Guide for Constructing the Letters k and l (detail), illuminations by Joris Hoefnagel, 1591–1596. Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum


  European Columbines and Sweet Cherry, script by Georg Bocskay, 1561–1562; illuminations by Joris Hoefnagel, 1591–1596. Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Because it's almost spring: a book bursting with nature

The exquisite Renaissance manuscript Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta, or Monument of Miraculous Calligraphy, is the result of a unique partnership between two different artists. From 1561 to 1562 the master calligrapher Georg Bocskay created a book with hundreds of scripts in many different languages and alphabets, and more than 15 years after Bocskay's death, the artist Joris Hoefnagel illuminated the pages with lifelike and wondrous illustrations of plants and insects from around the world.

In this podcast episode, retired Getty senior curator of drawings Lee Hendrix discusses how Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta exemplifies Renaissance attitudes toward art, science, and knowledge.

Listen to the podcast »


  Ready to Order? 1978, The Waitresses. Photo: Maria Karras. The Getty Research Institute, 2017.M.45. Gift of Jerri Allyn and Anne Gauldin, The Waitresses

Breast dressed

In the late 1970s artist Anne Gauldin created the "Breast Dress"—a pink waitress uniform adorned with 13 latex breasts molded from friends' bodies. The dress is now a much-discussed piece of feminist history, having ties through Gauldin to the Waitresses, a performance art group, and to the Woman's Building, an epicenter of feminist art in the 1970s. The dress is also in the Getty Research Institute's special collections, and conservator Rachel Rivenc and team are in the midst of conserving it. "It's such a quirky and interesting object," Rivenc says. "And one that tells a really great story."

Take a trip back to L.A.'s 1970s feminist art scene »


  Vermont Knolls historic district. Photography by Stephen Schafer for HistoricPlacesLA

Tired of your same old, same old neighborhood walk?

Getty staffer Julie Jaskol has made it part of her daily pandemic routine to take a neighborhood walk with her husband. "But we felt like we were wearing a groove along too-familiar sidewalks," she recalls. Desperately seeking new areas to explore, she consulted the website HistoricPlacesLA and learned about Vermont Knolls, a neighborhood founded in 1928 featuring colorful storybook houses. HistoricPlacesLA, the first online system to inventory, map, and describe L.A.'s significant cultural resources, has since led Jaskol to many more delightful places.

Find new neighborhood walks »


  Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Rialto Bridge (detail), c. 1496, Vittore Carpaccio. Tempera on canvas. Archivio fotografico G.A.VE—"su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali—Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia"

The Black gondoliers of Renaissance Venice

The painting Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Rialto Bridge by Vittore Carpaccio is one of the most fascinating depictions of contemporary life in Renaissance Venice. It also affirms that Black African men frequently worked as gondoliers, since boats were the most common way of getting around the city. As curator Davide Gasparotto tells us, those Black men might not have been servants or enslaved workers, as was common then, but instead, freed men who had become professional boatmen.

What art historians do and do not know about Black Africans living in Renaissance Venice »


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