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Review- “Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World”- a MUST SEE exhibit at the Getty Center

 by

Leticia Marie Sanchez

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Getty Center, Los Angeles

14 May – 18 Aug 2019 

LionsLions, from a bestiary, around 1250. Tempera colors on parchment. The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Ms. Bodl. 764. Fol 2V

What makes the Getty stand out from other American museums is its ability to consistently execute transportive, immersive artistic experiences for museum goers. Whether it is the art of ancient Egypt or works from the Middle Ages, the Getty takes audiences through a visual time machine to an all encompassing world.

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The vibrant outdoor staircase leading to Book of Beasts heralds the magical, fantastical creatures that we are about to see. Inside the exhibit are more than one hundred works depicting the Medieval Bestiary, an Encyclopedia of animals that proved to be one of the most popular illuminated texts in northern Europe during the Middle Ages. Curated by Elizabeth Morrison, Senior Curator of Manuscripts at the Getty Museum with Larisa Grollemond, Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the Getty Museum, the exhibit includes illuminated manuscripts, tapestries, stained glass, ivories, and metalwork.

The fantastical creatures include Griffins, Dragons, Bonnacons, Lynx, Sirens, Centaurs, and Sea Serpents. No creature is more central to this exhibit, however, than the Unicorn, which Dr. Morrison referred to as a “Medieval Meme” because the image was so widely recognizable to audiences at the time. The bestiary interprets this creature, usually portrayed alongside a Virgin, as a symbol for Christ, who was born to a virgin. The medieval hunters attacking the unicorn represent Christ’s death and Crucifixion.

Unicorn from Ashmole

To the left: Unicorn from Ashmole Bestiary (text in Latin), English, about 1210-1220, artist unknown. The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Ms. Ashmole 1511, fol. 14v

While at the exhibit, make sure to look closely at the pages of the manuscripts which vastly differ from Biblical texts due to the density of images per page. For instance, medieval Biblical texts only contain one image per page, while the Bestiary overflows with images. Most exciting to see are the moments in the Bestiary when the text and the images begin overlapping, a dynamic representation of unstoppable inspiration.

Finally, the last section of the Bestiary- the Legacy of the Bestiary- demonstrates the immense impact that the medieval bestiary has had on the works of modern and contemporary artists including Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Claire Owen, and Damien Hirst.

pray

Do not miss Kate Clark’s Pray, an unsettling, yet compelling modern fusion of animal and beast.

At left: Pray, 2012, Kate Clark, antelope hide and horns, foam, clay, pins, thread, and rubber eyes. Collection of Chet Robachinski and Jerry Slipman. © Kate Clark

The Entry of the Animals into Noah's ArkWalking through the various rooms of the exhibit, whether looking at Walton Ford’s Grifo de California, the illustrated texts of Apollinaire, or the sumptuous painting of Jan Brueghel the Elder, the influence of the Book of Beasts has been profound.

At Left: The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark; Jan Brueghel the Elder (Flemish, 1568 – 1625); 1613 Oil on panel; Object Number: 92.PB.82; 54.6 × 83.8 cm (21 1/2 × 33 in.) 

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Saturday Mornings at the Opera- German Opera Tales

Shapeshifting Hat

Bravo to LA Opera for yet another engaging children’s event!!Last weekend, I took my son to the German Opera Tales, where we heard Mozart’s “Abduction From the Seraglio,” Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,”and Wagner’s “Das Rheingold.”

As always, the entertaining cast kept the young crowd engaged with their humor, energy, and wit. 

I am always impressed by the rapt attention of many children, including toddlers, during an hour long session of three different operas.

Prior to the musical performance, the children had a chance to practice singing in German with an opera singer and do crafts related to the operas of the day.

Yet another spirited day at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion!

Another LA Opera phot

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In the news: Picasso in the garbage? An art thief named Spiderman?

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

FLASHBACK TO AN ART CRIME NEWS STORY FROM 2011

Picasso’s “Le Pigeon aux Petits-Pois” stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art 

Sacré bleu!

