Getting Getty…

Our first day in Malibu California, we decided to go to the Getty Villa.  We had to make reservations, even though it was free, because the state of California only allows them to have a certain number of visitors each day.  They opened at 10am, and we reserved our tickets for 10:30. The tickets stated that unless we printed out our reservations, we were going to be denied entry.  Since we didn’t have access to a printer I was a little concerned when we pulled up, however they were very accommodating and used our confirmation email.  I find it interesting when the rules state one thing but when you’re interacting with people they can choose which rules to enforce. It’s definitely a good lesson to learn, it’s all about who you know and how you talk to people.

The Getty Villa is BEAUTIFUL! What an amazing place to visit on our first day! The villa was created by Jean Paul Getty, who became a millionaire by the time he was 23, in 1915. By the 1960s, his company Getty Oil became one of the largest oil companies in the world. Getty was a self-avowed non-conformist. He was always suspicious of conventional wisdom in business, art, and life. Others described him as an eccentric, a playboy, a genius, and a tightwad. He was famously married five times and had five sons.

“He collected art with the same eye for underappreciated value that he had for a salt dome covering a rich pool of oil deep beneath it. Prizing beauty for its permanence, he preferred the art of royals and aristocrats from western history: Greek and Roman sculpture, paintings of Renaissance masters, and furniture of 18th century European monarchs. Though he delighted in the tax deductions that accrued when he donated his art to museums, he also demonstrated a genuine desire to share his art with the public.

For years Getty traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East in search of oil and art. He converted part of his Ranch House in Malibu, California (today, Pacific Palisades), into a museum so that he could share his art treasures with the public. After 1951, he never returned to California, though he continued to call it home for another 25 years.

Late in life Getty conceived the idea of building a major museum on his ranch property. He decided that it would be a near replica of the Roman Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, which had been buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Critics derided the Villa as a gimmick when it opened in 1974, but the public loved it.

From his home outside London, Getty supervised its operations, approving every new acquisition. He proudly displayed the architectural model of the Villa but kept spending to a bare minimum, refusing even to pay for climate control for his works of art. Consistently, he cautioned the Museum’s staff that the institution would have to survive on the original $40 million endowment he had provided. He never revealed that in his will he had left virtually his entire estate to the institution in trust, giving it a greater endowment than any other museum in the world.”

When Getty’s will was opened in Los Angeles later that week, it stunned the art world. Contrary to what he had told the curators, Getty had left the vast bulk of his estate, worth nearly $700 million ($2.83 billion by today’s standards) to the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust.

The energy there was amazing. Each statue had a vibration to it that resonated a calmness. Hercules is the larges statue they had, and the most famous. I saw Venus, Aphrodite, Zeus, Nemesis, Hermes, Plato, Athena, and Apollo to name a few!

The floors in the villa were so intricate, and it was a joy to see sacred geometry everywhere! Each room took my breath away from floor to ceiling. I found myself just staring in admiration at all the amazing architecture!

The gardens were magnificent! They even allowed us to pick a few of the herbs from the garden to take back with us. I collected some Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Lavender and a few others. They had grape vines growing from trellis’, lemon trees, fig trees, and cumquat trees.

My favorite part of the Villa was the children’s interactive room.  Kids of all ages were able to draw on replicated greek vases made just for dry erase markers! This was a genius idea!! I had to play!

They also had a rubbings station with images of vases printed out, where you can choose an image and create a design.  There were raised and indented images which you created by placing your paper on top and rub a crayon over the image.

The most exciting part was this large velum screen that was lit up with a spot light behind it. They had foam props that you can choose from to create a silhouette play! I think I am going to use this idea in my classroom this year.  We could hang a large sheet and put on little plays based of certain themes.

Getty Villa was by far one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve visited. When I go back to Los Angeles I will make sure to visit the Getty Center Museum as well.

Malibu, CA, USA

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