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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      Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Venus

      Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

      Place of residence: Mount Olympus

      Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

      Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

      Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

      Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

      Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

      Highlights reel:

      • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
      • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
      • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.

      08/03/15

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