On Sunday, I was transported back to my childhood when I visited the Art Institute of Chicago.
When I was young, my two cousins, Laci and Lindsey and I were constantly playing a board game called Masterpiece. I can’t remember all the details, but it involved “selling” priceless paintings to one another, and amassing the largest fortune while avoiding “forgeries.”
On Sunday, I was transported back to my childhood when I visited the Art Institute of Chicago. Little did I know that I’d be surrounded by some of my very favorite works of art which were introduced to me in that game.
As I made may way through the cool corridors and massive gallery rooms of the nearly one million square foot museum, I?was absolutely amazed to see priceless paintings including Renoir’s “Two Sisters (On the Terrace),” Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath,” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” I was transfixed by Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” (one of my ultimate favorites), Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom,” Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s “At the Moulin Rouge,” Caillebotte’s "Paris Street; Rainy Day,” and El Greco’s “The Assumption of the Virgin.”
I was perhaps most excited to see Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” and John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Mrs. George Swinton.
Seeing these paintings brought back memories of eating salty Top Ramen (which we always made Laci make, because it tasted better when she did), taking breaks to play outdoors in the snow and curling up in front of the television to watch movies we probably shouldn’t have been allowed to see, like Sleeping with the Enemy. As well as the time when Laci and I thought it would be hilarious to draw fake mustaches on our upper lips, only to learn the markers were permanent and wouldn’t come off for days.
While I loved seeing paintings that are familiar, I also enjoyed gorgeous paintings, drawings and sculptures that are now new favorites, not to mention an entire collection of medieval arms, armor and Renaissance jewelry, amazing locks, clocks, settees, sculptures, furniture, teapots, crystal and more.
Also amazing are the 68 miniature rooms, which allow you to take a glance into rooms including a French bathroom of the Revolutionary Period to a California Hallway circa 1940, and everything between. Amazing.
As I was walking around, a very kind woman offered me a ticket to the special Roy Lichtenstein exhibition. To whoever you were that had to leave early, thank you for your kindness. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Though I spent six hours walking around until my feet (in ridiculous high heels) were absolutely killing me, I couldn’t see it all, and I wish I had at least a couple more days to wander.
If you ever find yourself in the Chicago area, whether you’re an art lover or not, I highly recommend the Art Institute.
And tonight when I get home, I’m going to see about digging up that old Masterpiece game.