An Adventure in Art

So this past weekend landed me on an accidental adventure. Well looking about for things to do in the Windy City I came upon The Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit The Medieval World at Our Fingertips: Manuscript Illuminations from the Collection of Sandra Hindman and The Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor.

Well, that right there settled some of the plans for the weekend and after a short walk from our hotel, I was on my way to getting lost in one of the largest art museums I have ever had the privilege of attending.


First off I must say there was far more than I could realistically photograph** and post, the collections are amazing and I am sure I missed things. So with that in mind, I am going to focus on a few pieces that jumped out at me. I would encourage you to take some time and visit yourself or take a virtual tour of highlighted pieces on the website.

This was the first,


Christ healing the Mute and Driving out the Devil
Christ Curing the Blind and Mute
About 1510

As someone who doesn’t have much skill in the illumination department, the frame was what caught my eye.

“The embroidered frames of these two leaves are highly unusual and indicate that they were not bound in a book. While the way they were used is unclear,  five other leaves like these are known. Though the fabric frames look original, tiny needle holes within the painted boarder suggest that a different mounting system preceded them.”

In person, with my nose nearly pressed to it you could, in fact, see the holes, and of course the wonderfully detailed stitch work.

BUT even more, intriguing is that this is there are FIVE others like this. A quick Google didn’t bring anything up so I will have to table my search for another night. (probably when I can think of better keywords…)

Can we say an A&S project?


The second was this lovely collection that was tucked back in the European Decorative Arts exhibit, far out of my time period but lovely examples none the less.




The final Oooo Ahhhh piece was this one,

A wonderful piece depicting a stage play. As a theatre major, it made me very happy to see it!


Of course, there was FAR more art that made me stop and take a second look and by then I had forgotten my camera and set about just soaking it up. Paintings like Nighthawks, Bedroom in Arles by Van Gogh, several Monet and Degas works. A whole exhibit of Japanese Noh masks and portraits from the end of WWII.

All things I had seen in books or in the case of Degas plastered to my sister’s walls as a teen. To be able to stand there and really look at them was nothing short of magical. I will admit my mouth may have been hanging open at points in awe.

I was slightly disappointed the textile exhibit was tucked in the basement and when I did find it part of it was closed as they were placing a new installation. But I guess it will give me an excuse to go back.

After that, I really was lost as every staircase and exhibit hall opened one after another into something new that I would have to investigate and with no landmarks and a slightly confusing map I just let my mind turn in to a happy little mush of art figuring they would toss me outcome close if worst came to worse.

But alas I eventually made a right turn and was back at the front adventure over and ready to head back to the hotel and find some lunch.


** As a note The Art Institute of Chicago allows for non-flash photography.

If you would like a larger version of these photos for research purposes please email me.

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