Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Boo! Don’t Look Now, But I See a Ghost

Mrs. Chapin oil merchant & his spirit wife & babe recognized / William H. Mumler

In the 1860s, an era fascinated with spiritualism—spirits, the supernatural, messages from the Great Beyond—a small-time engraver named William Mumler realized he could apply the latest technology of his day, photography, to create “spirit photographs.” Almost a visual séance, Mumler’s… More»

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

Question of the Week: Fake vs. Real—Does It Matter?

Cabinet, French, 1580 - details of the wood carving and metal ornaments

Question of the Week is a series inspired by our Masterpiece of the Week tours, offered daily at 4:00 p.m. Featuring an open and upbeat discussion among visitors and gallery teachers, the tours feature a new object and pose a… More»

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      The Queen Who Wasn’t

      Louis XIV clandestinely wed his mistress, Madame de Maintenon, at Versailles on October 9 or 10, 1683. The marriage was much gossiped about but never openly acknowledged. She was never queen.

      Madame de Maintenon had been the {judgy} governess to Louis XIV’s children by his previous mistress, Madame de Montespan. Louis gave these children moneyed titles—such as the comte de Toulouse, who ordered the tapestries shown here for his residence outside Paris.

      Louis’s secret marriage ushered in a period of religious fervor, in sharp contrast to the light-hearted character of his early reign. Madame de Maintenon was known for her Catholic piety, and founded a school for the education of impoverished noble girls at Saint-Cyr in 1686 that stayed in operation until 1793. This engraving of the Virgin and Child was dedicated to her by the king.

      Virgin and Child, late 1600s, Jean-Louis Roullet after Pierre Mignard; Johann Ulrich Stapf, engraver. The Getty Research Institute. Tapestries from the Emperor of China series. The J. Paul Getty Museum


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