About: Benjamin Marcus

I'm a project specialist in the Field Projects Department of the Getty Conservation Institute, a stone conservator, and a stone sculptor.

Posts by Benjamin

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

Ksours and Kasbahs

Detail of a wall painting in the Residence of the Caid, Kasbah Taourit, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Detail of a wall painting in the Residence of the Caid, Kasbah Taourit, Ouarzazate, Morocco

One of Africa’s most important sites of earthen architecture is the focus of an international conservation project. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Voices

Getty Voices: The Stones of Rome

Detail of a stone fountain in Rome, Italy, showing damage caused by weathering
Rome is defined by its beautiful stone buildings, bridges, and sculptures. But stone isn't eternal, even in the Eternal City. Photo: Scott S. Warren

Conservators from around the world have gathered in Rome to learn techniques for preserving stone artworks and monuments. 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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