About: Alexandra Sofroniew

I'm assistant curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Posts by Alexandra

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

An Ancient Curse Revealed

Curse Tablet / found in Morgantina, Sicily
Curse Tablet, about 100 B.C., found in Morgantina, Sicily. Lead, 3 11/16 x 1 13/16 in. (9.4 x 4.6 cm). Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone

One small but powerful object stands out among the artifacts excavated from the ancient city of Morgantina in central Sicily, now on loan to the Getty Villa from the Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone and on view in Gallery 104…. More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Minty Fresh Inspiration

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Spit-take baptism or the fresh to death Patron Saint of Minty Fresh Breath? It’s really a depiction of Saint John receiving direct inspiration from God.

      Here’s the full story:

      The Bible recounts many examples of direct inspiration from God, but it doesn’t ever explicitly mention a blinding blue light shooting directly from heaven to the mouth of Saint John, as is depicted here. Nor does Saint John ever mention the uncomfortable sensation of being surrounded by a purple amoeba. 

      In this image that begins the Gospel of John in a Gospel book, the use of bright colors and strong shapes creates a sense of surrealism

      The illumination’s dynamic energy, however, is typical of artists working in the seventeenth century in the Armenian enclave of New Julfa in Isfahan.

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.


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