On October 5, the Silver Strand Art Group headed for the hills of Malibu to visit the Getty Villa. They began with a leisurely lunch in the Cafe. The Art group loves art, but they also enjoy the chance to socialize with friends and neighbors over good food.
Lunch at the Getty Cafe: Left to right: Clarissa Cervantes, Angela Durrant, Maritza Rodriguez, Doris Chin, Cindy Carlin, Nora Nicosia, Hugh Chin, Lenore de Buono, Joyce and Nate Nahmias, Bob and Pattie Barrett, Beverly Pazuk and Ruth Rutkin.
The group was lucky enough to have Marilee Karlsen (shown pointing on the right), Silver Strand homeowner and co-Chair of the Art Group as a guide. Marilee has been a docent at the Getty for the last three years and knows the museum inside and out. After lunch, everyone seated themselves on the steps of the outdoor amphitheater listening to Marilee, as she gave a history and introduction to the museum, including a talk about its founder, J.Paul Getty, the industrialist listed as the 67th richest American men in history who made his fortune in the oil business.
Alfred Elmore, Pompeii, A.D.79. 1878. Collection of Yale Center for British Art. Photo Courtesy Getty Villa, Malibu. Painted centuries after the event, showing a mother and daughter in repose. Note smouldering Vesuvius in the background.
The group then went into the Villa, where Marilee talked about the domestic life of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the ways they decorated their homes. Then it was on to view the special exhibition, The Last Days of Pompeii. From the second floor balcony of the Villa, they had a spectacular view of the garden below and the Pacific ocean in the distance.
The tour continued with a visit to the Getty’s collection of ancient glass. It was a very warm day –and so the walk around the outer peristyle garden was left for a future visit. Above a Greek or Roman glass bowl made in 100-1 B.C. Photo courtesy the Getty Museum
The visit concluded with a look at the extraordinary sculpture of the Lion Attacking the Horse on loan from Rome. This is the first time this work has left Rome in 2000 years. One of the earliest recorded works of ancient art on the Capitoline Hill, it was much admired by Michelangelo who pronounced it “most marvellous.” As the group walked into the east garden, Marilee described the drama of how the sculpture had to be lifted by crane over the wall of the garden and rolled to where it was placed in the atrium.
Little Known Fact about the Getty Villa:
J. Paul Getty’s grave is sited on the westernmost promontory of the Getty Villa property with a beautiful view of the ocean. He was married and divorced five times. Getty rests here with two of his sons, Timothy and George Getty who predeceased him. The grave is off-limits to visitors.
Getty was born in Minneapolis in 1892. He bought a ranch in Pacific Palisades in 1943 which in 1954 would become the future site of the both the original Getty Museum (now the Getty Center in Brentwood) and the present Getty Villa. He became an anglophile and settled in England from around 1952 until his death in 1976. Although he financed the building of the Villa, he never visited it following its completion.