coats of arms

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

A Call to Arms! Heraldry in Renaissance Florence (And a Mystery You Can Help Solve)

virgin_child
The Virgin and Child Surrounded by Saints, between 1350 and 1365, Follower of Bernardo Daddi (possibly Pietro Nelli). Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 37 ½ x 26 in. (95.3 x 66 cm). Portland Art Museum, 61.51

Heraldry is a fascinating and complex system by which coats of arms are devised and decoded.  My familial arms—yes, my family has a coat of arms, and yours may have too—are composed of an intricate grouping of objects, including a… More»

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Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Masterpiece of the Week: A Silver Treasure Spared the King’s Meltdown

Silver fountain / Jean Leroy

This silver fountain, featured in the exhibition The Life of Art and our current Masterpiece of the Week tours, is a survivor of one of history’s greatest meltdowns. Created in France in the 1660s, it was brought to England by… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Warnings to the Rich & Powerful

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      It would be awesome if this was Medieval hangman, or a really awkward frat party, but it’s actually the result of a one-letter swap gone wrong in a book about the fates of the rich. 

      Here’s the full story:

      You sometimes regret what pops out unexpectedly when you open your mouth, but in this case, even the fish must have been quite surprised when a wooly lamb burst forth. 

      The stories in this text by Giovanni Boccaccio warn of the terrible fate that often awaits the rich and powerful. He uses here the example of King Polycrates, who tossed a ring into a river, hoping for good luck, and found it later in the mouth of a fish. 

      Someone got confused, though, and instead of a ring (in French, annel), what came out instead was a lamb (agnel). Apparently, neither the ring nor the lamb worked because the king was later hanged (background).

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.

      08/31/15

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