Thursday, August 06, 2009

Travel abroad in the Getty Villa

The Getty Villa in Malibu off the Pacific Coast Highway is exactly what it sounds like. It has the history of the Getty with the richness and luxurious feel of a Villa. From the moment you enter the museum you are greeted by a long water feature, a beautiful high ceiling, intricate floor work, and pillars all true to its ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria pieces. The entire museum carries on this ancient motif allowing the patron to feel as if they have stepped into the past.

The Getty’s newest rotating exhibits include The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani which is available until October 5, 2009 and The Chimera of Arezzo which will be featured until February 8, 2010. Both of these exhibits open the door to history.

The Golden Graves exhibit features jewelry, ritual figurines and other materials found in the graves of various people. By seeing what these individuals are buried with it gives a sense for what was considered important and what one could not live without. What is further intriguing about this exhibit is that the museum was able to collect features from all different types individuals. There are relics of a woman's grave, that of a young woman, a child and even a warrior giving insight to each specific individual. The woman was buried with three other women, presumably servants, and only she was buried in elaborate clothing with varies imported pieces from Athens. Then there is the young woman who was buried alone and had was found with local materials. Each person was different and had a different history.

In The Chimera of Arezzo exhibit the largest feature is the statue of the lion, goat, serpent monster whose fire breathing stories still live on. What I loved most about this exhibit, and maybe the entire museum, was the delicately painted books that told the story of this creature. The pictures were colorful and flecked with gold and the writing elegant. I wanted to break through the glass and flip the delicate pages, study the drawings and search for someone to translate. I felt so sad leaving the museum without being able to hold them in my hands.

While these two exhibits are main reason I went to the Getty, I was taken by surprise on what a wonderful place it was. There are great interactive opportunities for children of all ages (that includes the adults) and a play room where you can draw on vases, or color your own. There is also a shadow theater part where kids can put on a play for their parents. Kids will love it, the only problem is they may never want to leave.

Another clever addition to the museum is a trading street they created in the sculpture garden where people can go table to table trading and creating items. The first step is to get wood to trade for olive oil which you get to crush yourself, next you head over to the herb section and make your perfume and after that it’s time to play dress up and create necklaces.

The Getty Villa is located right near the beach so it's a great opportunity to get in some culture and summer fun. It really is not that far from the Third Street Santa Monica Promenade, so you can go shop and grab some food after your time travel adventure. But if you are hungry and don't want to deal with driving back to Santa Monica and parking, there is great cafe in the Villa.

So go explore the Getty Villa and the surrounding area while the suns out on our long summer days. For more events at Getty Villa, check out


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