Friday, February 16, 2007

Culture: Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Chicago Art Institute for a member's only sneak peek at a new exhibit: Cezanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. I have a friend who is a member and he invited me along since members are allowed to bring a guest. We took the day off work, caught a mid-morning train and began our adventure. Around noon, we had the opportunity to take in a lecture about the exhibit before walking through the exhibit for a few hours. After a good meal at the museum cafe, we enjoyed free coffee and great seating in the member's lounge.

Then it was off to see more of the museum. Impressionism, American, Arms & Armor, some European, and some Asian. All in all, we reckon we got a good look at nearly 3/4 of the museum in the 8.5 hours that we were there. I never thought I could be at any museum for that length of time and I was ready to leave about an hour before we actually left but all in all, I had a great time. Before catching the 10:40pm train, we grabbed dinner at Miller's Pub at Wabash & Adams which has really tasty burgers.

Throughout the museum, I found myself wanting to look closer at a number of pieces. I knew there were ropes in front of things and I never thought to cross them. But who knew that even leaning over them could cause an alarm to go off? Not even 10 minutes after Dan warned me about this, I found myself leaning in to look closer at the detail on a huge lock and by golly, I set off the alarm. Thankfully, the guard was good-natured and had seen that I wasn't going to touch anything. I was slightly embarrassed since I'd just been warned. But we had a good laugh about it.

My three favorite paintings for the day were these:
1. Starry Night, by Van Gogh
2. Old Guitarist, by Picasso
3. Water Lilies, by Monet

Of course there were many others that I really liked but if I have to narrow it down to my top three, those are it. Starry Night is a painting that I've loved since early college when one of my roommates hung a poster of it in our dorm room. I'd never seen it in person and it's absolutely stunning. I think I just stared at it for about 10 minutes. You can buy prints of it at the museum for only $290! Okay, so that's a lot of money to me, but it seems relatively cheap to have a large print of a beautiful piece of art in your house.

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