For more than one hundred fifty years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and students. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked quantity two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class assets, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art services. Throughout his lengthy life, Charles Willson Peale continually strove to improve the civic and artistic life both of his adopted city and the young republic. Besides founding two art academies – including the Pennsylvania Academy – and the nation’s first museum, he was the patriarch of an inventive dynasty that carried out his beliefs. Peale thus disseminated tradition each inside the household sphere and in the wider world.
Nowhere is that this more apparent than within the remarkable self-portrait he executed at the age of eighty-one. With more than a touch of the showman, Peale literally raises the curtain to reveal the wonders of his collection, then positioned within the lengthy gallery of Independence Hall.