An Il-LUMA-nating Experience


Really, an Il-LUMA-nating experience? Just stop.

I’m sure the post title has been used to death but to be perfectly honest, my recent trip to LUMA — the Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago — was an illuminating experience! The museum is currently celebrating their fifth anniversary but I’m mostly familiar with them thanks to their active twitter account (@LUMAChicago).

Their location is both beautiful and ideal — they are quite literally across the street from Chicago’s famous Water Tower (you know, the most prominent and only public building to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871), which is a mecca for tourists and shoppers (and shopping tourists.) As I entered the gallery, I had no idea what to expect; to be honest,  I figured it would be a small gallery that highlighted student and faculty work.

And boy was I wrong!

In addition to their permanent gallery, which I will mention in a sec, I wanted to mention that I was able to see the St. John’s Bible project for a second time — I first saw it at the Science Center of Minnesota while visiting their (amazing) Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. The Bible project set out to create a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. (See? It was an illuminating experience.) The result is a beautiful work of art that is amazing to see no matter your personal beliefs. (Ironically, a year or so ago the Bible was on display about two miles from my home in Des Moines …and I missed  it.)

I definitely want to also mention favorite part of my LUMA visit – the Martin D’Arcy Collection of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art. As their website describes it:

The D’Arcy is one of the finest collections of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art in the Midwest. It is particularly noted for its diverse holdings of three-dimensional objects that epitomize both the religious and secular aspects of European life. Devotional ivories, painted sculptures, and enameled liturgical objects feature among its medieval highlights; in covering the Renaissance, the D’Arcy is especially strong in objects commissioned to celebrate familial events such as marriage and childbirth. Among its Baroque pieces are Christ Among the Doctors by Matthias Stomer, a Dutch-born follower of Caravaggio, and intricate pieces of metalwork and woodwork, such as a collector’s chest by Wenzel Jamnitzer, the leading German goldsmith of this period, and The Flagellation by Alessandro Algardi.

I had no idea my short trip would be filled with such beautiful–and old–treasures. Click on the link above to view some highlights from the collection. Also, speaking of my short visit — I am definitely going to need to stop back soon and spend more time in the galleries!

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