Essay Abstracts

Attributed to Skythes / Unknown
David Saunders, "Achilles in Malibu? A Cup Attributed to Skythes," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 1–12.

A warrior chasing a horse rider on an Athenian red-figure cup attributed to Skythes in the J. Paul Getty Museum would be a typical depiction of Achilles chasing Troilos but for the fact that both figures are shown wearing Thracian costume. Although this is not unusual for Troilos, it is puzzling for Achilles. This essay presents a number of strategies to interpret Achilles in Thracian garb, utilizing literary sources and the contemporary social context. The connotations of Achilles' foreign appearance are to be understood in contrast to the conventional battle scene on the other side of the cup, where the image of a Thracian warrior recurs as a shield blazon.

The Chiarito Tabernacle / di Bonaguida
Christopher R. Lakey, "The Curious Case of the Chiarito Tabernacle: A New Interpretation," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 13–30.

This essay reconsiders Pacino di Buonaguida's triptych of 1340—known as the Chiarito Tabernacle after its patron, the visionary Beato Chiarito del Voglia—by scrutinizing traditional iconographic readings of the central panel in relation to the outer panels, its patron, and its intended female audience. By examining subtle visual clues overlooked by most critics concerning the prominent role of religious women in the work, this essay underscores how the altarpiece served the specific spiritual needs of a group of Florentine nuns. Further, the ritual interaction between beholder and object in the space of the church was constituted through Pacino's use of gilded gesso relief in the central panel. This rare technique materially enhanced the body of Christ, thereby visually reinforcing then-current notions of Eucharistic devotion and practice for the nuns.

El Divino Señor de Ayuxi / Frassani
Alessia Frassani, "At the Crossroads of Empire: Urban Form and Ritual Action in Colonial Yanhuitlan, Oaxaca, Mexico," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 31–44.

The Mixtec village of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan, in Oaxaca, Mexico, underwent a radical transformation in the second part of the 16th century, due to the contact and penetration of Spanish institutions in the local life of the village. The Dominican missionary establishment, comprising a church and friars' living and working quarters in an adjoining convent, was built on top of a pre-Hispanic platform at the center of a wide plain and was visible from all the densely populated surroundings. The new royal palace, which served as the residence of the indigenous ruler and seat of the governmental power, was built nearby and created a monumental nucleus that powerfully expressed a new political and religious ideology. By contrast, local cults and chapels located at the outskirts of town show a greater degree of continuity with ancient traditions and customs. Discussing architecture, urban design, and sculpture through archaeological, anthropological, and historical sources, this paper tries to analyze the process of Mixtec identity formation and the indigenous contribution to Latin American art in the postconquest period.

Drawings with Frames / Hugford
Adriano Amendola, "Frames for Drawings in Roman Collections: A Case Study," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 45–56.

Using salient examples and on the basis of a comparative analysis of archival data from the Provenance Index® databases of the Getty Research Institute, this paper identifies the typologies of frames used to display drawings in Roman collections of the 17th and 18th centuries. The phenomenon of exhibiting framed drawings, which has not been fully studied up to now, began during the early 1600s when refined collectors began to display the drawings in their collections on the walls of their residences instead of keeping them in albums or drawers. The chromatic quality of the drawings was enhanced by the frames, which were gilded, black, wood-colored, or white, and usually quite simple in design, as in the Salvator Rosa type. In such frames, drawings could hold their own with paintings as part of an arrangement of works on a wall. With the dissemination of academic drawings of nudes, instituted by the most important Roman families during the course of the 17th century, framed drawings began to occupy an important position in collections, soon becoming the focal point of entire rooms devoted to a particular theme.

Print of the Interior of the Palazzo Cervelli in Ferrara / Bolzoni
Alden R. Gordon, "A Rare Engraving of an Italian Rococo Parade Apartment of 1736: Andrea Bolzoni's Print of the Interior of the Palazzo Cervelli in Ferrara," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 57–74.

Engraved images of real secular interiors are rare before 1790. Even more rare are illustrations of nonroyal houses in which the domestic and parade apartments are depicted fully furnished, with portable objects that were actually in use. An illustration by Andrea Bolzoni (1689–1760) accompanying the publication in 1736 of a poem by Jacopo Agnelli (1701 or 1702–99) celebrating a grand festival given by Fortunato Cervelli (1683–1755), the Holy Roman imperial consul in Ferrara, on the occasion of the marriage of Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–80), female heiress to the Habsburg dynasty, provides an exceptional record of Cervelli's nonroyal suite of parade apartments decorated in a unique "chinoiserie" variant of the Rococo style. The actual decorative interiors represented were prompted by a special set of political and commercial circumstances designed to project the Habsburg interests abroad in the Papal States.

Arii Matamoe  / Gaugin
Scott C. Allan, "'A Pretty Piece of Painting': Gauguin's Arii Matamoe," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 75–90.

The J. Paul Getty Museum's acquisition in 2008 of Paul Gauguin's Arii Matamoe (The Royal End), a key painting from the artist's first Tahitian sojourn of 1891 to 1893, offers an occasion for reconsidering this obscure, enigmatic work, whose fixation on decapitation starkly contrasts with the idyllic mood popularly associated with Gauguin's Tahitian paintings. This essay emphasizes the painting's dense and wide-ranging allusiveness, while proposing and critically evaluating potential avenues of interpretation. The painting is seen as the product both of Gauguin's freely imaginative engagement with Polynesian culture and history, as he had occasion to experience it in person and through second-hand literary and scholarly sources, and his continuing dialogue with traditional and contemporary European iconographies. More fundamentally, the work is presented as part of Gauguin's overriding project of self-mythologization, bringing to bear his obsessive concerns with degeneration, death, and renewal.

