Behind the Scenes, Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

All Shook Up! Protecting Art in an Earthquake

When you look at sculpture in the Getty Museum’s galleries, you wouldn’t guess that some of the pedestals are somewhat unusual. Under their polished veneer, they’re engineered to protect art from the movements caused by earthquakes.

Many museums in California and other parts of the world, including Italy, Greece, and Japan, are located in areas prone to seismic activity—and their collections have suffered a great deal as a result. The Getty has devised pioneering mechanisms that safely stabilize vulnerable artworks.

Working closely with our conservators, we created this animation demonstrating technology the Museum uses to mitigate earthquake damage to vulnerable objects. How do the earth’s movements during an earthquake affect intrinsically unstable works of art? And what can be done to protect them? Hold onto your seats and watch.

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One Comment

  1. Karol Wight
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    This is a fantastic way to demonstrate how the seismic isolation devices developed at the Getty Museum function.

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      The Perfect Male Form?

      This bronze sculpture is a copy of an ancient Roman marble statue known as the Belvedere Antinous, long considered one of the most beautiful statues to survive from antiquity. Engravings of the statue were used as models in the study of perfect body proportions.

      The bronze was once owned by Louis XIV, who purchased bronze replicas of ancient sculptures to enhance his kingly magnificence.

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      Belvedere Antinous, about 1630, attributed to Pietro Tacca. Bronze. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Plate 11 in Gérard Audran, Proportions of the human body, measured from the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, 1683. The Getty Research Institute

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