The past and present of mural painting on display at the Getty

The past and present of mural painting on display at the Getty

From 31 May to 4 September 2022, the Getty Museum presents two complementary exhibitions that help to understand the history of mural painting, from the Renaissance to the present.

Source: Getty Museum, Malibu — “Hitting the Wall: Site Study Proposal”, Judy Baca. Colored pencil on paper, 28 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. Courtesy of the artist Judith F. Baca and the SPARC Archives SPARCinLA.org, L.2022.9

“The Lost Murals of Renaissance Rome” features several works from the Getty Museum’s collection, including “Early Life of Taddeo Zuccaro,” a series of drawings by artist Federico Zuccaro that, according to the Getty Museum, “vividly convey the tough life of a young artist in Renaissance Rome, being designed for frescoes in the Palazzo Zuccari, a 16th-century palace that Federico intended to be a hostel for young artists visiting the city. The series highlights the key role of facade murals in the artistic life of the city, and culminates with Taddeo’s success as a mural artist himself.”

“Taddeo Decorating the Façade of the Palazzo Mattei”, ca. 1595, Federico Zuccaro (Italy, ca. 1541–1609), Pen and brown ink and brush with brown wash over black chalk and touches of red chalk, 25 × 42.2 cm, Getty Museum

Centuries later, “Hitting the Wall: Women in the Marathon” was created by Los Angeles artist Judy Baca in celebration of the 1984 Olympic Games, the first that allowed women to run the marathon. Destroyed in 2019, which caused a great deal of controversy, it was restored in 2021 following a lawsuit filed by the artist. The Getty Museum exhibition “presents Baca’s step-by-step process for bringing her mural to life in vivid color, including preliminary sketches, detailed perspective drawings, vibrant colorations, and an actual-size reproduction of a part of the mural.”

“The facade murals of Renaissance Rome were some of the greatest treasures of the city, and they have now all-but-disappeared from five hundred years of weathering,” explained Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It’s astonishing that Los Angeles, which can claim to be one of the mural capitals of the world, has an extraordinary array of murals, such as Baca’s Hitting the Wall, that are barely preserved and often overlooked. These exhibitions not only demonstrate the precarious fragility of murals but also the importance of preserving them.” #2022 #JPaulGettyMuseum #theartwolf

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