Frederick Wiseman Talks About His New Documentary, ‘Ex Libris: New York Public Library’

In this fantastic documentary, the celebrated filmmaker takes us inside a critically important institution for our democracy. By Titi Yu / 10.12.2017 To make a three-and-a-half-hour film about a place where people go to sit and read books is not an endeavor that a lot of filmmakers would eagerly take on. But Frederick Wiseman’s new[…]

3,400-Year-Old Encrusted Ceramics Discovered in Bronze Age Necropolis on Danube

Some of the newly discovered 3,400-year-old vessels from the Bronze Age necropolis in Bulgaria’s Baley. Photo: BNT By Ivan Dikov / 09.25.2017 Archaeology in Bulgaria A large number of uniquely decorated ceramic vessels from ca 1400 BC have been described during archaeological excavations in the necropolis of a Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age settlement[…]

‘Topographic Memory’ and Landscape Photography

Bruce Lindsey, “Paradise Valley, MT. July 28, 2013.” Lindsey explores the inherent tensions of landscape photography. By Liam Otten / 09.27.2017 Senior News Director, Arts and Humanities Washington University in St. Louis Storm clouds gather above Rocky Mountain peaks, summer rains sweeping amber fields below. Skeletal trees overlook muddy flood waters, bark shining silver in[…]

Escher and Coxeter – A Mathematical Conversation

Figure 1: Hand with Reflecting Sphere, M. C. Escher (1935) Lecture by Dr. Sarah Hart at the Museum of London / 06.05.2017 Professor of Mathematics Birkbeck, University of London Introduction In 1954 the artist Maurits Escher met the mathematician Donald Coxeter at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam. This meeting sparked a lifelong correspondence[…]

“Dear Venus”: Praying to an Ancient Goddess at the Getty Villa

This summer we invited visitors to the Getty Villa to write and share prayers to the ancient goddess Venus. Here are the themes that emerged. By Bella Anderson / 09.21.2017 “The zither, and night, and Venus, bring delight.” —Ovid, Heroides 3. 116 ff (trans. Showerman) Venus (Greek Aphrodite) was a goddess close to the heart of her people.[…]

Mesoamerica: An Introduction

Map of Mesoamerica, with the borders of modern countries By Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank / 09.12.2017 Assistant Professor of Art History Pepperdine University Avocado, tomato, and chocolate. You are likely familiar with at least some of these food items. Did you know that they all originally come from Mexico, and are all based on Nahuatl words (ahuacatl, tomatl, and chocolatl)[…]

Introduction to the Inka

Along the Inka road system or Qhapaq Ñan today, Pucará del Aconquija, Argentina (photo: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina, CC BY-SA 2.0) By Dr. Sarahh Scher / 09.15.2017 Visiting Lecturer in Art History Salem State University An Empire of Roads—and Cords Map of the Qhapaq Ñan (Inka road system) (map: Manco Capac, CC BY-SA 3.0)[…]

Architectural History of the Town Hall of Amsterdam from 1648

Jacob van Campen, Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace of Amsterdam, formerly the Town Hall of Amsterdam), 1648-65 (photo: Mihnea Stanciu, CC BY 2.0) By Dr. Saskia Beranek / 09.07.2017 Visiting Professor of Art History Duquesne University The Eighth Wonder of the World Map of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands in the 18th century /[…]

The Codex Borgia, a Post-Classic Aztec Manuscript

Codex Borgia, c. 1500, p. 25 (Vatican Library) By Dr. Helen Burgos Ellis / 09.11.2017 Lecturer in Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies University of California, Los Angeles Mesoamericans made screenfold manuscripts of great artistic beauty. One of them is the Codex Borgia, an Aztec manuscript made during the late Post-Classic period, which stretched from about 1250 until about 1521.[…]

The Warka Vase of Ancient Uruk

Warka (Uruk) Vase, Uruk, Late Uruk period, c. 3500-3000 B.C.E., 105 cm high (National Museum of Iraq) By Dr. Senta German Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Picturing the ruler So many important innovations and inventions emerged in the Ancient Near East during the Uruk period (c. 4000 to[…]

Building Divided Berlin

Interbau exhibition in Berlin, July 1957. Photo: Willy Pragher. Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Abt. Staatsarchiv Freiburg Berlin’s east-west split during the Cold War drove ideologically motivated architecture, from socialist apartment blocks to prestige landmarks. By Emily Pugh / 09.18.2017 Digital Humanities Specialist Historian of Postwar German Architecture This summer the Getty Research Institute exhibition Berlin/LA: Spaces for Music[…]

Deciphering Greek Amphora Stamps

Figure 1. Rhodian rectangular amphora stamp with the name of Agathoklês [Delos, TD 4033]. By Dr. Nathan Badoud / 09.11.2017 Professor of Classical Architecture Université de Fribourg One day in July 1555, the great Sicilian scholar Tommaso Fazello (1498-1570) found near Heloros an amphora handle on which he read the name Agathoklês (fig. 1). Thoroughly steeped in the literary[…]

