The Art Institute of Chicago

Feast on visual delights at the Art Institute of Chicago, a must-visit during a holiday in the Windy City. It is one of the best art museums in the US and is home to 5000 years of history.

Begin by browsing through the Department of American Art. Within are works by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo’s husband and one of the most remembered Mexican artists of all time. Georgia O’Keefe, known for her abstract paintings of flowers, shells, and bones, also has pieces here.

The collection of ancient artefacts includes the Egyptian Mummy Case and Mummy of Paankhenamun, dominated by winged creatures in emerald and gold colours; the bronze Etruscan Hand Mirror, engraved with a winged creature carrying a swooning human; and the Greek Amphora (Storage Jar), decorated with lion and warrior figures.

A showcase of modernist masters such as Salvador Dalí (Venus de Milo with Drawers), Pablo Picasso (Old Guitarist), and Henri Matisse (Bathers by a River), is featured, too. Joan Miró, Paul Gauguin, and Edvard Munch also have pieces here.

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Photography also gets the limelight, with engrossing pictures by Edward Steichen (Midnight Lake George), Joel Meyerowitz (Hartwig House, Truro, Cape Cod), and André Kertész (Chez Mondrian, Paris).

Contemporary works of mixed media can be found here, too, like Bruce Nauman’s Clown Torture, Jackson Pollock’s Greyed Rainbow, and Andy Warhol’s Mao.

The Thorne Miniature Rooms are a treat with its scaled-down models of rooms through the centuries, such as the lavish English Reception Room of the Jacobean Period, 1625-55 with checkerboard floors; the proper German Sitting Room of the "Biedermeier" Period, 1815-50 filled with portraits; and the delicate French Bathroom and Boudoir of the Revolutionary Period, 1793-1804 with a sunken tub in the centre.

The Department of Textiles is worth a visit too, with lace, needlework, and tapestries dating back to 300 B.C., made everywhere from Belgium to Uzbekistan.

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