Studying at a great books college means not only will you get to read some of the greatest works of literature—you will also get to study and enjoy great works of art and music. Students at liberal arts colleges in Chicago receive the added bonus of going to school near The Art Institute of Chicago. This is without a doubt one of the premier art museums in the US and, according to TripAdvisor, the number one museum in the world.
It gets better, though, at least for Shimer students. Your liberal arts college has arranged free admission to the museum as well as the Institute’s Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. This is part of the University Partners Program, an outreach program initiated by the Art Institute.
So just what does this premier art establishment have to offer the Shimer student?
The Art Institute has quite the permanent collection. It is famous for housing American Gothic, the 1930 Grant Wood painting featuring the father with a pitchfork standing next to his daughter, but that’s not all. In fact, the museum houses several well-known great works of art from artists discussed and read about in Shimer’s Humanities I class. These include:
- 17 works by the world-renown Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh including his famous 1887 self-portrait
- Over 500 sculptures, paintings and sketches by the renown Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, including preliminary drawings of what became known as the Chicago Picasso in Daley Plaza
- 33 paintings by French post-impressionist Paul Cézanne including his 1893 work The Basket of Apples
- 233 Rembrandts, and works from Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt van Rijn. It includes his 1631 portrait Old Man with a Gold Chain
One of the key skills a liberal arts student needs to learn to do is hone their ability to articulate their views on works of art. This starts with active listening and viewing. The Art Institute of Chicago has a wide range of exhibits which are varied and rich with cultural history that make it easy for people to actively observe. Some of the current exhibits of interest are:
- Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840: Running until June 7th, this exhibit features over 300 works of decorative art (paintings, sculptures, etc.) created in Ireland before severe economic depression gripped the area. Many of these works of art found their way to North America during the great emigration that followed the famine and were culled from private homes across the US and the Institute’s own collection.
- Shatter Rupture Break: You don’t have that much time to catch this exhibit, as it is only running until the third of May. It is the first in the Institute’s Modern Series, focusing on artistic expressions following the first world war that deal with the idea of things, society and people breaking into pieces.
Are you planning on visiting the Art Institute of Chicago? Which exhibits will you visit?