The Central Library in downtown Los Angeles is an iconic architectural landmark with high open ceilings, remarkable murals, and a striking façade. Kenneth Breisch, author of “The Los Angeles Central Library: Building an Architectural Icon, 1872–1933,” discusses the extensive development of the library over the course of several decades, from its founding as a private library association to the construction and design of the beloved building that still stands today. Breisch is associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.
In 2007 an English family decided to sell a small painting in their collection: an image of a man laughing with a label featuring the name Rembrandt. The work was initially attributed to a contemporary of Rembrandt, but scholarly analysis and scientific testing determined that it was indeed a Rembrandt. We visit the painting in the Getty Museum’s galleries with Anne Woollett, curator of paintings at the Getty, who reveals the mystery and magic behind this endearing self-portrait by one of the most eminent painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
Now recognized as the ancestor of modern chemistry, alchemy is a mysterious and often misunderstood blend of science, philosophy, and spirituality. Alchemists were notorious for making artificial gold, but their impact extended far beyond their desire for noble metals. David Brafman, associate curator of rare books and curator of “The Art of Alchemy” at the Getty Research Institute, discusses how this medieval magic has had an enduring influence on scientific and artistic culture.