On July 10, 2016, I visited the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. My aunt volunteers there on the weekends, so she was excited to take me on a personal tour through the many different sections of the museum. Though I had always wanted to visit the Getty, I went this time with the lectures from this class in mind.
Top: J. Paul Getty Museum (entrance)
Bottom Right: Proof photo with my aunt (volunteer)
I first entered the North Pavilion, which featured artwork from before 1700. During the Italian Renaissance, artists began using mathematics to create realistic proportions in their paintings and sculptures. Filippo Brunelleschi developed the first correct formulation of linear perspective and introduced the concept of vanishing point. Artists used perspective to draw the audience's attention to the focus of the image, whether it be a person, an object, or a scene. I saw evidence of this mathematical principle being used in several paintings.
In Cupid and Pan, Italian artist Federico Zuccaro took inspiration from a quote from the Roman poet Virgil, "Love conquers all." Zuccaro paints the struggle between Cupid and Pan, a representation of the conflict between love and lust, in the center of the image. The lines of perspective in the painting all converge towards the center of the image. Therefore, the viewers unconsciously focus on the center, on the conflict. In addition, he uses perspective to create a sense of distance on a two-dimensional surface. The figure in the sky is painted with fainter colors in order to make it seem farther away than the central action.
Cupid and Pan (Oil on canvas), attributed to Federico Zuccaro
I even tried my hand at drawing an image from different perspectives. At the Sketching Gallery, a workspace for curious visitors, I first noticed how the artists created different versions of the same image, depending on where they were sketching. Different views of the sculpture led to varied shading, highlighting, and angles in the many sketches. Perspective was also distinct in each drawing. I found this very interesting because though the subject was consistent, not one sketch was the same as another.
A replica of the Juggling Man sculpture at the Sketching Gallery
I saw the most collaboration between technology and art in the more contemporary works of art. One of the more recent exhibitions, "In Focus: Electric!", photographs were displayed in which the creators used both natural light and artificial light to create art.
Billboard promoting the "In Focus: Electric!" exhibition
(Note: viewers were prohibited from taking pictures so I used images found from the web)
Naoya Hatakeyama, a Japanese artist, had several photographs featured from his solo exhibition "Maquettes/Light". These images depicted city lights in a black and white setting and were printed using gelatin silver print, creating an illusion in which the photographs seemed to light up.
Naoya Hatakeyama's “Maquettes/Light #5121”, created in 1997 using gelatin silver print, B&W transparency, UV filter, Light box
Another example of an artist using light and photography to create fantastic images is Barbara Morgan. She applied long exposure photography, a fascinating technique known as 'Light Painting'. There is something hypnotic and beautiful about using light as the paintbrush.
In fact, I was so amazed by the displayed photographs that after attending this exhibition, I went home and tried to make my own long exposure photographs using a flashlight and a camera!
Barbara Morgan's Pure Energy and Neurotic Man, printed in 1971 using gelatin silver print
Overall, my experience at the J. Paul Getty Museum was fun and eye-opening. Viewing art for the first time after the recent lectures was different from before because I contemplated the methods that artists may have used to make the images more aesthetically appealing to the audience.
"Barbara Morgan." MoMA. The Museum of Modern Art, 2016. Web. 17 July 2016.
J. Paul Getty Museum. 1974. Exhibit. Los Angeles. 10 July 2016.
"Artists - Naoya Hatakeyama." Taka Ishii Gallery. Taka Ishii Gallery, 2006-2016. Web. 17 July 2016.