Architecture and Design, Conservation, Getty Research Institute

An Update on the Earthquake in Chile

Earthquake damage at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Talca, Chile. Photo: Jorge Sacaan Riadi

Earthquake damage at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Talca, Chile. Photo: Jorge Sacaan Riadi

The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is a tool for cataloging and retrieving art information. It is being translated into several languages. Our friend and colleague Lina Nagel (manager of the AAT Spanish translation project) at the Centro de Documentación de Bienes Patrimoniales (CDBP) in Santiago sent us the following report on the damage caused to Chilean cultural institutions by the recent earthquake:

Several Chilean museums and historic buildings incurred damage as a result of the massive earthquake that struck Chile on February 27, 2010.

Most of the museums under the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos (DIBAM) were substantially undamaged both in terms of their architectural structure and their collections. Only the O’Higgins Museum in Talca and the National Museum of Natural History in Santiago were damaged structurally.

Of the private museums, I am happy to report that the Chilean Museum of Precolumbian Art in Santiago came through the earthquake without significant damage to its marvelous collection of ceramics, sculptures, and textiles.

Other private and municipal museums located in the VII, VIII, and IX regions incurred significant structural damage, and some collections have been irrevocably destroyed. Many of these museums had not applied the preventive conservation measures that were developed after the catastrophic earthquake of 1985 in Chile. However, the DIBAM museums and the Museum of Precolumbian Art, among others, had put those preventive measures into effect.

In addition to the loss and damage to cultural heritage institutions, countless houses, mansions, and chapels in the most heavily affected regions of Chile were severely damaged, both structurally and in terms of the objects they contained. Lamentably, most of these buildings and objects did not have adequate textual and visual documentation that would make it possible to restore or re-create them.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with Lina and her colleagues as they recover from this devastating earthquake. Thanks to Murtha Baca (head of GRI Digital Art History Access) for contacting Lina and translating her reply.

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      Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Venus

      Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

      Place of residence: Mount Olympus

      Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

      Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

      Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

      Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

      Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

      Highlights reel:

      • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
      • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
      • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.


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