Gela Krater

Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa

Getting to Know the Gela Krater

View of Stories of the Trojan War (Gallery 110) featuring the Mixing Vessel with Greeks Battling Amazons (the Gela Krater), Greek, 475–450 B.C., attributed to the Niobid Painter. Museo Archeologico Regionale, Agrigento, Sicily

Leading Spotlight Talks was one of my many tasks as a Multicultural Undergraduate Intern in the Education Department at the Getty Villa this summer. These talks are interactive discussions between an educator and visitors about one object at the Museum…. 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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