A Case for Wine: From King Tut to Today

Exhibition

Share

Highlighting the museum and Chicago’s special wine connections, the exhibition begins with one of the Art Institute’s most famous vessels, the Chicago Painter’s Vase, a Greek stamnos or wine jar that was purchased for the museum in 1889 during one of its very first European buying expeditions. The Bacchanalian revelry painted on the exquisite vessel is also explored in other works, from Italian Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna to Prohibition–protesting sculptor Paul Manship.
After boisterous scenes of Bacchus, the exhibition moves on to an examination of wine vessels both secular and religious. A comprehensive collection of 17th- and 18th-century English seal bottles trace the wine bottle’s form from its more bulbous beginnings to its present-day svelte cylindrical shape, while a selection of chalices (many lent by Loyola University Museum of Art) dating from 14th-century Siena to mid-20th-century Chicago document the evolution of that form in both Catholic and Protestant worship.
The intoxicating exhibition offers several more exceptional highlights. The museum’s outstanding collection of 16th- to 19th-century European wine glasses is displayed alongside paintings by Pieter Claesz, Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, and Henri Fantin-Latour that incorporate remarkably similar wine glasses. A gallery saluting wine-related works of the World’s Fairs offers a recent acquisition, Victorian architect William Burges’s sideboard whose polychromatic surface tells the apocryphal story of “Saint Bacchus” who dies by drowning in a barrel of wine. Works by Impressionists, Cubists, and Surrealists offer insight into the wine-infused atmosphere of café life. And in the final gallery, the work of modern and contemporary artists is featured including German painter Brigitte Riesebrodt’s The Last Supper. Composed of recycled wooden wine barrel staves found near her studio in Tuscany, the work, thanks to the still saturated wood, suffuses the air with the subtle scent of wine, offering wine enthusiasts a chance to put their well-trained noses to work.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share