Is nothing sacred ?

A Parisian art thief confessed that he dumped more than $134 million dollars worth of art in a garbage bin.

The stolen works, including paintings by Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Matisse. and Leger were looted from the Paris Museum of Modern Art.

Apparently the paintings were destroyed with the rest of the day’s trash.

The sticky-fingered art thief got cold feet after his cohorts in the art spree began to be questioned by police so he dumped the masterpieces in the garbage. Not even the recycling bin, mind you.

Now here is where the spurious story takes an even more sordid turn.

The thief’s ally in gaining the stolen treasure was a 43-year-old wall-climbing Serbian who managed to climb inside the museum. The clueless security guards outside were oblivious to the masked intruder within the museum walls strolling around for more than one hour cherry-picking works to his heart’s delight.

His nickname?

Spiderman.

For the full story, please read:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-france-art-garbage-20111010,0,7870046.story

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KUSC Kids Discovery Day at the Natural History Museum

 Kids Discovery 3 CCHby

Leticia Marie Sanchez

Kudos to KUSC for designing the Kids Discovery Day at the Natural History Museum!

Kids Discovery 4 KUSC

My 4-year-old son had a blast checking out instruments at the Instrument Petting Zoo with LA Phil affiliates! He also enjoyed taking Anatomy of a Violin 101 with the very informative members of Metzler Violins, where we able to see the construction of a violin firsthand!

We were able to listen to the sounds of the American Youth Symphony in the Mammal Hall. Hearing woodwinds playing while sitting among Antelope and Polar Bear added a dose of kid-friendly wonder to the event!

And of course, my son was thrilled to meet one of our favorite radio hosts, Gail Eichenthal!

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What an exciting musical day!!

Kids Discovery 2 CCH

 

Photography © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

 

 

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Moonwalking at the Piccolomini Library, Siena

In honor of World Book Day- a ThrowBack Tuesday to Moonwalking at the Piccolomini Library, Siena

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Scruffy tennis shoes tread on crescents more than five centuries old. Half-moons fade under the weight of so many soles. Has no one thought of plexiglass? The 16th century ceramic crescents on which tourists so casually trample represent the emblem of a powerful Sienese family, the Piccolomini.

The Piccolomini Library honors 15th century humanist and scholar, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, also known as Pope Pius II.

The ceiling and walls, with their luscious scarlets and blues, remain vibrant as ever, shockingly, when one discovers that they have neither been cleaned nor retouched.

Bernardino di Betto, more commonly known as Pinturicchio, created the glorious frescoes depicting the life of Pope Pius II. If you walk closely enough, you will observe glittering textures of gold emanating from the robes, collars, and belts of Pinturicchio’s subjects, a window to Renaissance splendor. The sculpture of the Three Graces, its effective juxtaposition of sacred and profane, underscores the secular Humanistic spirit of the age,

Piccolomini or “Piccoli uomini” means “Little Men” and Pinturicchio translates as “the Little Painter.”

Once you enter the library doors and begin your moonwalk, you will instantly forget these misnomers. Greatness abounds.

 

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Study: A Child’s Brain develops faster with exposure to music education

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Researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) at the University of Southern California conducted a 2 year-study that illustrates that exposure to music and music instruction increases the rate of brain development in  young children. The study focused on the areas of the brain responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.

The study began in 2012, when neuroscientists started monitoring a group of 37 children ages 6-8 years old. Thirteen of them received music instruction through the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Program

The researchers compared various groups by tracking the electrical activity in the brains, conducting behavioural testing and monitored changes using brain scans.

“The results showed that the auditory systems of the children in the music programme had accelerated faster than the other children not engaged in music. Dr. Assal Habibi, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at the BCI, explained that the auditory system is stimulated by music and the system is also engaged in general sound processing. This is essential to reading skills, language development and successful communication.”

