Monday, December 13, 2010

Getty Villa in Malibu

Sat - Dec. 11th

J. Paul Getty purchased 64 acres overlooking the coast near Malibu in 1945. Soon his vast collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities outgrew his home. In 1968 he decided to recreate a first-century Roman country house to display his growing collection. The Getty Villa is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

The pictures show walking in the front entrance and walking straight thru the atrium to the inner peristyle and out to the gardens and fountain on the opposite side.

This is the inner peristyle. Getty had five wives and one son by each wife. Two of the sons died, one is conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, one runs the oil industries and one is in Europe in some business. Getty spent $17 million building this villa and left a trust fund to support it for public enjoyment and education. It is free, but they charge $15.00 for parking. It was completed in 1974. Getty died in 1976 without ever seeing it. He was living in Europe at the time.

This is the fountain and gardens. When Heculaneum was excavated there were 1700 scrolls discovered that were over 2,000 years old. Like Pompeii, lots of things were perfectly preserved under the lava and ash. Bodies had completely decayed encased in a crust of ash. They were able to pour plaster into the hollow and get an exact replica of what was originally there.

This is an exact replica of an alter. There are 1200 works of art in the museum plus rotating exhibits. The galleries are arranged by theme, including gods and goddesses, theater, pottery, jewelry, Trojan War, athletics, etc.

This is a mosaic floor with a boxing scene from a villa in France A.D. 175.

This is a statue of Aphrodite 425 to 400 A.D. that is being returned to Sicily this week. It is the last of 40 items that have been returned because they were illegally taken from their country of origin.

Roman statue of Zeus A.D. 3 to 300. In Roman times they would have 3 course dinners that started at sunset and lasted till sunrise. Each course consisted of a dozen different items. They thought anything alive or growing was edible and would serve such things as stuffed dormouse. Everything was eaten with their fingers as they reclined on couches or pillows. Wine was mixed with water and honey. Servants brought basins of water to wash fingers.

This is a Roman sarcophagus (coffin) 210 to 230 A.D. They even had the actual mummy of someone named Heraclaedeys on display. I'm not sure I spelled that right.

The walkway on either side of the swimming pool. According to city ordinance any public pool that is over 18 inches deep requires a fence and a lifeguard. So this pool is only 17 inches deep, unlike the original in the Villa dei Papiri (papyrus) named for the scrolls that were found.

From the walkway at this end of the pool there is a view of the ocean.


1 comment:

  1. An employee at the Getty owned Pierre Hotel in New York City wondered why there were so many Germans being hired and staying at The Pierre during World War II. He called the FBI and the FBI charged J.P. Getty with Espionage; FBI File 100.1202, June 26, 1940. 2003 documents declassified by UK Warfare Ministry reveal that in Oct. 1941 the pro-Nazi Jean Paul Getty employed and lodged Nazis at his Pierre Hotel in New York City; Nazis who were involved in spying on and sabotaging Allied Forces’ war production plants. 43,000 people were killed in the UK while J. Paul Getty was in Berlin still shipping oil to Hitler five months before Pearl Harbor; December 7, 1941. As aristocrats with treasures of art were executed -- beginning in 1933 -- with the outbreak of war; Getty assiduously added to his vast collection with the Nazis. The Rembrandt of Marten Looten hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Gainsborough of Christie purchased in 1938 is at The Getty.