About: Francesca Albrezzi

I’m the research assistant to Murtha Baca, head of Digital Art History at the Getty Research Institute. Within the Digital Mellini project, I’ve served as a project manager, data integrator, and art historical researcher. I’m continuing to collaborate and assist in the production of the Scholars’ Workspace and its individual projects. As a PhD student in the department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, my work involves looking at technology as it shapes culture today, particularly in the discipline and practice of art history, through the lens of Culture and Performance Studies, as well as through other various theoretical frameworks.

Posts by Francesca

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Manuscripts and Books, Research, Voices

Creating “Getty Scholars’ Workspace”: Lessons from the Digital Humanities Trenches

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Getty Scholars’ Workspace, an online collaborative working environment, is taking shape at the Getty Research Institute. Lessons from the pilot project. 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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