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Art Institute of Chicago 

Photo Credit: Art Institute of Chicago
Photo Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

They can spend millions on a canvas, but they can’t keep the urinals fixed; why is that?

The food in the café is good and has a nice setting, although they miss the basics, like where the heck is the salt shaker?

There are more iconic art works here, step for step, than any museum I have ever been in. Edward Hopper’s nighthawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Georgia O’keeffe’s Cow’s Skull, many pieces by Chagall, including 3 of his large stained glass windows, Caillebotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

But what really makes it amazing are all the works that aren’t famous, but maybe should be, especially in the Asian collections and the European decorative arts; a drinking cup, a door, a cabinet, a trunk, a gaming case, these can all be things of almost mind boggling beauty and intricate design. Also, the collection of religious art, especially a piece done in tempera or oil on panels, are stunning. Much of it is from the Netherlands circa 1450’s. Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole museum is the absolutely stunning; St. George Killing the Dragon by Bernat Martorell. Just amazing, and almost 3 dimensional due to some unusual painting techniques. There are many versions of the Adoration of the Magi, but the one here by Raffaello Botticini is one of the most amazing; how many animals can you find in this picture? This is real surrealism; the Battle of Zama is another amazing, though small, painting in this section. Hieronymus Bosch has nothing on A Witches’ Sabbath by Cornelis Saftleven.

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