Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 11: Caveat Sculptor


Emmanuel Fremiet, Pelican, 1896.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, minds open, heads tilted, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

All around the galleries are sculptures filling the wide gaps of floor between the walls. Some were easy to overlook as we found ourselves transfixed on the two-dimensional classics hanging from the perimeters, but we braked here and there for a few three-dimensional delights — some from famous names; some from anonymous, untraceable antiquity. And yes, there were nudes.

Young Satyr!

Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, 1st century AD, restored 1628.

Satyr Holding a Wineskin!

Satyr Holding a Wineskin, 1st century AD, restored circa 18th century.

Young Dionysos!

Young Dionysos, 100 BC – 100 AD. I hate just going with wide date ranges, but sometimes that’s the best art historians can do.


Pan, 1st century AD with 17th-century restorations. It’s interesting to know art restoration wasn’t a 20th-century invention.

head of Hercules!

Head of Hercules, 1st century AD. Note the Nemean Lion headgear.


Leda, 1st or 2nd century AD, a different take from Brancusi’s rendition.

Our last three photos come from the world of France’s own Auguste Rodin. You might remember him from such works as The Thinker, one of the most parodied sculptures of all time. Philadelphia has a museum dedicated to him that we keep missing and should really check out if and when we return there someday. Till then, Chicago’s assortment will have to tide us over.

Jean d'Aire!

A Burgher of Calais (Jean d’Aire), either 1887 or 1889 (the placard and their website differ). Depicting a specific moment in the Hundred Years War, this was the first Rodin to be acquired by an American museum.


Adam, cast in 1924 from the 1881 original. Based in part on Michelangelo’s version of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but with tweaks inspired by other works about the First Man.

Eternal Springtime!

Eternal Springtime, 1884, cast ca. 1910-1929., give or take a bunch of years Though Rodin’s works were frequently criticized while he was still alive, the Musée Rodin’s website confirms this sensual salute to passionate lovemaking was “very successful” and has been cast numerous times. Because fans love it when artists play their favorite hits.

One more chapter to come! Other chapters in this very special MCC maxiseries:

Gallery 1: The Grounds Alone
Gallery 2: The Old Modern Americans
Gallery 3: Georgia on Her Mind
Gallery 4: Two Americans Abroad
Gallery 5: Ye Olde Tyme America
Gallery 6: Very Contemporary
Gallery 7: Monet Growing on Trees
Gallery 8: Posting Post-Impressionist Impressions
Gallery 9: Picasso and the Surreal
Gallery 10: The Last of the Famous International
Gallery 12: An Omnibus of Outtakes

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