About: Alice Cisternino

As a gallery teacher at the Getty, I present a range of objects in different mediums and from different times to a diverse audience. Every day, I am reminded by the artworks in the museum and viewers’ responses to them that we are all part of a community, and part of a great expanse of time.

Posts by Alice

Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: Where Is the Line between Private and Public?

The Model Resting / Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Where is the line between private and public? Each situation has a different answer—and sometimes many different possible answers. As an example, take this painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec portrays a woman seen from above and behind as she… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Education

Art and Power

Looking at art in the North Pavilion galleries at the Getty Center

“Focus is power,” said theater director Peter Sellars to a packed crowd at the American Association of Museums annual meeting earlier this year. Artworks can make you recognize things you instinctively knew but weren’t able to articulate. They bring ideas… More»

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      gettypubs:

      COBALT

      The histories of many colors are amazing, but cobalt may well have the most brilliant of them all. From the Ming Dynasty to Renaissance Italy, cobalt was a popular glaze for porcelain and other ceramics. Cobalt ink is invisible unless exposed to flame, which turns it a vivid green. In the 17th century, this quality made Europeans believe it was witchcraft, but decades later it was used as a neat trick on fire screens. It wasn’t until 1802 that painters added cobalt to their palette. 

      It is this little tidbit from cobalt’s history that saved master forger Han van Meergeren’s skin after WWII, when he was tried for collaborating with the Nazis. Want to find out how some art history sleuthing and smart science got him a not guilty verdict? Hint: Don’t try to forge a Vermeer with cobalt! 

      Read all about it in The Brilliant History of Color in Art!

      Images, clockwise:

      Glazed earthenware dish with a marchant ship, Italy, about 1510. 

      Glazed earthenware tile floor, Spain, about 1425-50.

      Porcelain lidded vase, China, about 1662-1772.

      All objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

      12/18/14

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