Amber in Antiquity

A perfume-pot made from amber and depicting cupids and a panther. Roman, Aquileia, 100-120 CE. (British Museum, London) By Mark Cartwright / 09.11.2017 Amber, the fossilised resin of trees, was used throughout the ancient world for jewellery and decorative objects. The main source was the Baltic region where amber, known to mineralogists as succinite, was washed up onto beaches[…]

Ambroise Paré’s Medical ‘Monsters’

Ambroise Paré, Les œuures d’Ambroise Paré, conseiller, et premier chirurgien du roy (Paris: Gabriel Buon, 1579), pp. 939–40. Wellcome Images  By Sarah Pipkin / 07.26.2017 In the collected works of Ambroise Paré (c. 1510–90), first published in French in 1575, a ‘Book of monsters and prodigies’ appears alongside other subjects including the setting of bones, the identification[…]

A Modern Analysis of Vitruvian Influence on Ancient Roman Temples

Figure 1. 1684 depiction of Vitruvius presenting De Architectura to Augustus (Source: Vitruvius on Architecture by Thomas Gordon Smith) By Shirley N. Chen / 12.04.2015 Purpose Books III and IV of De Architectura will mainly be used to provide an focused analysis of how ‍building principles containing previous knowledge gathered and organized by Vitruvius in combination with his[…]

Conserving Moscow’s Melnikov House

The Melnikov House. View from the courtyard. 2015. © Pavel Kuznetsov A new grant will enable conservation specialists to study this cylindrical house by Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov in preparation for its restoration as a public museum. By Antoine Wilmering / 08.28.2017 Senior Program Officer Getty Foundation Over the past four years the Getty Foundation[…]

Introduction to Dada

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain (original), photographed by Alfred Stieglitz in 1917 after its rejection by the Society of Independent Artists By Dr. Stephanie Chadwick / 09.04.2017 Assistant Professor of Art History Lamar University Art as provocation When you look at Marcel Duchamp’s  Fountain, a factory-produced urinal he submitted as a sculpture to the 1917 exhibition of the Society of Independent[…]

Wooden Sculptures from Nukuoro

Nukuoro Atoll, Micronesia / Archive: NASA, International Space Station By Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys / 09.08.2017 Anthropologist of Material Culture Curator of Oceania National Museum of World Cultures At the crossroads of cultures Nukuoro is a small isolated atoll in the archipelago of the Caroline Islands. It is located in Micronesia, a region in the[…]

History and Influence of Venice’s Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge on Venice’s Grand Canal, 2010. Photo: gnuckx For centuries Venice’s Rialto Bridge has attracted draftsmen, painters, and tourists. By Nicole Block / 09.05.2017 Multicultural Undergraduate Intern J. Paul Getty Museum If you’ve ever seen travel photos of Venice or been to Venice yourself, you’re probably familiar with the Rialto Bridge. The Ponte di[…]

Miguel González, ‘The Virgin of Guadalupe’

Miguel González, The Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe), c. 1698, oil on canvas on wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl (enconchado), canvas: 99.06 × 69.85 cm / frame: 124.46 × 95.25 cm (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) By Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank / 08.22.2017 Assistant Professor of Art History Pepperdine University The Virgin of Guadalupe reveals herself to[…]

Tipu’s Tiger

Tipu’s Tiger (also Tippoo’s Tiger), c. 1793, Mysore, painted wood with metal fixtures / Victoria and Albert Museum, London By Dr. Jocelyn Anderson / 08.21.2017 Lecturer in Early Modern Art The Courtauld Institute of Art An extraordinary object Tipu Sultan’s mechanical tiger has long been one of the most well-known items in the Victoria & Albert Museum[…]

Introduction to Fifteenth-century Flanders

Jan van Eyck, The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin, oil on panel, c. 1390-95, 66 x 62 cm / Louvre Museum, Paris By Dr. Andrew Murray / 07.17.2017 Research Fellow Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Material splendor Jan van Eyck’s Rolin Madonna presents a series of objects and surfaces: a fur-lined damask robe, ceramic tiles, a golden crown, stone columns, warm flesh,[…]

The Art of Philosophy: Visualizing Aristotle in Early 17th-Century Paris

Meurisse and Gaultier’s Artificiosa totius logices descriptio, 1614 / IBF Gallica With their elaborate interplay of image and text, the several large-scale prints designed by the French friar Martin Meurisse to communicate Aristotelian thought are wonderfully impressive creations. Susanna Berger explores the function of these complex works, and how such visual commentaries not only served to[…]

Chris Killip as Photographer and Teacher

Angelic Upstarts at a Miners’ Benefit Dance at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland, Wearside (detail), 1984, Chris Killip. Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, purchased in part with funds provided by Alison Bryan Crowell, Trish and Jan de Bont, Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, Manfred Heiting, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, and Lyle and[…]