About: David Bomford

I'm acting director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Before coming to the Getty as associate director for collections in 2007, I was senior restorer of paintings at the National Gallery in London.

Posts by David

Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum, J. Paul Getty Trust

A Landmark Antiquities Agreement with Greece

Pavlos Yeroulanos, James Cuno, and David Bomford at the Getty Villa

This week, several of my colleagues and I had the pleasure of welcoming to the Getty Villa the Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Hellenic Republic, Pavlos Yeroulanos. The purpose of his visit was to join our President and… 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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