About: Saskia Wilson-Brown

I'm an artist, film producer, and founder of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, which is devoted to creative experimentation with a focus on scent. I recently led a free public perfumery workshop, Scents of Byzantium, at the Getty Villa.

Posts by Saskia

Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Froth and Folly: Nobility and Perfumery at the Court of Versailles

Potpourri holder once owned by Madame de Pompadour
Detail of a potpourri holder once owned by Madame de Pompadour. One of a pair of vases (pots-pourris fontaine or pots-pourri à dauphins), about 1760, made at the Sèvres Manufactory with painted decoration attributed to Charles-Nicolas Dodin. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 78.DE.358

How did Louis XIV’s court smell? More»

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Posted in Education, Getty Villa

What Did the Byzantine Empire Smell Like?

Bottles of aromatics at a recent Getty Villa workshop
Byzantium in a bottle (or two)

Visit medieval Constantinople through perfume you can make yourself. More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Don’t Be So Crabby

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Jaws reference or some rather nasty surf and turf? It’s actually a depiction of the astrological symbol for Cancer.

      Here’s the full story:

      This peasant might be tired from working in the hot sun, but this is no time to go for a swim to cool off! 

      We all know there’s a risk of encountering creepy crawlers when out gardening, but that giant sinister lobster lurking in the water is actually a crab – the astrological symbol for Cancer. 

      Medieval prayer books often include a yearly calendar at the beginning of the text listing important feast days. Each month is usually accompanied by illuminations of seasonal activities and zodiacal signs, such as this one for the month of June.

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.


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