Italian writer and poet Gabriele Tinti shares his poem about human strength and fragility inspired by the Getty bronze, Statue of a Victorious Youth.
Actor Robert Davi reads “The Victorious Athlete,” by Gabriele Tinti.
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The Victorious Athlete
garland of olive?
where the judge
on your head
the precious wreath?
we are not even
given to know
who you are
your haughty yearning
is lost in the void
the contest is deserted
the shouts and the glory
all is calm
there where you are
all is vain
and all disappears
and you too
will not be able
to save yourself
from that darkness
where there is no more
past or future
where there will be no more
possible memory of man.
Recording and poem courtesy of and copyright Gabriele Tinti, used with permission.
my name is: Lala Ragimov
i make: Drawings, paintings, gem engravings, jewellery, sculpture, prints
i’m sharing: A copy after Boucher and two copies after Rubens done with the help of the Getty’s database of high-resolution images of the collection. It’s an invaluable resource for my own studies and for art classes I teach.
what inspires me about the getty is: The art collection, the wonderful, thoughtfully curated shows, but also the unique atmosphere that feels removed from the hurried everyday reality. It feels like a better, more refined, cultured and inspired world. The curator and restorer tours, rare or non-existent at other museums and regular at the Getty, also provide important inspiration as a chance to ask those experts questions and hear their opinions.
Last but not least, the Getty has an amazing research library that I have been using for the past ten years to study the techniques of the masters and simply to look through good art books, old and new, to get further inspired.
to me, inspiration is: A feeling of a rush, a sharp longing to create something that has certain characteristics of the object, person or environment I am looking at or thinking about. It can also come as a wish to possess the object/characteristic that is fulfilled by creating its copy; or to “talk” to it by creating an artistic response. It feels very similar or even equivalent to being in love.
I find inspiration in old art and in the spirit of learning and research that exists in museums. I am also inspired by nature as I see it in life, as it is described by modern science, and of course as it is shown in art from ancient to modern.
my name is: Renée Graef
i make: Illustrations for children’s books
Renée Graef makes imaginary worlds come alive. Her vivid illustrations bring us closer to beloved characters from history and fiction including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Paul Bunyan, and American Girl’s Kirsten doll. She’s also designed gaggles of irresistible animals, from puffins to badgers to elephants. This summer she’s been at work on the paintings for Thérèse Makes a Tapestry, a children’s book that takes you back in time to the golden age of tapestry weaving in France.
“To inspire is to fill someone with spirit, the spirit to create,” she told us. “When I’m inspired, it moves me to look at things differently, to make something beautiful.” She invited #GettyInspired to her studio space to see her illustrations-in-progress for the soon-to-be-released book Thérèse Makes a Tapestry by Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs, and then visited the Getty to show us some of her favorite paintings.
my name is: Kate Berlant
i make: People laugh.
what inspires me about the getty: I’ve always tried to burst through any and all moments by making some grotesque face or gesture. I remember coming to the Getty to see the James Ensor exhibition, and I was so drawn to his works. I felt so connected to all of those grotesque faces, so funny, and yet unbearable to look at in certain ways.
I find “the grotesque” to be interesting, as I can’t really separate it from being a woman, wanting to be pretty, and using a hideous face to disrupt that feeling. I remember being maybe fifteen and I would do these faces, and my mom was like, “Is that voluntary?” She was worried that it was an involuntary tick. And I was like, no. I’m deliberately trying to interrupt how you consume me. It is a way to desexualize oneself in our culture.
to me, inspiration is: I’ve been thinking about the Chuck Close quote “Inspiration is for amateurs.” I like this quote a lot in relation to stand-up comedy in particular. I’m inspired by the idea of committing to performance—repetition inevitably breeds difference, and so doing stand-up constantly you are destined to see yourself change, hopefully for the better. Repeating the action even when it feels painful is liberating.
A poet and librarian in Hollywood, Michalle Gould contacted us on Twitter to share her poem “I Spit in the Lock and the Knob Turns,” inspired by Gustave Moreau’s watercolor Diomedes Devoured by Horses.
She accepted our invitation to visit the Getty and record her poem for #GettyInspired. (That’s her in the sound booth.)
I Spit in the Lock and the Knob Turns
I spit in the lock and the knob turns.
A wire stretches between two towers,
but is it before the walk, or just after
a person has fallen? In a painting,
a man is devoured by his own horses,
after teaching them to love the taste
of human flesh. I was once told that
being shot feels just like being slapped.
I never felt the needle going in, but now
my jaw aches at the site of the injection.
The artist’s signature is neat in the corner,
impassive to the horror his brush has
depicted; the man’s body surprisingly white
and clean, as if he had turned to statue
when the mares’ jaws clamped down on him.
His blood streaks instead over his violated cloak,
down to where a hoof still tramples it,
a quite delicate pink turning red, like the flesh
of a fish where it is caught up against a wire net.
“A shame,” says the woman behind me.
“It was once such a beautiful piece of fabric.”
Title and first line from Frank O’Hara’s “Meditations in an Emergency.”
i am: Pompeyo Cepeda
i make: Pottery
what inspires me about the getty is: The black and red Greek vases at the Getty Villa are a feast for my eyes. This is one of the reasons I love working with clay; the life of these vessels is practically forever. These ancient artworks inspire me to try new techniques.
to me, inspiration is: I used to think that inspiration was gained when one sees a beautiful image, but I have come to terms with myself and decided that inspiration comes while observing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing. It is possible to find inspiration almost by every action of my quotidian life.
I have not made any pottery in the last five months, all I can do is wait. I know that it will arrive at the right moment at the right place. A recent bronze-making course at the Getty helped me get on track, and in the right observational mindset.
I’ve already sketched out some things I’d like to make sometime soon.
my name is: Eric Garcetti
i make: Improvisational jazz
You might not be surprised that mayor Eric Garcetti loves L.A. What you may not know is that he fills his office with the best of Los Angeles creativity—art by Ed Ruscha, furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, photographs by Julius Shulman.
The mayor is also a classically trained pianist, and his office features a piano that belonged to his grandmother. “I turn to this piano in between meetings, maybe when I have a little bit of desk time,” he told us. “Not often enough, but it helps exercise a different part of my brain… and inspir[es] me to get in touch with something that’s more transcendent.”
Hear the mayor’s latest jazz composition and stroll through the Julius Shulman prints outside his office in this #GettyInspired video.