'Madonna and Child' by Sandro Botticelli
Madonna and Child, Sandro Botticelli, from Life, Love & Marriage in Renaissance Italy Photo: Courtesy of Chazen Museum of Art/Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy


Overlooked in the hoopla surrounding the $15 million restoration of the Governor’s Mansion has been the addition of a top-tier gallery. On exhibit through the end of the year: Art of Illinois, featuring more than 100 examples of the state’s best pieces, including a masterwork by Chicago’s Manierre Dawson, regarded as America’s first abstract painter. illinoismansion.org

Madison, Wisconsin

Life, Love & Marriage in Renaissance Italy at the Chazen Museum of Art boasts a collection of opulently painted Italian wedding chests from the 14th through 16th centuries. And you thought today’s wedding industry was extravagant. chazen.wisc.edu


Chicago fashion designer Benjamin B. Green-Field (1898–1988) was called a “creative genius” for his fantastical hats, which incorporated props like plastic fruit and fake cigarettes. More sculpture than headwear, the haberdashery on display in Bes-Ben: The Mad Hatter of Chicago at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was custom-made for both socialites and celebrities (Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland). discovernewfields.org