The Art Institute Lions

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Avenue

The two Lions that stand guard at the entryway into the Art Institute of Chicago are among the city’s most beloved sculptures.  Designed and created by Edward Kemeys, the bronze Lions actually have unofficial names: “on the prowl” and “in an attitude of defiance.”  The Chicago Tribune reported Kemeys as saying “the south lion is “attracted by something in the distance which he is closely watching,” and the north lion “has his back up, and is ready for a roar and a spring.”

…on the prowl


…in an attitude of defiance

It has become more tradition in recent years that each time a Chicago sports team competes in a championship of their respective league (Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs), the lions wear a piece of
the team’s uniform to join the city in celebrating its heroes .  In winter, they wear a wreath around their necks to join the festive spirit of the holidays.


…go Bears!



… go Hawks!


The current Art Institute of Chicago building is the institute’s third and was completed in time for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition.  In 2009, a modern expansion wing was added to the museum, which was designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano (Center Pompidou in Paris). On the third floor is a beautiful pedestrian overpass across Monroe Street connecting the Art Institute to Grant Park.


Bridge to Grant Park

Bridge to Grant Park










2 thoughts on “The Art Institute Lions

  1. Michelle Lockhart

    Hi Larry!
    Michelle fron Dr. O’Meara’s office here. What amazing photos!! We really enjoyed the journey back in time. It’s making me look forward to my visit to the Chicago History Museum even more!

    Happy Holidays to you!

    1. LHearn Post author

      Thank you so much Michelle! I am glad you enjoyed the photos and the look back in time. Keep watching, more to come.


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