Here is the link to the study:

https://musiceducationworks.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/a-childs-brain-develops-faster-with-exposure-to-music/?fbclid=IwAR0SzBN_7Vn49sJWAIl1T_G4syP6g-2bL-PVtWpjKbtnipSwZILufy4bQcA

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Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day- photo from a stroll at the Getty Villa-

Photography  © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Lily Pad.Getty Villa jpg

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Top Ten Art Forgery Facts


Top Ten Art Forgery Facts

From Venable Art Law co-chair, Joshua Kaufman’s lecture,

“The Art of Deception: Art Fakes & Forgeries”

held at Christie’s Beverly Hills 

#1 Art Forgery VS. Collaborating with the Enemy

imagesProfessor Kaufmann commenced his lecture with the case of notorious Dutch painter Han Van Meegeren, one of the most talented forgers of the twentieth century who was obsessed with the work of Vermeer.

After World War II, Van Meegeren was arrested and accused of collaborating with the enemy because he had ostensibly sold Dutch cultural property, a Vermeer painting, to Nazi leader Hermann Göring. This crime carried the ultimate punishment, the death penalty. Van Meegeren confessed that he had, in fact, forged the painting, which carried with it the much lesser charge of one year in prison. According to Kaufman, a dubious judge responded, “Prove it to me. Paint me a Vermeer.” Under the watchful eyes of the police Van Meegeren created his masterpiece. The work was brought into the courtroom, and Van Meegeren was acquitted of collaboration charge. He was subsequently charged and arrested for forgery despite the fact that many supposed art experts insisted that the work in question was an authentic Vermeer. Kaufman’s lecture depicted Van Meegeren’s zealous dedication to creating the perfect forgery. Van Meegeren concocted his own paints (contemporary paints would have been a dead giveaway) and even devised a badger hair paintbrush to mimic Vermeer’s style. He then donned his metaphorical chef hat and baked the painting in the oven in an attempt to age the canvas with cracks. Noteworthy in his modus operandi: Van Meegeren never copied an existing Vermeer painting, he only created works “in the style of Vermeer.” Spurious, but clever.

 # 2) Fakes have always been with us

280px-She-wolf_suckles_Romulus_and_Remus

To illustrate this point, Kaufman discussed the Romulus and Remus sculpture from Rome’s Capitoline Hill. This work, depicting the mythological founders of Rome, was thought to be a sculpture from the 5th century. The sculpture’s ancient authenticity was debunked by radiocarbon testing in 2007 which proved that it was actually created between the 11th and 12th century.

 

 

 #3)  Albrecht Dürer’s warning to forgers

220px-Albrecht_Dürer_-_1500_self-portrait_(High_resolution_and_detail)

In 1511 Albrecht Dürer warned, “Beware, all thieves and imitators of other people’s labour and talents, laying your audacious hands upon our work.”

Despite Dürer’s outraged warning, Professor Kaufman revealed that his work was constantly copied.

In fact, in the “The Art of the Forgery” (Phaidon Press) Noah Charney notes that Dürer brought the first artistic intellectual property lawsuit in Venice. What is exceptional in that case was that Dürer took an artist to court (Marcantonio Raimondi) who had not only copied one of his prints, but was brazen enough to also forge the artist’s trademark, the letters AD which Charney described be first artistic trademark! Collectors often purchased Dürer’s work on the strength of this trademark. So, talented artists have to be on the lookout not only for those who forge their works, but their trademarks as well! 

 

#3)         Fakes and Looted Art

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3/4′s of the the looted art from Syria turned out to be fake, according to Professor Kaufman.

He revealed that this transpires when there there is neither a government nor a legitimate market to regulate the art.

 

 

 

 

 

camille-corot.jpg!Portrait#4) The most forged artist is Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

 Professor Kaufman made the tongue-in-cheek jab, “Corot painted about 800 paintings in his lifetime, of which 8,000 ended up in private collections.”

