Monthly Archives: March 2012

Posted in Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute

Treasures from the Vault: The Sky Gets a Chance! Gordon Matta-Clark Works on View at the Research Library

Display case of Gordon Matta-Clark materials at the Getty Research Institute framed against the sky

A new display case about American artist Gordon Matta-Clark just opened at the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. I selected the items in the small case—which is just past the reception desk of the Research Institute lobby—from the archive… More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

From Auction to Gallery: A Major Renaissance Portrait Drawing for the Getty

Portrait of a Young Man, Head and Shoulders, Wearing a Cap / Piero del Pollaiuolo

I find auctions terrifying. Mesmerizing, but terrifying. When a major early Renaissance portrait drawing came up for auction at Sotheby’s in New York a month ago, my stomach was in my mouth. It was the sort of drawing one hardly… More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: An Impish Ape in a Medieval Zoo

Adam Naming the Animals in the Northumberland Bestiary / English

One of my favorite acquisitions of the past five years in the Getty’s manuscript collection is the Northumberland Bestiary (Ms. 100), featured currently in the Gothic Grandeur exhibition. A bestiary is a kind of medieval encyclopedia of animals. In addition… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Bonnacon

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Farting unicorn or the origin of “say it, don’t spray it”? It’s actually a magical animal from the Middle Ages…

      Here’s the full story:

      Porcupines have got nothing on this animal’s self-defense!

      According to the medieval bestiary (a kind of animal encyclopedia), the bonnacon is a creature with curled horn, leaving it defenseless against predators. 

      To compensate, it has the ability to aim and eject excrement like a projectile to distances of over 500 feet. Oh yeah, and the dung is burning hot. Doesn’t the bonnacon in this image look just a tad smug?

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.

      05/03/16

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