Conservation

Preserving art and culture for the future, from field projects around the world to conservation science in the Getty’s own state-of-the-art labs

Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

Mars Rover Technology Helps Unlock Art Mysteries

Giacomo Chiari, head of the science department at the Getty Conservation Institute, examines the painting on the west wall in the tomb of King Tutankhamen

This coming weekend, NASA’s latest Mars Rover, Curiosity, is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet to begin two years of scientific discovery, helping scientists unlock some of the planet’s as yet undiscovered secrets. Interestingly, the same technology being… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Paintings, Philanthropy

Rubens’s Masterful “Triumph of the Eucharist” Series to be Conserved

Detail from Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry, Peter Paul Rubens, 1625-6, oil on panel. ©Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.
Detail from Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry, Peter Paul Rubens, 1625-6, oil on panel. ©Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Thanks to a two-year grant from the Getty Foundation as part of the Getty’s ongoing Panel Paintings Initiative, the Museo Nacional del Prado is now conserving a magnificent series of six panel paintings completed in 1626 by artist Peter Paul… More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The Case of the Broken Wax Banana

Untitled with broken peel / Robert Graham

This is the third in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Robert Graham’s sculpture Untitled came to the Museum last October for Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970. It’s a small wax banana resting… More»

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Also posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

In Search of the Berthouville Treasure

Map of France showing the relative locations of Paris and Berthouville

The present whereabouts of the Berthouville Treasure are not a mystery. In December 2011 this priceless hoard of ancient Roman artifacts discovered by chance in the French countryside over 180 years ago was temporarily transferred from its permanent home in the… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Getty to Conserve Jackson Pollock’s Watershed Work “Mural”

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956) Mural, 1943 Oil on canvas, 8’ ¼” x 19’ 10” Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 University of Iowa Museum of Art Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa
Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956) Mural, 1943 Oil on canvas, 8’ ¼” x 19’ 10” Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 University of Iowa Museum of Art Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa

It’s official—abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock’s seminal work Mural (1943) will be undergoing technical study and conservation at the Getty Center as part of a new collaboration between the Getty and the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The painting… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa

Backyard Archaeology at the Villa Ranch House

Site of a training excavation at the Getty Villa for students in the UCLA/Getty conservation program

Students in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program recently dug up ancient wall paintings buried on the grounds of the Getty Villa. Not real ones, of course—it was all part of a classroom exercise for us conservators-in-training to better understand how conservation… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Looking Under Judy Chicago’s Car Hood

The back (wall) side of Judy Chicago's Car Hood

This is the second in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. In 1964 Judy Chicago created this wall-mounted sculpture, Car Hood, from a steel car hood and traditional automotive paint. The work was on loan… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Art with an On-Off Switch: Restoring Stephan von Heune’s Tap Dancer

Tap Dancer by Stephan van Huene, with base panels removed to reveal components inside base

This is the first in a series of conservator’s reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Stephan van Huene is recognized for his acoustical sculptures—which he called “machines”—that combine movement and sound. With the flip of a switch, the sculpture… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Conservation Comes Outdoors for Henry Moore’s “Bronze Form”

What's behind that tent? Henry Moore's Bronze Form is being conserved in situ at the Getty Center

What’s inside this tent? Henry Moore’s monumental sculpture Bronze Form 5/6—normally the first artwork visitors see when arriving at the Getty Center—is undergoing a conservation treatment behind a rather mysterious-looking safety screen. My colleagues and I will be working on… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

All Shook Up! Protecting Art in an Earthquake

The Agrigento Youth
The Statue of a Kouros (The Agrigento Youth) on loan from the Museo Archeologico Regionale in Agrigento installed in the Getty Villa, October 2010.

When you look at sculpture in the Getty Museum’s galleries, you wouldn’t guess that some of the pedestals are somewhat unusual. Under their polished veneer, they’re engineered to protect art from the movements caused by earthquakes. Many museums in California… 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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