 

 

salvador-dali.jpg!Portrait

# 5)  Salvador Dalí was part of the problem

Kaufman noted that Salvador Dalí signed 15,000 blank sheets. Perhaps Mr. Dalí’s intention was not nefarious, as he may have intended to use them for future authorized lithography. However, many of his artistic associates, and possibly even his wife Gala signed deals which resulted in unregulated publication of his works; it was this step that opened the door to the unfortunate mass forgery that resulted from this practice. Sadly, the market was flooded with Dalí fakes. 

 

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# 6)   The Tate was involved in a Bizarre Art Forgery (love) Triangle

The first triangle involved Con Man John Drewe, art forger John Myatt, and the prestigious Tate Gallery. Drewe hired art forger Myatt to make paintings for him. As part of Drewe’s shady scheme to give an air of legitimacy to the fabricated works, he made a donation to the Tate, and the gallery opened its archives to him. He then inserted Drewe’s forgeries into the archives so that the paintings would be authenticated.

How did this spurious art forgery triangle get disrupted?

By an actual love triangle.

Drewe’s wife discovered that he was cheating on her. She found letters about forgery incriminating her roguish husband and called the police and the Tate Gallery.

The museum said it would take years to expunge their records of the false information. 

# 8) Crime sometimes pays if you are an art forger

Professor Kaufman joked, “Crime pays if you are an art forger.” He revealed that art dealer Glafira Rosales, the perpetrator of the Knoedler and Company forgery scandal was embroiled in 81 million dollars in crimes and yet, initially, only received three years probation.

# 9) Legal Issues in Forgery

 Professor Kaufman explained, “What is illegal is not replicating the work of an artist; the crime occurs if one takes credit for the work.”

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# 10)  Queen Isabella of Spain and fakes

Queen Isabella of Spain, according to Professor Kaufman, once sent the Pope a fake painting.

Should she have gone confession?

Better than facing the Inquisition, I suppose.

 

 

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Our hearts are with the people of Paris

Editor’s Note: Leticia Marie Sanchez

Devastated to read about the fire at Notre Dame

Remembering a peaceful morning stroll this summer with my son from Notre Dame to the bird market.

CNN’s latest report is that ”The entire wooden interior of Notre Dame Cathedral has been lost.”

https://www.cnn.com/…/nortre-dame-fire-oak…/index.html

What a terrible artistic loss.

Our hearts are with the people of Paris.

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This weekend’s MUST SEE- “20th Century Highlights” at Christie’s Beverly Hills

 

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Culture Lovers, do NOT miss a Cultural Cocktail that blends a dash of David Hockney, a fizz of Frank Stella, and blend of Basquiat. Shaken, Not Stirred.

A thrilling artistic experience featuring the works of artists including: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jonas Wood, David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol to Balthus, Man Ray, Georgia O’Keefe and Fernand Leger.

You will have a chance to view highlights from the Post- War and Contemporary, Impressionist and Modern and American Art sales, ahead of major New York auctions in May.

Together, the exhibition encompasses over $120 million worth of art and represent various collections, including those of S.I. Newhouse and Drue Heinz.

Christie’s welcomes all to the exhibition free of admission.

CCH selected this as a MUST SEE experience, because when else do you have the chance to view (in one space) so many seminal works that have been in private collections before they head back to (likely) private collections? It is a rare opportunity to view museum quality work spanning artistic movements all in the same room!

Sat, April 13: 10am – 4pm | Sun, April 14: Closed Mon, April 15: 10am – 6pm | Tues, April 16: 10am – 6pmOn View until Tuesday April 16

Lichtenstein

Christie’s Los Angeles 336 N. Camden Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210

And, my fellow art detectives, tune in next week for a full report on “The Art of Deception: Art Fakes & Forgeries” by Art Law expert  Joshua Kaufman, an intriguing discussion which was held at Christie’s

Left: Robert B and Beatrice C. Mayer Family Collection

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

Kiss III

64X 48 in. (162.6 X121.9 cm)

Painted in 1962

 

Above: Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale | 15 May 2019

The Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Family Collection

Andy Warhol, Liz (Early Colored Liz)

synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 1963 

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