sacred art

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Mystery Cults and the Mother Goddess

Orphic Prayer Sheet / Greek
Orphic Prayer Sheet, Greek, 350-300 B.C. Gold, 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 75.AM.19. Gift of Lenore Barozzi

Only initiates could take part in the rites of the mystery cult, and they were forbidden to ever speak of what occurred. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Education, Getty Villa, Voices

Getty Voices: Digging the Sacred

Engraved Gem (Snake-legged Creature)
Engraved gem with snake-legged creature, Unknown, Roman, 200 - 400 A.D., The J. Paul Getty Museum.

“I can really appreciate the ancient system where borrowing, amalgamating, and generally mixing it up was perfectly acceptable.” More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Have You Seen an Illuminated Manuscript Lately?

The Flight into Egypt / French
The Flight into Egypt, French, about 1420-1430, tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and silver paint on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 19, fol. 59

The Getty Center is one of few places in the United States where you can see medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts year-round. With three or four exhibitions per year drawn almost exclusively from the permanent collection, in addition to major international… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Warnings to the Rich & Powerful

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

      It would be awesome if this was Medieval hangman, or a really awkward frat party, but it’s actually the result of a one-letter swap gone wrong in a book about the fates of the rich. 

      Here’s the full story:

      You sometimes regret what pops out unexpectedly when you open your mouth, but in this case, even the fish must have been quite surprised when a wooly lamb burst forth. 

      The stories in this text by Giovanni Boccaccio warn of the terrible fate that often awaits the rich and powerful. He uses here the example of King Polycrates, who tossed a ring into a river, hoping for good luck, and found it later in the mouth of a fish. 

      Someone got confused, though, and instead of a ring (in French, annel), what came out instead was a lamb (agnel). Apparently, neither the ring nor the lamb worked because the king was later hanged (background).

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

      08/31/15

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