antiquities conservation

Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Forensic Techniques Illuminate a New Acquisition

Oil jar (lekythos) with a funerary scene, attributed to the Achilles Painter, Greek, made in Athens, about 435–430 B.C. Terracotta, 17 3/4 in high x 5 5/16 in. diam. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.14

The recently acquired white-ground lekythos on display in Women and Children in Antiquity (Gallery 207) at the Getty Villa is a handsome addition to the Museum’s antiquities collection. With its narrow neck and cylindrical body, this popular type of vase… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Agrigento Youth Returns to Italy on a Pedestal—A Very High-Tech One

The Agrigento Youth being fitted onto its new pedestals by conservators and mount makers at the Getty Villa

Centuries ago, a marble sculpture known as the Agrigento Youth took a violent fall, losing his nose and parts of his arms and legs. The cause? Likely an earthquake. The statue, loaned to us by the Museo Archeologico Regionale in… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Apollo’s Drapery: An Unfolding Puzzle

Antiquities conservator Erik Risser working on the Apollo’s drapery in the Conservation Studio at the Getty Villa

A new exhibition opening at the Getty Villa, Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze, marks the completion of an 18-month conservation project that developed in collaboration with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. The exhibition presents the different aspects… More»

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      gettypubs:

      COBALT

      The histories of many colors are amazing, but cobalt may well have the most brilliant of them all. From the Ming Dynasty to Renaissance Italy, cobalt was a popular glaze for porcelain and other ceramics. Cobalt ink is invisible unless exposed to flame, which turns it a vivid green. In the 17th century, this quality made Europeans believe it was witchcraft, but decades later it was used as a neat trick on fire screens. It wasn’t until 1802 that painters added cobalt to their palette. 

      It is this little tidbit from cobalt’s history that saved master forger Han van Meergeren’s skin after WWII, when he was tried for collaborating with the Nazis. Want to find out how some art history sleuthing and smart science got him a not guilty verdict? Hint: Don’t try to forge a Vermeer with cobalt! 

      Read all about it in The Brilliant History of Color in Art!

      Images, clockwise:

      Glazed earthenware dish with a marchant ship, Italy, about 1510. 

      Glazed earthenware tile floor, Spain, about 1425-50.

      Porcelain lidded vase, China, about 1662-1772.

      All objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

      12/18/14

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