Francesco Guardi

Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

A Portrait of Venice Unmasked

The Painter in His Studio / Pietro Longhi

The life of a painting can be pretty unpredictable. Some are constantly on the move, reaching different parts of the world as they travel through time. When I started at the Getty as an intern, I had only recently returned… More»

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Posted in Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Travel Postcards, 18th-Century Style

The Grand Canal, Venice, Canaletto, DATE TK. Private collection

Picture this: You’re in the 18th century taking a Grand Tour across Europe, making all the “in” stops such as France and Italy. Before heading back home, you have one final task: buying souvenirs! You’ve taken fencing lessons in Paris,… 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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