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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 Art, Paintings, Photographs, Film, and Video, Prints and Drawings

Dogs Behaving Badly

A Merry Company / Jacob Jordaens
A Merry Company, about 1644, Jacob Jordaens. Watercolor and white gouache heightening over black chalk. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.59

Most dogs are impeccably well behaved—in art, anyway. They sit quietly on laps, raise a paw for their beloved master, or contort themselves into perfect S curves. The king of Old Master dogs is Guercino’s heroic mastiff, who looks like… More»

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      ROSE

      This milky pink boomed into popularity because of a marketing ploy, a mistress, and its ambiguous origins.

      In an effort to compete with the renowned Meissen porcelain factory, the French Sèvres manufactory recruited the glamorous Madame de Pompadour (mistress to King Louis XV). Like a smart sponsorship deal, Sèvres gave her all the porcelain she requested. 

      Introduced in 1757, this rich pink exploded on the scene thanks to favoritism by Madame Pompadour herself. 

      The glaze itself had a weird history. To the Europeans it looked Chinese, and to the Chinese it was European. It was made based on a secret 17th-century glassmaker’s technique, involving mixing glass with flecks of gold.

      For more on colors and their often surprising histories, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.

      12/19/14

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