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Posted in Art, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Manuscripts and Books, Paintings

What Do Rocks Have to Do with Renaissance Art?

jerome_azurite_featured

Why the manuscript illuminations in Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance really rock. More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

On the 12 Days of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

A Partridge (detail)/from a bestiary
A Partridge (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 ½ x 5 5/8 in. (19.1 x 14.3 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 38v

Illuminated manuscripts are one of my true loves, and as a treat for the 12 days of Christmas, I’d like to share just a few of the glorious things that my true love gave to me this year. On the… More»

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

Day Without Art: Robert Mapplethorpe and His Artistic Shift

Self-Portrait / Robert Mapplethorpe
Self-Portrait, 1988, Robert Mapplethorpe. Platinum print, 23 1/8 x 19 in. Jointly acquired by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

December 1, 2012, marks the 24th year that museums and other art organizations have observed Day With(out) Art in order to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic. Although medical advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS have improved the lives of… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Actor Peter Weller Discusses Renaissance Florence (and Answers Your Questions!)

Peter Weller in Padua
Actor Peter Weller in Padua, Italy

Actor and director Peter Weller is known for his many film and television roles, most famously Robocop in Paul Verhoeven’s campy classic. However, Weller’s interests go far beyond the camera—he is a scholar of Italian Renaissance art who is completing… 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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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Slaving Over a Hot Medieval Stove

Baking Bread / Unknown illuminator, Belgium
Baking Bread (detail) in a psalter by an unknown illuminator, Belgium, mid-1200s. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, each leaf 9 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 14, fol. 8v

If cooking for a crowd seems like hard work today, imagine what it must have been like in the Middle Ages, before the advent of electricity, indoor plumbing, or take-out. Two illuminations from a psalter (book of Psalms) offer a… More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum

Project Switch: A Small Game Experiment Yields Big Lessons

Switch is a new in-gallery mobile game at the Getty Center.
Switch game screen

Earlier this year, I worked on an experimental project to create a simple game that would be played in the galleries with a mobile phone (find the game here). The idea came from my colleague Rebecca Edwards (no relation), a… More»

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

“Not Like a Coward”: Remembering a Warrior’s Death

Gravestone of Pollis / Greek
Gravestone of Pollis, Greek, made in Megara, about 480 B.C. Marble, 60 1/4 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 90.AA.129

The intimate association between being remembered and risking one’s life on the battlefield lies at the heart of Homer’s Iliad. The preeminent warrior Achilles famously chose to die young in battle and be forever honored, and this heroic code is well… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

Voting with the Ancient Greeks

Voting with psephoi in a scene from the Wine Cup with the Suicide of Ajax / Brygos Painter

This Greek wine cup from the 5th century B.C. offers one of the earliest depictions of voting in art. As the Trojan War rages, Greek chieftains are forced to choose between the competing claims of heroes Ajax and Odysseus to… More»

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

What Time Is It? In the Collection, It’s Always 10:10

Wall Clock / Andre-Charles Boulle
Wall Clock, about 1710, attributed to André-Charles Boulle. Gilt bronze veneered with blue painted horn and brass; enameled metal; glass. 2 ft. 4 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 73.DB.74

For the clocks in the Getty Museum’s collection, time stands eternally still. 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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