About: Peter Bonfitto

I'm co-curator of the exhibition Connecting Seas: A Visual History of Discoveries and Encounters at the Getty Research Institute.

Posts by Peter

Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, Voices

Getty Voices: Aztec Idols, Explorers, and Egyptomania

Bust of an Aztec Priestess / Jean Massard the Elder
Bust of an Aztec Priestess, Jean Massard the Elder. Lithograph in Alexander von Humboldt, Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique (Paris, 1813), plate 1. The Getty Research Institute, 85-B1535

How did one of the 19th century’s greatest scholars misidentify an Aztec sculpture as Egyptian? Simple: Egyptomania. More»

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      ROSE

      This milky pink boomed into popularity because of a marketing ploy, a mistress, and its ambiguous origins.

      In an effort to compete with the renowned Meissen porcelain factory, the French Sèvres manufactory recruited the glamorous Madame de Pompadour (mistress to King Louis XV). Like a smart sponsorship deal, Sèvres gave her all the porcelain she requested. 

      Introduced in 1757, this rich pink exploded on the scene thanks to favoritism by Madame Pompadour herself. 

      The glaze itself had a weird history. To the Europeans it looked Chinese, and to the Chinese it was European. It was made based on a secret 17th-century glassmaker’s technique, involving mixing glass with flecks of gold.

      For more on colors and their often surprising histories, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.

      12/19/14

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