Behind the Scenes, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

Everything You Wanted to Know about Medieval Arms and Armor

Meet master blacksmith Tony Swatton and learn how arms and armor were made in the Middle Ages at these free, drop-in events

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Tony Swatton has been forging armor, swords, helmets, and shields for 30 years. If you’ve seen an action movie or music video with a cool-looking dagger or suit of gleaming metal—whether Batman or Katy Perry—chances are it came from his Burbank armory.

And now, at free demos inspired by the exhibition Chivalry in the Middle Ages, Tony is turning the Getty Center courtyard into a mini blacksmith’s shop complete with armor, chain mail, and battle helmets. And yes, you get to try them on! There’s no blast forge—you can watch his Man of Arms videos for that—but Tony will show how a blacksmith tames steel the old-fashioned way to make tools of the trade for the working knight (or Hollywood stuntman).

As with all our Artist at Work programs, this is a drop-in, please-touch program with plenty of time for questions. So if you ever wanted to know what it really takes to be a knight in shining armor, drop by and meet Tony.

Here’s the full schedule:

Artist at Work: Arms and Armor
Sundays, 1–3 pm
August 3, 10, 24, and 31
October 19 and 26
November 2

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See more photos from Tony’s demos on Flickr.

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      Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Venus

      Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

      Place of residence: Mount Olympus

      Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

      Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

      Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

      Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

      Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

      Highlights reel:

      • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
      • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
      • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.

      08/03/15

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