Christmas

Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Manuscripts and Books

An Illuminated Christmas

Detail of Christ and Mary from the Nativity in the St. Albans Psalter / Alexis Master
Dombibliothek Hildesheim

A nearly 900-year-old nativity scene, rendered in gold and jewel tones. More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

On the 12 Days of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

A Partridge (detail)/from a bestiary
A Partridge (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 ½ x 5 5/8 in. (19.1 x 14.3 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 38v

Illuminated manuscripts are one of my true loves, and as a treat for the 12 days of Christmas, I’d like to share just a few of the glorious things that my true love gave to me this year. On the… More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Christmas Adventures, from Silver Screen to Gilded Page

Alistair Sim as Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol
Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol. Courtesy of United Artists

I love Christmas movies, from the moment when Natalie Wood is stunned by Santa Claus speaking Dutch in Miracle on 34th Street to Rudolph setting off with Hermey the dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of my other great… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Philanthropy

Christmas at the South Pole: Conserving Sites of Antarctic Exploration

Ernest Shackleton's 1908 Nimrod expedition base, Cape Royds
Ernest Shackleton's 1908 Nimrod expedition base, Cape Royds. © Antarctic Heritage Trust, nzaht.org

“The last view of civilization, the last sight of fields, and trees, and flowers, had come and gone on Christmas Eve, 1901, and as the night fell, the blue outline of friendly New Zealand was lost to us in the… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: A Medieval Holiday Message

A nativity scene in the Abbey Bible / Italian

On the opening page of the Abbey Bible, the first image we encounter is this roundel containing a scene of the Nativity of Christ. According to Christian tradition, late in her pregnancy Mary traveled with Joseph to Bethlehem for a… More»

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Posted in Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Madonna and Child Visit from Hearst Castle

Madonna and Child / school of Duccio di Buoninsegna

Starting tomorrow, a golden Virgin and Child from Duccio di Buoninsegna’s workshop will be adorning the Getty Center paintings galleries (North Pavilion, Gallery 201). Paintings by Duccio are astoundingly rare—there are fewer than 15 in existence, the Maestà in Siena… More»

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit wacko. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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