Posted in Art, Getty Villa

Are Westerners Weird about Death?

19th-century mummy, Burgio, Sicily (detail)
Photo courtesy of and © Paul Koudounaris

“After the Enlightenment, we made a very determined effort to ghettoize the dead.” More»

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

Power in a Mummy Portrait

Mummy Portrait of Isidora / Isidora Master
Mummy Portrait of a Woman (detail), about A.D. 100–110, attributed to the Isidora Master. Linen, pigment, and gold; encaustic on wood, 18 7/8 x 14 3/16. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 81.AP.42

This woman is still beautiful and self-assured, 2,000 years after her portrait was painted. More»

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Posted in Education, Getty Villa

Mummy Magic at the Getty Villa

Visitors to the Getty Villa at a tour focusing on the mummy of Herakleides

“Take a look at Herakleides. What do you see?” My tour group gathers around Herakleides, the Romano-Egyptian mummy in the Getty Museum’s collection, taking their first good peek at the 2,000-year-old body beneath the glass case. The motifs of ancient… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Don’t Be So Crabby

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

      Jaws reference or some rather nasty surf and turf? It’s actually a depiction of the astrological symbol for Cancer.

      Here’s the full story:

      This peasant might be tired from working in the hot sun, but this is no time to go for a swim to cool off! 

      We all know there’s a risk of encountering creepy crawlers when out gardening, but that giant sinister lobster lurking in the water is actually a crab – the astrological symbol for Cancer. 

      Medieval prayer books often include a yearly calendar at the beginning of the text listing important feast days. Each month is usually accompanied by illuminations of seasonal activities and zodiacal signs, such as this one for the month of June.

      #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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