The Getty Villa
Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

Black- and red-figure Athenian pottery from the sixth through the fourth centuries B.C. was produced by a sophisticated and large-scale ceramic industry. However, despite years of study, aspects of the technology used by ancient craftsmen to create the shiny black decorated surfaces—known as black gloss—remain a mystery.

Hear how scientists, art historians, and conservators are working together to better understand the materials and techniques used by artisans to create this iconic pottery. The Getty Conservation Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum, in collaboration with scientists from The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California and SLAC, Stanford University's National Accelerator Facility in Menlo Park, California, are bringing together modern high-tech scientific analysis with art historical insight and technical observations to investigate these vessels. Project team members David Saunders, Jeffrey Maish, Marc Walton, and Brendan Foran present an overview of the research methods and discuss how the study of materials and techniques can provide insight into ancient ceramic technology, artistic expression and workshop practice.


About the Athenian Pottery Project team members
David Saunders is assistant curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He obtained his D.Phil. from Oxford University with a thesis on Athenian vase-painting. In addition to his research and publications on Athenian pottery, he also works on ancient bronzes. Since joining the museum in 2008, he has curated the exhibitions The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani (2009), Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze (2011), and Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (2012). He is currently working on two exhibitions for October 2013, The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning and Tiberius: Portrait of an Emperor. As a member of the Athenian Pottery Project team, David advises in the selection of sherds for study, and the contextualization of the results and analysis.

Jeffrey Maish is associate conservator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Maish specializes in preventive conservation by maintaining museum environments for both permanent and loan objects. His most recent cooperative treatment projects include the microscopic cleaning and technical study of bronzes from the site of Vani, Republic of Georgia, and a polychrome terracotta bust from the site of Morgantina, Sicily. He engages in the technical study of a variety of materials with a special emphasis on x-radiography and interpretation. As a member of Athenian Pottery Project team, Maish's focus is in the microscopic imaging and characterization of incised black-figure and painted red-figure elements.

Marc Walton earned a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in archaeological science and an MA in art history, as well as a diploma in the conservation of works of art, from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. After graduate school, Walton spent two years at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art prior to coming to the Getty Conservation Institute in 2005 as an associate scientist, where he is responsible for the scientific study of antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. His research focuses on trade and manufacture of ancient objects and has resulted in publications describing a diverse range of art materials. Walton overseas the scientific direction of the Athenian Pottery Project.

Brendan Foran is a laboratory manager within the microelectronics technology department at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California where his work is focused on understanding the reliability of components for use in space. Brendan has a Ph.D. in chemistry from The University of Michigan and has conducted post-doctoral studies in the fields of materials science, and semiconductor process characterization. Foran has recognized expertise in the characterization of solid state materials by electron microscopy and X-ray scattering. Besides his focus on microelectronics, Brendan has a long history of interest in relationships between art, technology and society. He is the co-principal investigator and science director of the Athenian Pottery Project.

Learn more about the Athenian Pottery Project.

Planning your visit
The main gate on Pacific Coast Highway opens to ticketed guests at 6:00 p.m. The auditorium opens at 7:00 p.m., and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The galleries will be open before and after the lecture. A selection of light "grab 'n go" dinner fare as well as beer and wine are available for purchase at the Café until 7:30 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be served following the program.

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.