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Posts tagged ‘Chicago’

Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Navy Pier Chicago

Have you ever unexpectedly stumbled on something amazing while traveling?  The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is just that!  It is a free collection of art tucked into the Navy Pier in Chicago and is really a treat.

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The Painting Under the Painting – Picasso’s Old Guitarist

Partial grazing light image of Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” as it hangs at The Art Institute of Chicago

It is not uncommon for artists to rework or even reuse canvases.  Careful examination with scientific techniques can offer glimpses of pasts images buried beneath the surface.  But sometimes you don’t need sophisticated instruments; sometimes the underlying image is very obvious looking at the final piece.  This was my experience with Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” and the ghostly woman’s face in the top center of the painting.  Looking at it from the side and letting the light graze the image, you can see the depth of her face very clearly.

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Chicago Art Institute Modern Art Wing

Art institute of chicago modern wing hallway

I spent most of the last week in Chicago including a full day at the Art Institute.  It was my first visit since the opening of the new Modern Art Wing in 2009.  Designed by Renzo Piano, the structure is glass with rib-like vertical and horizontal white elements resulting in an airy and light-filled space (even on a drizzly day) with incredible views of the city.  It is a lovely, blank container for a good collection with some hidden green building construction.

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Mysterious Bull Legs

Four-legged winged bull in the Khorsabad Court exhibit (Photo: Oriental Institute)

I was recently in Chicago and decided to get off the beaten path and visit the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.  It’s a great, albeit small museum covering Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt and other ancient near Eastern civilizations.

One exhibit area is domonated by pieces from the court of King Sargon II who ruled Assyria from 721-705 B.C.  In the center is a 16ft tall winged bull with a human head.  This sufficiently impressive piece along with its twin would have guarded a city entrance.

Looking more closely at the bull figure, it appears to have been made for viewing from very specific angles and not so much in the round.  In the image above, the bull has four legs when you look straight on, but if you move 90 degrees, there are two symmetrical legs under the head.  From the right angle, you can see that there are 5 legs!

This protective bull genie has an extra leg!

The Louvre also has some 5-legged Assyrian human-headed winged bulls.  It just goes to show that you should look carefully at art.

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