Behind the Scenes

Sound: Let There Be (Some) Light

The next time you’re in the Getty Center galleries, look up. The large louvers in the ceiling are working throughout the day to keep light-sensitive artwork from direct sunlight.

The goal is to keep the amount of light coming in to around 20 to 25 footcandles. (One footcandle = the amount of light put out by a candle at a one-foot distance.)

These large blinds run on a motor similar to the one that operates the flaps on an aircraft. They shift about three to ten degrees every hour throughout the day.

While glass keeps the sound to a faint muffle in the galleries, you can hear it in all its glory here:

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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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