About: Michael J. Ripps

I studied history at the Universities of Virginia and Cambridge and later read art history at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and the University of Oxford. My doctoral thesis (Oxford), which I defended in the fall of 2010, examined the trade in 17th-century Dutch pictures in the period 1882 to 1914. I'm currently affiliated with the J. Paul Getty Museum's Paintings Department (through May 2012), where I'm assisting in preparations for the Museum's online catalog.

Posts by Michael J.

Posted in Art, Art & Archives, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Anatomy of a Horse Painting

The Piebald Horse / Paulus Potter

In George Stubbs’s Brood Mares and Foals, which arrived at the Museum in October as a temporary anonymous loan, horses are sympathetically portrayed within the bucolic landscape of the English countryside. The overriding mood is idyllic, as a small coterie… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Bonnacon

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

      Farting unicorn or the origin of “say it, don’t spray it”? It’s actually a magical animal from the Middle Ages…

      Here’s the full story:

      Porcupines have got nothing on this animal’s self-defense!

      According to the medieval bestiary (a kind of animal encyclopedia), the bonnacon is a creature with curled horn, leaving it defenseless against predators. 

      To compensate, it has the ability to aim and eject excrement like a projectile to distances of over 500 feet. Oh yeah, and the dung is burning hot. Doesn’t the bonnacon in this image look just a tad smug?

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

      05/03/16

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