If you visit the Art Institute of Chicago, you might encounter students painting on easels set up in the galleries. With special permission, artists have always been allowed to hone their technique by emulating the work of the great masters. It’s a time-honored way of learning and is undertaken as a rare privilege.

As construction of the Art Institute’s new modern wing was wrapping up in 2009, the museum’s department of design and construction commissioned these full-sized maquettes of three sculptures by Constantin Brancusi. In order to execute them, Chris was given special access to measure and document the original works in storage. The modern curators with architect Renzo Piano used these lightweight models to arrange the grouping pictured below. They (the real Brancusis) remain on permanent view in gallery 395, the central room of the Art Institute’s Modern European section.