Getty Adds Roman Portraits, a Book of Marvels

Portrait Head of a Young Woman, Roman, about 170-190 AD. J. Paul Getty Museum
The Getty Museum has acquired two Roman portrait heads of young women. A late second-century portrait, formerly in the collection of Lewis M. Dubroff and on loan to the Metropolitan Museum, is striking for its psychological conviction. The Getty press release cites the "unresolved expression, which seems to oscillate between alertness, reservation, pride, and anticipation" and holds the unknown artist to be "one of the best portrait sculptors of their generation." 

An earlier, Augustan-era work is a copy of the head of the so-called Small Herculaneum Woman in Dresden. Sotheby's auctioned the head for 309,000 Euros in 2018. 

Head of a Young Woman (Small Herculaneum Woman type), Roman, about 25 BC–25 AD
New to the Getty manuscripts collection is a 15th-century French Book of the Marvels of the World illuminated by the Master of the Geneva Boccaccio. Another copy of the popular text, with illuminations by the same artist, is in the Morgan Library.

Marvels of the World is a digest of medieval travelers' tales. In one illumination, hunters stalk giant snails. A panorama purporting to represent India combines an elephant and ducks with a unicorn, a centaur, dragons, dog-people, and a burning man. 

The Roman portraits are to go on view at the Getty Villa this spring, and the Book of Marvels will appear in an upcoming manuscripts rotation.

Master of the Geneva Boccaccio, Traponee in Book of the Marvels of the World, about 1465-1470

Master of the Geneva Boccaccio, India in Book of the Marvels of the World, about 1465-1470


I have no luck accessing the object file on Getty's web site for its new acquisition, of a Portrait Head of a Young Woman, 170–190, Roman. Marble, 12 3/4 × 6 1/4 × 7 3/4 in. Getty Museum, VL.2021.3.
This should not be so hard. I found the accession number by opening the link to the museum's press release. So, I thought, easy peasy, lemon squeezy...I'll just input the accession number on the Getty's home page. But the message came back: no record found.
I wanted to learn more about the woman's Sphinx-like countenance; the bust's exhibition history; the publication history; the radical shift in color between the woman's neck and the head proper. Also, are there documented examples in other collections of this unknown sculptor's ouevre? Should this artist be named "The Master of the Getty Young Woman Bust"?
I also wanted to confirm the venue for the object: is it on display in the Malibu Villa? Or at the main branch in LA? [By the way, what is the policy on where newly acquired antiquities get placed?] If it's not in Malibu, why not?
Anyway, it's frustrating in 2022 that digital resources for museums are so opaque.
Ugh. I'm gonna write a strong letter.
Anonymous said…
> is it on display in the Malibu Villa?
> Or at the main branch in LA?

The blog owner notes, "The Roman portraits are to go on view at the Getty Villa this spring." That's where the Getty's Roman/Greek antiquities have always been displayed. The Villa is the original facilities of the Getty Foundation.

I'm guessing that the records of the museum/foundation are updated only at set periods of time? If so, they really shouldn't. Staffers should be revising logs at a faster pace.

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