portraits

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

Power in a Mummy Portrait

Mummy Portrait of Isidora / Isidora Master
Mummy Portrait of a Woman (detail), about A.D. 100–110, attributed to the Isidora Master. Linen, pigment, and gold; encaustic on wood, 18 7/8 x 14 3/16. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 81.AP.42

This woman is still beautiful and self-assured, 2,000 years after her portrait was painted. More»

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Posted in Art, Photographs, Film, and Video

A Love Story Told in Pictures

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The greatest romance of the 19th century, captured on camera. More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

A “French ‘Mona Lisa’” Comes to L.A.: Manet’s “Portrait of Madame Brunet”

Portrait of Madame Brunet / Edouard Manet

Museum-quality paintings by Édouard Manet still remaining in private hands are exceptionally rare, and the Getty Museum is extremely fortunate in its most recent addition to the paintings collection: Manet’s Portrait of Madame Brunet, which goes on view at the… More»

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

Cellini Gets a Rival

Double Head / Francesco Primaticcio

A beautiful bronze Double Head, attributed to the Italian sculptor Francesco Primaticcio, has just joined the Museum’s collection. Though made by an Italian, it was commissioned by a Frenchman: Francis I, the king of France, for his palace at Fontainebleau… More»

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Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

Question of the Week: Demure or Coquettish? Revealing or Concealing?

Bust of Madame Recamier, Joseph Chinard, about 1801–1802. Terracotta, 24 7/8 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 88.SC.42

Can an artist do justice to a beautiful woman? This sensuous terracotta bust by Joseph Chinard captures the elegance and grace of legendary beauty Juliette Récamier, a socialite renowned for her wit and notorious for her love affairs. Holding a… More»

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Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: Does Art Have to Be Serious?

Self-Portrait, Yawning, Joseph Ducreux, before 1783. Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 in.

Nowadays, seeing a silly picture of a person is hardly unusual. Showing personality is a good thing. Social customs weren’t quite the same in 18th-century France, when Joseph Ducreux painted this self-portrait. An official court painter, he was known for refined… More»

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

Question of the Week: Is It Better for a Leader to Be Loved, or Feared?

Bust of Emperor Caracalla, Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Italian, Rome, about 1750–70. Marble, 28 in. high

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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Posted in Art, Paintings

In Need of a Géricault “Fix”

Portrait Study for The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault, 1818–19

Even though it’s been more than a decade, I remember it as though it were yesterday. Like so many art history students, I made my first pilgrimage to the Louvre—tantamount to mecca for an art nerd like me—to feast my… More»

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

Robert Weingarten on His Photography

Amish 10, Lancaster County, PA, Robert Weingarten, 2001. 15 9/16 x 19 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of Alvin and Heidi Toffler

Robert Weingarten’s work spans the possibilities of photography—from traditional black-and-white prints to digital mashups composed entirely in Photoshop. In advance of his lecture at the Getty Center this Thursday, September 16, I spoke to him about his approaches to photography—and… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Paintings, Photographs, Film, and Video

An Alternative Beauty Pageant

Young Italian Woman at a Table / Cézanne

Tonight is the Miss Universe pageant, in which contestants vied for a title and a Trump Tower apartment by donning swimsuits, evening gowns, and out-there costumes. (Update—Mexico won.) But beauty queens are just so bland compared to the women that… More»

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit idiosyncratic. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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