We just launched our first online scholarly catalogue, Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum, available at museumcatalogues.getty.edu/ambers. This catalogue was a collaborative effort between our Publications team, the Museum’s curatorial and conservation staff, and the department I… More»
The vibrant blue in the above image of Saint George and the Dragon (Master of Buillebert de Mets, about 1450-55) still looks remarkably vivid to modern eyes, but to medieval readers it wouldn’t have just looked eye-catching—it would have looked expensive. Why? Because this particular blue pigment (ultramarine) required lapis lazuli, like the carved stone above (Roman, second century AD). For centuries all lapis was sourced from a single mountain range in Afghanistan, meaning that a French medieval manuscript with the color required a lot of financial resources!
For more on ultramarine and other shades of blue, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.
Both objects are from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum.