The English courtier who once wore this armor, produced at the royal armory in Greenwich, must have been very conscious of his appearance, whether in battle or at a sporting event. For this reason, he would surely approve of his armor’s new home in Gallery 236, in which selected highlights from the museum’s beloved collection of arms and armor will again be on view starting November 1. In addition to over 30 wonderful works of armor (such as the Greenwich half suit), this installation will feature paintings, sculpture, tapestries, and—for the first time in the museums’s history—a knight mounted on a horse.
Putting together a display of such diverse material is truly a team effort, with a great deal of behind-the-scenes work on the part of many people at the museum: carpenters, conservators, curators, editors, graphic designers, installation crew, mount-makers, painters, photographers, registrars, security, and others. Here, you can see for yourself some of the labor that has gone into the preparation of this gallery.
Below is a portion of the Greenwich armor pictured above being carefully positioned on its new pedestal. The mount armature that is exposed on both sides will hold the half suit’s sleeves in place.
Some of the most extensive preparation has gone into preparing the mounted knight. The ceiling of the gallery that previously housed the arms and armor collection was too low to accommodate a rider on a horse, so the horse mannequin had been in storage for decades. As a result, the mannequin required conservation work and several coats of paint (below).
Once that work was complete, the mannequin was set on a new pedestal in the gallery space, and the work of securing the saddle and the knight could begin. (This image provides a great sneak peek of the space as it appeared during installation.)
Currently, the armor for the knight is being secured to the horse (below). This extremely complicated task is done in stages, as you can clearly see here.
Come see the fruits of all this labor on November 1, when "The Return of Arms and Armor" opens at the Art Institute.
Image credit: Attributed to Jacob Halder, Portions of Armor for Field and Tilt, 1580/90. The Art Institute of Chicago: George F. Harding Collection.
14 hours 50 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago COMING SOON—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–75
The short-lived Tokyo magazine Provoke is now recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the last 50 years. A major international traveling show, which has Chicago as its only North American venue, this exhibition is the first survey of postwar Japanese art to be organized at the Art Institute and draws heavily on the the museum’s collection—more than 60% of the over 200 items on display belong to the Art Institute.
OPENING JANUARY 28—http://bit.ly/2jMlnUx
18 hours 2 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—The Italian–born American artist Josef Stella revisited his native Italy in 1922, where he became fascinated by Renaissance painting. Drawing inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, Stella began to produce decorative, detailed, symbolic compositions, such as A Vision (seen here). Stella was enthralled by the tropical plants he observed at the Bronx Botanical Garden in New York, and he imagined an iconic woman growing out of the earth like the towering flowers on either side of her.
The French–born American artist Gaston Lachaise found his own iconic inspiration for the sculpture, Woman (Elevation), in Isabel Dutaud Nagle, whom he later married, telling her, “I want to create a miracle with it… as great as you.” This sculpture represents Lachaise’s first full-scale expression of the idealized female form that would come to dominate his art. Modernists like Lachaise believed preclassical art possessed a primitive vitality absent from later art forms.
See Josef Stella’s A Vision (1925/26) and Gaston Lachaise’s Woman (Elevation) (1912–15; cast 1927)—on view in Gallery 271.
1 day 14 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.