Art, Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

See the Decorative Arts from a New Angle

Do artworks have an inner life? You might think so when you visit a new exhibition opening today at the Getty Center. The Life of Art: Context, Collecting, and Display presents the life stories of four objects made to serve beauty and function, offering you the chance to examine them closely to understand how they were made, how they’ve been used, and what’s happened to them over time.

Today this silver fountain is a museum object, but 300 years ago it did dirty work washing used tableware. Mounted on a plexiglass panel to reveal its back, a gilt-bronze wall light reveals clues about its past: breaks and repairs, its time in the rooms of a certain French queen, and what it must have been like to put its 14 pieces together (take stem A, now insert panel B…no wait…).

Interactive features on iPads in the galleries, as well as online and in a free iPad app, offer a touchable tour with more secrets about each object, encouraging you to explore in greater depth.

The four pieces are presented under dramatic lighting and at unexpected angles (see the photos above, taken from a motorized lift by one of our intrepid preparators)—very different from the more traditional display in the galleries. They’re also placed at a much lower height than usual, so you can pull up a chair and—is chat the right word? I think it is.

Tagged , , , , Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Tumblr

    • photo from Tumblr

      A Brief History of the Fleur-de-lis in Art

      The fleur-de-lis, a familiar symbol with varied meanings and a rather obscure origin.

      If you read the labels of objects in museums bearing the fleur-de-lis (in French, fleur de lys, pronounced with the final “s”), you might notice that they were all made in France before the French Revolution of 1789. 

      What’s less apparent is that the fleur-de-lis marks objects that bear witness to a dramatic history of monarchy, democracy, and war: they speak to the inherent power of trappings commissioned for and by France’s pre-revolutionary kings.

      Adopted as a royal emblem in France by the 1100s, the fleur-de-lis can be traced to early Frankish monarchs including Clovis I, who converted to Christianity in 496, and the renowned Charlemagne. 

      A French word, fleur-de-lis translates literally to “lily flower.” This is appropriate given the association of lilies with purity (and the Virgin Mary) and given that France has long been known as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In truth, the stylized flower most closely resembles a yellow iris. 

      As a heraldic symbol used in the arms of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis often appears in yellow or gold tones and set on a blue shield. 

      Given its intimate royal associations, the fleur-de-lis invoked the ire of revolutionaries even before the fall of the monarchy in 1792. In addition to toppling royal statues, vandals chipped away at crowns and fleurs-de-lis adorning the façades of buildings.

      Full blog post on the Getty Iris here.

      04/28/16

  • Flickr