About: Cynthia Colburn

I’m president of the Los Angeles Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, associate professor of art history at Pepperdine University, and a visiting scholar in the Getty Research Institute's Scholars Program.

Posts by Cynthia

Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

“The Last Days of Pompeii” and the Archaeology of Imagination

The Forum at Pompeii with Vesuvius in the Distance / Christen Schjellerup Kobke

Having traveled to countless archaeological excavations—and heard, overheard, or given tours at archaeological sites from diverse cultures—I am often struck by what narratives about the ancient world grab people’s imagination. Whether it be hair-raising mythological stories brought to life by… More»

Tagged , , , , 1 Response
Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Ancient Art in Context: Celebrate National Archaeology Day at the Getty Villa with Us

Outer Peristyle with columns and pomegranate tree at the Getty Villa

This Saturday, October 22, the Getty Museum is teaming up with the Archaeological Institute of America to celebrate National Archaeology Day. The Villa, with its Roman-inspired architecture and gardens and collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, is a great… More»

Tagged , , , , , , , Leave a comment
  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Tumblr

    • photo from Tumblr

      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

  • Flickr