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Nestled among the expansive greenery and throng of acclaimed architectures found in Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, the second biggest museum in the United States next only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to one of the most extensive and comprehensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art works as well as other forms of art.

The current building of the Art Institute of Chicago is the institute?s third and was completed in 1893 in time with the World Columbian Exhibition. The grand Beaux-Art building was designed by experts from a Boston architectural firm and has become one of the most photographed fa?ade in the windy city. Perhaps, other than the priceless art treasures, the Art Institute of Chicago is famous for the two bronze lion statues that are seemingly guiding the building?s entrance. Designed and created by Edward Kemeys, these bronze statues actually have unofficial names: the south lion is dubbed as ?stands in an attitude of defiance? while the north lion is described as ?on the prowl.? Interestingly, every time a Chicago sports team competes in the championships of their respective league such as the NBA or the Super Bowl, the lions are dressed in the team?s uniform. They are also made to wear evergreen wreaths on their necks during Yuletide.

The Art Institute of Chicago will definitely stir the interest of different art enthusiasts and one will need to set aside several hours to view all the art pieces housed here. For those who like Impressionist and Post-Impressionist arts, the Art Institute of Chicago will not disappoint including important works from revered and legendary artist Claude Monet. There is also a section dedicated to contemporary American and European art including the works of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.

For those who are not into impressionist art, they can go to the other collections found in the museum which features a wide range of masterpieces from ornate decorative items, to photography, to paintings, drawings, sculptures and artifacts hailing from across Asia. There is also an interactive segment within the museum that is especially made for kids called the Kraft Education Center which is rare for museums of the same caliber as the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago was expanded in 2009 with the construction of a massive new wing measuring 25,460 square meters meant to hold modern European art.
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