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The De Pauli pharmacy overseen by Mercury, Salomon Kleiner, 1751. The Getty Research Institute, 861133


  The De Pauli pharmacy overseen by Mercury (detail), Salomon Kleiner, 1751. The Getty Research Institute, 861133

The Art of Alchemy

Through February 12, 2017 | The Getty Center
The element mercury has played a crucial role in both artistic and scientific alchemical practice since antiquity. Associated with the Roman god Mercury—the patron of invention, art, pharmaceutical medicine, and secret knowledge—the element's mysterious, slippery qualities captivated alchemists around the globe, and made it an essential part of laboratory experimentations. Representations of Mercury also conveyed a practitioner's expertise, as can be seen in this 16th-century watercolor of the De Pauli family apothecary on display as part of the exhibition The Art of Alchemy, in which a ceiling fresco of the god advertises the chemist's knowledge and fluency in the alchemical art of medicine.

Gallery tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. through December 15, and resume in January 2017.

Find out more about the exhibition.


  Still from ASCENT, 2016. Courtesy Fiona Tan and Antithesis Films. Photo: Collection of Izu Photo Museum

ASCENT: A Film by Fiona Tan

Film Screening and Conversation | January 10, 2017
7:00 p.m. | The Getty Center
GRI Artist in Residence Fiona Tan's art-film project ASCENT makes its North American premiere as part of the GRI's Art on Screen series. Comprised of over 4,000 photographic stills from the past 150 years, diverse and striking images enshroud and reveal the film's central visual of Mount Fuji to explore the role of photography and film, the role of geography on culture, and how memory is constructed through these relations. Tan joins the GRI's Rani Singh for a discussion following the screening.

Reserve a free ticket.



Japanese Zen Buddhism and the Impossible Painting

Yukio Lippit
In this book, professor Yukio Lippit investigates the dichotomy of Japanese Zen art through one of the genre's most iconic works, The Gourd and the Catfish (ca. 1413). Zen Buddhism emphasizes the concept of emptiness, yet a prolific amount of artwork has been created in relation to Zen thought and practice, resulting in a tradition of self-negating art. To illustrate this, Lippit conducts a subtle investigation of the painting's koan-like subject matter—a man engaged in the nonsensical task of catching a catfish with a large gourd—as well as its innovative technique and the literary and artistic responses it inspired.

Pre-order this title.

Watch Yukio Lippit discuss this painting during a lecture from 2014.


  Copy of a letter dated November 4, 1911. The Getty Research Institute, 2012.M.54 (bx. 1339)

Knoedler Gallery Letter Copying Books Available Online

NEH-Funded Digitization Complete
Copies of letters sent by the New York office of M. Knoedler & Co. from 1890 to 1940 have been digitized and are now available through the GRI's online catalog. The content of these letters provides a glimpse into the business and personal dealings of one of America's oldest and most preeminent art galleries. Cataloging and digitization of the Knoedler Gallery Archive began in January 2013 and was completed with partial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In total, over 120,000 digital images from the archive—including stock books, commission and sales books, and now the letter copies—are freely accessible online.

View the letter copying books and all the digitized materials from the Knoedler Gallery Archive.

Learn how these books were digitized.

  Pancho Villa wearing a sombrero, photographer unknown, undated. The Getty Research Institute, 2001.M.20

Tom Mahoney Research Materials on Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution, 1890–1981

Finding Aid
Newspaperman and journalist Tom Mahoney's unpublished book and its related research on Mexican Revolutionary general Pancho Villa form the nucleus of the Tom Mahoney Research Materials on Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution. Materials from the book, which Mahoney began working on in the 1920s, include a partial typescript with the working title P-a-n-c-h-o V-i-l-l-a Bandit...Rebel...Patriot... Satyr, a paste-up of photographic illustrations, and extensive research files with clippings from revolution-era and post-revolution Mexican and American newspapers. Additionally, Mahoney's files include research related to many of his magazine publications.

Browse the finding aid.


  Joan. M Schwartz from Queen's University, Ontario at the Getty Center, 2016.

Photo Archives V: The Paradigm of Objectivity

Videos from February 25–26, 2016, Symposium
Photographic reproductions of artworks and other research objects have long been considered neutral documents capable of supporting art historical scholarship. However, with the introduction of digital imaging—which is considered higher in fidelity and thus presumed closer to representing the original object—an even higher possibility now exists that the image has been manipulated through technology. The neutrality of photographic reproductions, archival practices, and concepts of objectivity were the topics of debate at the two-day "Photo Archives V" symposium held at the Getty Center and the Huntington Library earlier this year.

Watch the videos.


The Art of Alchemy

Lecture and Colloquium | January 18–19, 2017 | The Getty Center

Provenance: Exposing the Spoils of War

Lecture and Book Signing | January 25, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. | The Getty Center


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