Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Audio: Gallery Talk on Turner’s “Modern Rome”

Emily Beeny of the Museum’s paintings department recently gave a gallery talk for eager Getty staff to acquaint us with the Museum’s new painting by J.M.W. Turner, whose arrival and installation we posted about on Friday. We invite you to join in.

Running time: 14:26 | Download (MP3 file, 13.5 MB)

You’ll get further acquainted with what we see in the painting, which juxtaposes the grandeurs of Roman architecture with nibbling goats and lounging goatherds. You’ll also explore three facets of Turner’s genius—his handling of light and chromatic effects; his immense knowledge of (and at times pointed rivalry with) the masters of European painting; and his virtuosity, which he showed off with flair on “varnishing day,” a public spectacle at which he not only varnished his paintings, but actually completed and retouched them before a rapt audience. Emily also tells you why the painting is in such outstanding condition, and why this happy state is relatively rare for Turner canvases. And finally, you’ll learn about some of the other Turners in Los Angeles: In addition to the Getty’s second canvas by Turner, Van Tromp, going about to please his Masters, Ships a Sea, getting a Good Wetting, there are pictures at The Huntington and LACMA, too—and even a couple of drawings in our collection that will be on view in July.

<em>Modern Rome–Campo Vaccino</em>, Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), 1839. Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 48 1/4 in. (unframed), 48 1/4 x 60 3/8 x 4 3/8 in. (framed). The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.6

Modern Rome–Campo Vaccino, Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), 1839. Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 48 1/4 in. (unframed), 48 1/4 x 60 3/8 x 4 3/8 in. (framed). The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.6

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      Flat, clear vessels with broad areas of smooth glass were made in the 1500s to accommodate demand for enabled decoration.

      This is over a foot tall, and was made to hold beer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was also shared on festive occasions, and noted humanist Erasmus gives this advice to his readers in On Good Manners for Boys:

      "Chew your food before you drink and do not raise the cup to your lips without first wiping them with a napkin or cloth, especially if someone offers you his cup when drinking from a common cup."

      Wise man.

      Beaker with the Arms of Puchner (Stangenglas), 1587, Unknown. J. Paul Getty Museum.

      09/30/14

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