Chicago Art Institute lions wear facemasks as a symbol, inspiration

The pandemic has left everyone wearing protective covering against the virus. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide order on wearing masks in public places. This led to covering several icons of Chicago, which included The Chicago Art Institutes’ lion and the Daley center Picasso statue. The art institute’s executive director said that the Mayor’s office approached them in the way hoping that these make might inspire people to wear facemasks themselves.

She also added that this might help people to donate masks and spread awareness regarding unity in these hard times. This is the first time that these lions are dressing up without a holiday or championship victory. It is said that starting from Friday, people are required to wear protective coverings in public places to curve the spread of the virus.

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The Chicago Art Institute

Founded in 1879, the Chicago Art Institute is one of the largest and the oldest art institutes in the United States. With renowned status, the institute has more than 300,000 artworks to feature with different exhibitions. Some of the important artworks include Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. The current building was constructed in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition of the same year. After going through a phase of initial dark days the institution rose to prominence, it stands now as a pioneer in conserving art and architecture.

Located in Michigan Avenue, the western entrance is guarded by two big bronze statues of a lion. Created in 1894 by sculptor Edward Kemeys, the statues include unofficial names by the sculptor and weigh about 2 tons. Usually, these lions will be dressed up Eve like Christmas or when Chicago’s team plays championship of any league. This was the first occasion where the lions were dressed up before the holidays. This will definitely in a way spread a strong message to people on emphasizing the importance of the pandemic.

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Sources: NBC Chicago, Visual-Arts-Cork, ArtIC

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