Blogging Greece’s Byzantium

Perspectives on objects and stories from the exhibition Heaven and Earth: The Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections by UCLA professor Sharon E. Gerstel and her art history students.

Posted in Ancient World, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Power through Prayer

Mummy Portrait of a Boy, about A.D. 150–200, Romano-Egyptian, made in Fayum, Egypt. Encaustic on wood, 8 x 5 1/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 78.AP.262

Can a small gold pendant ward off dark forces? More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Byzantine Los Angeles

Saint Sophia Cathedral, anchor of Los Angeles's Greek Orthodox community and the Byzantine-Latino Quarter
Saint Sophia Cathedral, anchor of Los Angeles's Greek Orthodox community and the Byzantine-Latino Quarter

A visit to the heart of L.A.’s Greek Orthodox community. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Curators’ Choice: Byzantine Treasures

Pectoral Cross / Greek
Photo © Benaki Museum, Athens

Four treasures not to miss when you visit the Byzantine art exhibition at the Getty Villa. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Put a Ring On It

Engagement Ring with a Greek Inscription / Byzantine
Image courtesy of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens

One ring and the two women who treasured it. More»

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Posted in Architecture and Design, Art, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

Designing Heaven And Earth

Galleries of Heaven and Earth at the Getty Villa
Icons glow against "Raspberry Truffle" walls.

Behind the scenes with the design of an exhibition of Byzantine treasures. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Hidden Beneath the Ruins of Eleutherna

Plaque with the Life of Achilles / Byzantine
Image courtesy of the Rethymno Archaeological Museum

Recently unearthed from the ruins of an ancient city in Greece, a group of carved ivories provides a window into the dawn of Christian art in Byzantium. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

A Greek Green Man

Keystone in the Shape of a Foliate Face / Greek
Image courtesy of the Chloumoutsi (Clermont) Castle Museum, Ilia

Why is a Gothic carving in an exhibition of Byzantine art? More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

The Fur-Cloaked Prophet: Elijah and the “City of Beavers”

Icon with the Prophet Elijah / Byzantine
Image courtesy of the Byzantine Museum, Kastoria

Religion, commerce, and art combine in the unusual story of a Byzantine icon from Kastoria, Greece. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Seeking Shelter: A Story of Greek Refugees and the Virgin Episkepsis

Detail of Mosaic Icon with the Virgin and Child / Byzantine
Image courtesy of the Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, inv. no 990

What dramatic stories could this Byzantine icon tell? More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Uncovering the History of a Long-Buried Byzantine Treasure

Hagia Sophia mosaic of the Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary wears ornamented cuffs to secure her sleeves in this mosaic in Hagia Sophia. Photo from Mosaics of Thessaloniki: 4th to 14th century, ed. Charalambos Bakirtzis (Athens: 2012)

A woman’s gold cuff provides a window into the rich history of Thessaloniki. More»

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      #ProvenancePeek: July 31

      Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

      This small panel by Dutch master Gerrit Dou (photographed only in black and white) is now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It was sold to American collector Robert Sterling Clark, an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, in the summer of 1922.

      How do we know this? Archival sleuthing! A peek into the handwritten stock books of M. Knoedler & Co. (book 7, page 10, row 40, to be exact) records the Dou in “July 1922” (right page, margin). Turning to the sales books, which lists dates and prices, we again find the painting under the heading “New York July 1922,” with its inventory number 14892. A tiny “31” in superscript above Clark’s name indicates the date the sale was recorded.

      M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art, selling European paintings to collectors whose collections formed the genesis of great U.S. museums. The Knoedler stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

      Girl at a Window, 1623–75, Gerrit Dou. Oil on panel, 10 9/16 x 7 ½ in. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts


      #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.

      07/31/15

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