Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Physiognomy, The Beautiful Pseudoscience

Untitled / Ken Gonzales-Day

What do the expressions “highbrow” and “lowbrow” have in common with saying a woman has “mousey” features? What does Homer Simpson have to do with photographs of sculpture in profile by contemporary artist Ken Gonzales-Day? All are contemporary manifestations of… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Victims of Soicumstance: My Automatic Visual Reactions to Messerschmidt

Untitled (Big Man) / Ron Mueck

A room full of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s Character Heads—currently at the Getty Center as part of the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity—may be the best place in L.A. right now to observe neurobiological reactions to human expression. The heads are not… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Curator’s Diary: Installing “Messerschmidt and Modernity”

Alabaster busts by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt in Messerschmidt and Modernity at the Getty Center

No amount of preparation over the life of an exhibition–from conception to development through implementation and finally installation–prepares you for the moments of surprise and delight as objects arrive from lenders and are uncrated and placed in the galleries. The… More»

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

In Search of Messerschmidt’s “Vexed Man”

The Vexed Man, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, 1771–83. Alabaster, 16 9/16 in. high

New for summer 2012—The Vexed Man is back at the Getty, but he’s moved from his usual haunts for the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity, July 24–October 13, 2012. The show brings together several of Messerschmidt’s Character Heads, including the excellently… 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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