Xianfashanmen zhengmian / Ilantai
Vimalin Rujivacharakul, "How to Map Ruins: Yuanming Yuan Archives and Chinese Architectural History," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 91–108.

In 1860, the 18th-century European-style pavilions, along with the rest of the Yuanming Yuan imperial palace in Beijing, China, were burned down during an invasion of the palace by Anglo-French troops. Thereafter, with further looting and physical aggression, the former Qing dynasty architectural marvel continually deteriorated into complete ruin. By the turn of the 20th century, the only remaining visual reference of its original state was a set of 20 engravings that showed selected building facades. No plans, sections, or other architectural data were available. The situation changed dramatically in the 1930s. Within a few years, researchers of different backgrounds—Chinese, American, and French—began publishing their research on the European-style pavilions and displaying materials that had never appeared before the public. This article examines the sudden emergence of those visual archives and reveals some of their interestingly intertwined stories. Furthermore, by discussing ways in which the new archives contributed to a rereading of the old ruins, it also explores a long-standing paradox in architectural history: How, in reality, did historians connect what they saw on paper to the buildings that no longer existed?

Battle of the Angels / Dürer
Sigrid Hofer, "The Dürer Heritage in the GDR: The Canon of Socialist Realism, Its Areas of Imprecision, and Its Historical Transformations," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 109–26.

Existing research on art in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) presupposes that socialist realism was established as a normative quantity from the start and that Albrecht Dürer served as the paradigm of an emerging national style for the GDR. In contrast, this essay demonstrates that there were different levels of aesthetic discourse, only partly in accord with one another, and that socialist realism was asserted and virtually wished into being, rather than being clearly delineated. This context is vital to an understanding of contradictory phenomena such as the Dürer festivities of 1971, which proposed as a role model an apparently humanistic social-revolutionary art, while simultaneously advocating for the replacement of the predetermined, narrow framework with the "range and diversity" of a liberalized art doctrine.

La Cédille qui Sourit logo stamp / Brecht
Natilee Harren, "La cédille qui ne finit pas: Robert Filliou, George Brecht, and Fluxus in Villefranche," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 127–44.

In the summer of 1965, Fluxus artists George Brecht and Robert Filliou opened a back-alley shop in the French Riviera town of Villefranche-sur-Mer called La Cédille Qui Sourit, or "The cedilla that smiles." The Cédille sold unique objects produced there by the artists as well as books and editions from Fluxus, MAT Editions, Something Else Press, and others. Yet this "non-shop" (as Filliou called it), which looked more like an atelier than a store, was never commercially registered, and opened only by appointment. The experiment failed within three years. This essay sees the Cédille as a momentary flowering of the model of Fluxus's "artworks-in-flux" into an alternative, anti-instrumental, artist-run economy of production, distribution, and exchange, developed in response to the expanding capitalization and exploitation of art and artists in the 1960s. Aspects of the Cédille discussed in this context include ephemera, writings, and objects such as the suspense poems, the "Non-School" of Villefranche, the café-genius, the gifting project, and the cedilla grapheme itself. Finally, Brecht and Filliou's activities at the Cédille are considered alongside Hannah Arendt's writings on labor, work, and action, especially in regard to the latter's relationship to politics, art, and culture.

Acquisitions and Discoveries

Läufer from the Schembartlauf of 1508 / Büch
Marcia Reed, "Fireworks and Fish Baskets: The Schembart Festival in Nuremberg," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 145–52.
Digital Mellini
Murtha Baca, "Digital Mellini: Project Update and Observations on Translating Historical Texts," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 153–60.

Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam / Merian
Stephanie Schrader, Nancy Turner, and Nancy Yocco, "Naturalism under the Microscope: A Technical Study of Maria Sibylla Merian's Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 161–72.
Design for deluxe teakettle / Schneider
Marlyn Musicant, "Mass-Produced Merchandise and Standardized Stores: Karl Schneider's Designs for Sears, Roebuck and Co. (1938–45)," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 173–80.
The Waste Land title page / Eliot
William Tronzo, "Clement Greenberg's Inscription," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 181–86.
The Museum in the Sky Becomes a Reality / Santlofer
Mara Gladstone, "Marcia Tucker and the Birth of the New Museum," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 187–94.
. Back of postcard from The Reassurance Project / Pope.L
Rebecca Peabody, "The Reassurance Project: William Pope.L in the Archive," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 195–200.
Overflow: A Reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s 'Fluids' / LA Art Girls
Donna Conwell, "Overflow: A Reinvention of Allan Kaprow's 'Fluids' by the LA Art Girls," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 201–10.
Duet Section / Rainer
Jennifer Bornstein, "Disappearing Act," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 211–18.
Pacific Sun / Demand
Thomas W. Gaehtgens, "The Aesthetics of an Incident: Thomas Demand's Animated Film Pacific Sun," Getty Research Journal, no. 4 (2012): 219–25.