About: Ruth Cuadra and Suzanne Michels

About Ruth Cuadra I'm an application systems analyst in the Information Systems department at the Getty Research Institute (GRI). I provide systems support and development for the GRI’s Provenance Index and other databases of art historical information. I'm also part of a team developing a new search engine that will improve online access to the GRI's resources. In May 2010 I received my master’s degree in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University, and I recently completed strategic foresight training through the California Association of Museums (CAM). I'm now serving as co-chair of CAM's newly formed Foresight Committee, created to research current trends, provide findings, and generate and facilitate discussion in order to define strategies for assuring more sustainable futures for California museums. About Suzanne Michels I'm a software developer and have been consulting with GRI Information Systems department since January 2011. I created the text-processing algorithms used to parse data from electronic renditions of WWII-era German auction catalogs. Currently I’m developing methods for automating the handling of bibliographic data for entry in the Getty Research Portal—an interesting and challenging endeavor! My prior work includes development of defense-industry system simulations and commercial software.

Posts by Ruth Cuadra and Suzanne

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship, technology

Publishing German Sales, A Look under the Hood of the Getty Provenance Index

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Incorporating Nazi-era sales catalogs into the Getty Provenance Index took a small team about two years. Here’s how they did the work. More»

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      A Brief History of the Fleur-de-lis in Art

      The fleur-de-lis, a familiar symbol with varied meanings and a rather obscure origin.

      If you read the labels of objects in museums bearing the fleur-de-lis (in French, fleur de lys, pronounced with the final “s”), you might notice that they were all made in France before the French Revolution of 1789. 

      What’s less apparent is that the fleur-de-lis marks objects that bear witness to a dramatic history of monarchy, democracy, and war: they speak to the inherent power of trappings commissioned for and by France’s pre-revolutionary kings.

      Adopted as a royal emblem in France by the 1100s, the fleur-de-lis can be traced to early Frankish monarchs including Clovis I, who converted to Christianity in 496, and the renowned Charlemagne. 

      A French word, fleur-de-lis translates literally to “lily flower.” This is appropriate given the association of lilies with purity (and the Virgin Mary) and given that France has long been known as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In truth, the stylized flower most closely resembles a yellow iris. 

      As a heraldic symbol used in the arms of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis often appears in yellow or gold tones and set on a blue shield. 

      Given its intimate royal associations, the fleur-de-lis invoked the ire of revolutionaries even before the fall of the monarchy in 1792. In addition to toppling royal statues, vandals chipped away at crowns and fleurs-de-lis adorning the façades of buildings.

      Full blog post on the Getty Iris here.

      04/28/16

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