conservation science

Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Conservation Institute

Talking with Artist De Wain Valentine

De Wain Valentine polishing one of his eight-foot-diameter polyester Circles in his Venice studio in the late 1960s

One of the most influential sculptors active in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s, De Wain Valentine is perhaps best known for his large-scale polyester resin sculptures of simple geometric forms that interact intensely with the surrounding light. Not… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Villa

Seeing Art’s Bones: X-Raying Plant Fiber Objects at the Getty Villa

X-raying objects at the Getty Villa: Jeff Maish measures the distance between the table and the machine, while student Tessa de Alarcon adjusts the equipment to the desired height

We’re all familiar with the X-rays used to take images of people’s bones and teeth at medical and dental facilities. But did you know this same technology can also be used to examine the internal structures of museum objects? At… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

Seeing Artwork in a New Light

Getty Conservation Institute scientist Jim Druzik holding one of several filters being evaluated for use in conservation lighting.

Jim Druzik is obsessed with light. More particularly, he’s concerned with the destructive power of light on priceless museum treasures, and it’s his pioneering work in conservation and preservation that could protect great works of art. Jim, a senior scientist… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Conservation Institute, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Gray Column Rises

Gray Column / De Wain Valentine

One of the most influential sculptors active in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, De Wain Valentine is perhaps best known for his striking, semitransparent, and delicately colored large-scale polyester resin sculptures of simple geometric forms that interact intensely… More»

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Posted in Architecture and Design, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

A Project of Seismic Proportions

Earthen structures in the vast adobe city of Chan Chan, capital of the Chimu Kingdom in present-day Perum

As Californians, we are well aware of the damage that results from earthquakes, even in new buildings constructed with modern materials. But what happens to historic buildings made of earthen materials such as adobe? These structures can be particularly vulnerable… More»

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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 Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

All Roads Lead to Rome

The Roman Forum

What brings a group of architects, conservators, engineers, geologists, scientists, and archaeologists from twenty countries and six continents to Rome? Rocks—or more accurately, stone. They have all come to participate in the 17th International Course on Stone Conservation, which began… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

From Green Umber to Azurite, Walnut Oil to Egyptian Sandstone, Reference Collection Helps Scientists Analyze Art Data

The Getty Conservation Institute's Art Kaplan, examining mineral samples found in the Reference Collection.

Art Kaplan is on a mission. At my request, he’s looking for a particular yellow pigment to show me—and there are hundreds of yellows to choose from, in drawers labeled Yellow Ochre, Lemon Ochre, Golden Yellow, French Yellow, and labels… 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 Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

Drawing the Line: Conserving Master Drawings with a Light Touch

Working on Study of Three Skulls. At top left, the disfiguring oil stain; at top right, the same area of the sheet after the pastel application.
Working on Study of Three Skulls. At top left, the disfiguring oil stain; at top right, the same area of the sheet after the pastel application.

The intriguing exhibition The Secret Life of Drawings—closing this Sunday at the Getty Center—unveils hidden clues to unfinished works on paper, undiscovered sketches, and details of the artist’s craft. It also reveals that making damaged art look presentable can be… More»

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      Head flasks were a trend starting in the 1st century A.D.

      A little taller than 6 inches, this young man’s head could be filled with any liquid. 

      Blue Head Flask, A.D. 300 - 500, Roman. J. Paul Getty Museum.

      09/20/14

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