Cupid

Posted in Antiquities, Art, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Sleeping with Aphrodite

Relief with a Man and a Siren / Roman

One of the most enjoyable aspects of curating an exhibition is serendipity. Not to say these projects aren’t carefully planned (far from it), but sometimes the physical relationship of two artworks will coincide in an unexpectedly fortuitous way, or a… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Eros, the Naughty Superhero of Love

Eros Wearing a Lionskin / Greek

Did you receive a Valentine’s card today? Take a second look at those cartoon Cupids. They derive, in their own way, from ancient Greece and Rome, but might not be so cute as they first appear. Then as now, Cupid’s… 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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