About: Raina Chao, Rachel Rivenc, and Julie Wolfe

Raina Chao I'm a graduate intern in the Department of Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rachel Rivenc I'm an assistant scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, with the Modern and Contemporary Art group. I am researching the synthetic materials used in contemporary art and their identification, deterioration, and conservation. Julie Wolfe I'm an associate conservator in the Department of Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. I have worked at the Getty for twelve years, and love working on exhibitions: every time, there is the challenge to learn something new. I trained at Buffalo State College in art conservation with advanced training at Harvard University Art Museums.

Posts by Raina Chao, Rachel Rivenc, and

Posted in Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Looking Under Judy Chicago’s Car Hood

The back (wall) side of Judy Chicago's Car Hood
Photo: Raina Chao

This is the second in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. In 1964 Judy Chicago created this wall-mounted sculpture, Car Hood, from a steel car hood and traditional automotive paint. The work was on loan… More»

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      A Brief History of the Fleur-de-lis in Art

      The fleur-de-lis, a familiar symbol with varied meanings and a rather obscure origin.

      If you read the labels of objects in museums bearing the fleur-de-lis (in French, fleur de lys, pronounced with the final “s”), you might notice that they were all made in France before the French Revolution of 1789. 

      What’s less apparent is that the fleur-de-lis marks objects that bear witness to a dramatic history of monarchy, democracy, and war: they speak to the inherent power of trappings commissioned for and by France’s pre-revolutionary kings.

      Adopted as a royal emblem in France by the 1100s, the fleur-de-lis can be traced to early Frankish monarchs including Clovis I, who converted to Christianity in 496, and the renowned Charlemagne. 

      A French word, fleur-de-lis translates literally to “lily flower.” This is appropriate given the association of lilies with purity (and the Virgin Mary) and given that France has long been known as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In truth, the stylized flower most closely resembles a yellow iris. 

      As a heraldic symbol used in the arms of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis often appears in yellow or gold tones and set on a blue shield. 

      Given its intimate royal associations, the fleur-de-lis invoked the ire of revolutionaries even before the fall of the monarchy in 1792. In addition to toppling royal statues, vandals chipped away at crowns and fleurs-de-lis adorning the façades of buildings.

      Full blog post on the Getty Iris here.

      04/28/16

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