A Night with the Chicago Sages

By Carolyn Bioarsky, CW’63

The Penn Club of Chicago Sages became immersed in Indian religious culture and paintings on Thursday evening, December 10 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We had an SRO (Standing Room Only) group attend an Art 140-style lecture by Penn’s W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asia Studies Michael Meister. Meister, who is in Penn’s Department of History of Art and the Director of Penn’s South Asia Center, provided an introduction to Indian Temple Art to prepare us for a tour of the newest exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art on Krishna Indian paintings. Penn continues its reputation for its wonderful art historians.

At the conclusion of the lecture we ambled across the street to The Chicago Art Institute where Madhuvanti Ghose, the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan and Islamic Art, provided a tour of the new exhibit for us. It was a large and fascinating exhibit and Madhu was more than willing to answer questions about the Indian Hindu Sect whose paintings were on exhibit. We all learned a great deal about the young blue god Krishna who played with the gopis, stole buttermilk and raised a mountain in his hand.

Afterward 24 of us went over to the restaurant across the street where we shared impressions of the exhibit and questioned Michael and Madhu further about Krishna and the Nathwarda sect whose paintings we viewed. The food, wine and service was excellent which was to be expected as this is the restaurant owned by Alpana Singh, the former host of Chicago’s “Check Please” television series and a well known Sommelier. It was an informative evening enjoyed by all.

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