About: Dawn Lohnas

I'm a graduate student in the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, graduating in 2012. This summer I'm working on the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project in Greece. In the fall, I'll be working in the Antiquities Conservation Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa.

Posts by Dawn

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Villa, technology

Seeing Art’s Bones: X-Raying Plant Fiber Objects at the Getty Villa

X-raying objects at the Getty Villa: Jeff Maish measures the distance between the table and the machine, while student Tessa de Alarcon adjusts the equipment to the desired height

We’re all familiar with the X-rays used to take images of people’s bones and teeth at medical and dental facilities. But did you know this same technology can also be used to examine the internal structures of museum objects? At… 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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