Friday, May 2, 2014

Getty Villa Visit

Today, we address to future tourists and we will present the Getty Villa. To be honest, if you are only coming for a short stay, this museum is not part of the list of must-see places. However, if you are here a little longer or if you're passionate about antiquity, I recommend the visit!

The Getty Villa was built in 1974 by Paul Getty to house an impressive collection of antiques. The idea was to replicate the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum to replace objects and statues in their context and give the visitor feel like a trip back in time. The idea was pretty good, but the project was going badly because the architect does not even know what Herculaneum was! Finally, the result, although a little kitsch, makes pretty good, especially the modern part and the frame-set (see the photo of the entrance and the amphitheater). The museum now houses no less than 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan pieces in 23 permanent galleries and 5 temporary galleries. It is quite fun and educational, and also contains a learning space for children as well as an area for book consulting (paper and digital) . Collections are well presented and explanations given are clear, making it a great museum to visit. The other nice aspect of this museum is the development of outdoor spaces: it is organized around a patio and various gardens (East Garden, Herbal Garden and Great Garden) filled with various plants and also decorations (some too much) inspired /copied antiques.

Here are some photos to illustrate our explanations, starting with buildings:
Entrance of the building (with the sea at the back!)
The museum and its terrace
Here also below the museum gardens:
Patio extremity
Basin of the main garden
Main garden and the museum at the back
Overview of the main garden (with kitsch statues)
East garden (small outside garden)
Botanical garden
The designers of gardens have tried to recreate pleasure gardens and useful areas. That is why the garden has multiple flowers and basins to contemplate, but also medicinal and cooking herbs:
Asian basin (above which there were plenty of hummingbirds, but impossible to photograph!)
Inside the museum, exhibitions are organized by theme and you can both admire objects of everyday life as jewelry or art objects.
Statue of a Roman VIP
Statue of Hercules (piece that strongly influenced the creation of the museum)
Details of the Hercules' statue alcove made with different stones
One of the exhibition was focused on the death masks and mummies of Roman living in Egypt (or Egyptian bigwig under the Rome influence, I did not really know). I put the photos here, because I was very impressed by the preservation quality, but especially by the great quality of paintings which seem almost contemporary. I found that the expression of the deceased was so realistic that they seemed to be close. What do you think?

This painting makes me more think about the French Empire than antiquity, isn't it?
As for him, he could totally be our next door neighbor, right? (A little eccentric with his toga but I grant you!)
Another interesting part for me was the jewelry exhibition. Not so much for the historical side, I must admit, but for refined aesthetics and finesse of achieving them (including snake bangle which I am super fan). Some insights here:

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and gave a good overview of what you can see in the Getty Villa. In any case, we had a great time! (Including Jibouille who got a new friend).

Jibouille, Rome court, exchanging fashion advice with her new friend
Jibouille have added a button on his coat;-)

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