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Date Night

6 artworks from 6 artists across 6 galleries
The tour will begin from the Michigan Avenue entrance, if you enter from the Modern Wing, begin your tour in reverse order.

Kindle, or rekindle, those romantic sparks with this tour of amorous artworks.

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  • God Shiva Seated in Loving Embrace with Goddess Uma on the Bull Nandi

    Shiva Maheshvara (the Great Lord) and his divine mate, Uma (also called Parvati), sympolize the ideal Hindu couple. Shiva is most commonly worshipped in abstract linga form, but he also came to represent the perfect family man. Here, he is seated on his bull Nandi, with Uma resting on Shiva's thigh. Their sons, elephant-headed Ganesha and Skanda Karttikeya astride his peacock, appear among the figures at the base.

    "Sometimes you can just tell when a couple really have that thing—a true and deep connection. Shiva and Uma found their connection in their individual inner meditative journeys. Here we see their bond made manifest in the tender way they touch and embrace."

  • Hartwell Memorial Window

    Tiffany Studios (Firm)

    Designed by Agnes F. Northrop for Tiffany Studios, this 25-foot-tall stained glass window features an idealized view of Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire's White Mountains. The window is composed of 48 panels that are each made up of different glass types and combinations. In some sections the glass is layered up to five layers thick to create the unique colored effects.

    "Enjoy a a beautiful sunset together—no matter the time of day! In this sublime scene, warm light catches on the rushing waterfall and dances through the trees—the beauty of nature conveyed through an intricate arrangement of vibrantly colored glass."

  • Cupid Chastised

    Bartolomeo Manfredi

    This dramatic scene by Bartolomeo Manfredi shows Mars, the god of war, beating Cupid for having caused his affair with Venus, the goddess of love. The sheer physicality of the figures as well as the bold illumination from the left further the work's dynamism. The composition is on one level a tale of domestic disturbance but also symbolizes the eternal conflict between love and war.

    "As Shakespeare warned, 'The course of true love never did run smooth.' Here we see the consequences of an illicit love in a spicy moment from Greco-Roman mythology. Though married to Vulcan, Venus has been having an adulterous affair with Mars."

  • Armida Encounters the Sleeping Rinaldo

    Giambattista Tiepolo

    Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s work epitomizes the brilliant exuberance of the Late Baroque style. Internationally renowned, Tiepolo was often commissioned to transform palaces and monasteries in Venice and elsewhere in Italy, as well as in Germany and Spain. This painting and three others at the Art Institute once graced the cabinet of mirrors, a richly decorated room in the Venetian palace of the powerful Cornaro family.

    "This romantic work, the first of a series of four, tells the story of Rinaldo and Armida. Armida, a sorceress, attempts to divert the knight Rinaldo from his duty, setting the stage for the battle between love and obligation. Can you spot Cupid?"

  • Nighthawks

    Edward Hopper

    One of the best-known images of 20th-century art, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks depicts an all-night diner where three customers, all lost in their own thoughts, have congregated. It’s unclear how or why the anonymous and uncommunicative night owls are there. While Hopper mostly avoided commenting on his intent for the work, he did share, “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”

    "This is a can't-miss for any visit but an especially good one to show off to your date. See if you both can figure out the relationships among the sitters. Their interaction is limited, and there's a sense of hidden stories and danger as in a film noir."

  • Fragment of a Portrait Head of Antinous

    Ancient Roman

    This portrait depicts Antinous (about 111–130), the young lover of Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117–38). His characteristic facial features include an oval face, smooth complexion, almond-shaped eyes, and full lips, as well as his distinctive hairstyle of thick, wavy locks radiating from the crown of his head. This sculpture is a fragment from a larger whole, and for many years it was unclear what form the original, intact work had taken. Recent scholarship indicates that it once belonged to an over-life-size bust of Antinous currently in the Palazzo Altemps in Rome.

    "After Antinous drowned in the Nile River under mysterious circumstances, the heartbroken and grief-struck Hadrian not only commissioned numerous statues of his lover and founded a city in his name, but he also created a cult in his honor!"


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