in the presence of good art brings me pleasure. I believe it does me good, if not some outward measurable good, then maybe some inner mind- and soul-building good.

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Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio (1601)

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus (1601)

Supper at Emmaus (1601), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

There has been quite a bit of hubbub recently about a new painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum is exhibiting Supper at Emmaus (1601) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio which depicts the moment when Jesus, upon returning to the earth after his crucifixion and resurrection, reveals himself to two apostles. The painting is on loan from the National Gallery of London to which the AIC loaned its work The Crucifixion (1627) by Francisco de Zurbarán. Now The Crucifixion is a fine work, but we may have gotten the better deal here; Caravaggio is a very well known and well loved Italian Baroque painter and Supper at Emmaus is counted among his very best works. And since masterpiece is a term oft thrown about for this work, I was eager to see it.

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