Question of the Week

Posted in Education, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Question of the Week: Is It Still a Man’s World?

Car Hood / Judy Chicago

In 1964, while a student in UCLA’s graduate program in painting and sculpture, artist Judy Chicago enrolled in auto-body school—the only woman in a class of 250 men. They were all there to learn how to custom-paint cars with candy-colored… More»

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

Question of the Week: Where Is the Line between Private and Public?

The Model Resting / Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Where is the line between private and public? Each situation has a different answer—and sometimes many different possible answers. As an example, take this painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec portrays a woman seen from above and behind as she… More»

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

Question of the Week: Can Love Last Forever?

Venus and Adonis / Massimiliano Soldani Benzi

Can love outlast death? Love and desire sizzle in this sculpture showcasing Venus and Adonis. Venus is desperately in love with Adonis, a handsome mortal. However, fate has it that goddess of love will not hold onto her man. Preferring… More»

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

Question of the Week: Do Americans See the World through a Distorted Lens?

Sol and Cuba, Old Havana, Looking North from Alberto Roja's 1951 Plymouth, Havana, Alex Harris, negative, May 23, 1998; print, December 2007. Chromogenic print, 30 1/8 x 37 3/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010.90.3. Gift of Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography © Alex Harris
Sol and Cuba, Old Havana, Looking North from Alberto Roja's 1951 Plymouth, Havana, Alex Harris, negative, May 23, 1998; print, December 2007. Chromogenic print, 30 1/8 x 37 3/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010.90.3. Gift of Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography © Alex Harris

Initially designating himself an “ignorant American,” photographer Alex Harris went to Cuba in 1998, camera in tow, without preconceived notions. He simply wondered what photography could tell him about this neighboring country that he, along with so many other Americans,… More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: When Are Memories More Vivid Than Life Itself?

Details of the Arch of Severus and the Temple of Vespasian from J. M. W. Turner's Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino

Do you have memories that feel more real than your life today? British painter J. M. W. Turner did, and they are the subject of this painting. The year is 1839. Turner, now in his 60s, has not set foot… More»

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

Question of the Week: How Have You Been Called to Charity?

The Vision of Saint Francis of Paola, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, about 1670. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.144

Have you been called to acts of service? Did you answer the call? Saint Francis of Paola, who lived in the 1400s, was called. Two moments of divine intercession are paired in The Vision of Saint Francis of Paola by… More»

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Posted in Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: What Makes a Painting a Masterpiece?

Disegno and Colore, Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), about 1640. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

What makes a painting a masterwork? Take part in this historic debate about the elements of line and color, as personified by a wise, old man and a sensuous young woman in Guercino’s Disegno and Colore. Italian draftsman and painter… 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: Is the Viewer Part of an Artwork?

Entrance to the Jardin Turc, Louis-Léopold Boilly, 1812. Oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 35 7/8 in.

More than 60 people sit, chat, and play in this elaborate composition outside the entrance to the Jardin Turc, or Turkish Garden Café, in early-1800s Paris. The café was known for its spacious gardens, exotic pavilions, and excellent ice cream,… 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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      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 wacko. “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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