Today we're downtown, at the Art Institute of Chicago. The institute is one of the world's leading art museums, housing a collection that spans centuries and the globe. Take a close look at the paintings below, we'll be searching for them soon.
First, Juan Sánchez Cotán's Still Life with Game Fowl. Point and click to explore the museum and find the painting.
Still Life with Game Fowl (1600/03) by Juan Sánchez Cotán (Spanish, 1560–1627)The Art Institute of Chicago
Still Life with Game Fowl, 1600
Juan Sánchez Cotán was Spanish Baroque painter from the mid 1500-1600s. He popularised realistic depictions and still lifes known as bodegones.
In the 1500s, suspending food in thick stone containers was actually a method of preservation. But Cotán's paintings transform this practical solution into intellectual meditations on the fragility of life.
At any moment this knot might slip!
Gustave Caillbotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day
Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894)The Art Institute of Chicago
Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
Gustave Caillebotte was very interested in the new technology of photography. There are many details in this painting that suggest he was trying to imitate the look of a photograph.
While the foreground is 'in focus', the background disappears into a blur.
And these legs appearing from underneath an umbrella make it look less like a artist's painting and more like a tourist's snapshot.
Can you find Grant Wood's gothic farmers?
American Gothic (1930) by Grant Wood (American, 1891-1942)The Art Institute of Chicago
American Gothic, 1930
Grant Wood's painting of a farmer and his daughter (actually Wood's dentist and sister) stood in front of their wooden house has become an iconic image of Americana, even if it is a little… creepy.
The piercing gaze of the man is matched by the sharp points of his pitchfork.
We better move on…
You might know this one from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884-1886) by Georges SeuratThe Art Institute of Chicago
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86
This painting is Georges Seurat's masterpiece and the best example of his Pointillist technique. The picture shows a popular park on the banks of the Seine, Paris.
Pointillism was developed by Seurat along with Paul Signac. Instead of painting with brushstrokes, they painted small individual dots of colour. The viewer's eyes then blend these together.
At this distance you can see the dotted texture of the canvas and the tiny patches of paint. The effect is similar to pixels on a computer screen.