Sunday, December 19, 2010
Chicago Photo 9 - Christmas Time!
Another in the line of Chicago icons. The lions that stand guard outside of the Art Institute of Chicago. The photo is from a couple of weekends ago when the first snow of the year rolled through the city. It wasn't too bad, just 3 or 4 inches.
I forgot how quiet the world gets when it snows. Everything seemed muffled and peaceful as I wandered down the street to the CTA station. Even downtown, the normal bustle of the city was subdued. It was quite peaceful. And I didn't bust my ass on the ice, so that was a bonus.
Back to the lions. Made out of bronze, they've been guarding the entrance to the Art Institute for over 100 years, since the building opened in 1893. As you can see in the photo the care takers occasionally decorate them. In the past they've also sported the Bears and Blackhawks helmets.
Nameless, the Lions are referred to as the "North Lion" and the "South Lion". The sculpter, Edward Kemeys, has stated that the lions are protecting the building and the South Lion has spotted something in the distance and is eyeing it carefully. See even back then people where worried about the South Side.
Traditionally, the wreaths around the necks of the lions are made of evergreen and holly. This year they are made of tiny little red balls that are solar powered allowing them to glow during the evening hours.