About: David Saunders

I’m assistant curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the forthcoming exhibition Aphrodite and the Gods of Love. Previously, I curated The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani and Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze. Exhibitions aside, my main research interests lie with ancient Greek vase-painting and the history of restorations.

Posts by David

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

If Statues Could Talk…

Statue of Tiberius in the Men's gallery at the Getty Villa / Roman
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro

There’s a new emperor in town—an 8-foot-tall bronze Tiberius, to be exact. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Manuscripts and Books, Voices

The Search for Cyrus

Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58
Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58

A look at the representations of king Cyrus of ancient Persia in the Getty’s manuscripts collection. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Understanding the Cyrus Cylinder | Getty Voices

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa / Achaemenid
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Curator David Saunders attempts to fit the need-to-knows about the Cyrus Cylinder into a nutshell. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Has History Got Roman Emperor Tiberius All Wrong?

Tiberius at the Getty Villa

Outrageous criminal or misunderstood victim? A new exhibition finds the man behind the scandal. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Getty Villa

A Winged Chariot, Wilshire Boulevard, and a Shipwreck: The Travels of Triptolemos

Display case at the Getty Villa featuring Red-Figure Neck-Amphora with Triptolemos Attended by Demeter and Persephone
Display case at the Getty Villa featuring, at center, Red-Figure Neck-Amphora with Triptolemos Attended by Demeter and Persephone, about 440–430 B.C., attributed to the Hector Painter. Greek, made in Attica. Terracotta, 19 1/4 in. high. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, William Randolph Hearst Collection (50.8.23)

Retracing the travels of a beautiful Greek vase, from Naples to England to Los Angeles by way of a near miss with the sea floor More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities

Is That Available as an e-Book? Scrolling through an Ancient Text

Attic Red-Figure Cup Fragment
Attic Red-Figure Cup Fragment (detail); Akestorides Painter, Greek (Attic), active about 470 - 450 B.C.; Athens, Greece, Europe; about 470 - 450 B.C.; Terracotta; Object (greatest extent): 6.8 cm (2 11/16 in.); 86.AE.324

An ancient depiction of a classroom and the mysterious marked letters on a scroll; but what do these letters mean? More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

“Not Like a Coward”: Remembering a Warrior’s Death

Gravestone of Pollis / Greek
Gravestone of Pollis, Greek, made in Megara, about 480 B.C. Marble, 60 1/4 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 90.AA.129

The intimate association between being remembered and risking one’s life on the battlefield lies at the heart of Homer’s Iliad. The preeminent warrior Achilles famously chose to die young in battle and be forever honored, and this heroic code is well… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

A Roman Emperor Sojourns at the Getty Villa

Wheeling the Statue of Tiberius from the loading dock at the Getty VIlla

The Roman emperor Tiberius, who ruled from A.D. 14 to 37, has something of a reputation for wanting to get away from it all. In 6 B.C., he stepped out of the political and military arena and settled for seven… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

From Malibu to Cyprus and Back Again

Cindy Crawford, Ferre 3 Malibu / Herb Ritts

Having spent a good deal of time with Aphrodite of late, I found in Herb Ritts: L.A. Style a real feast—not just for the eyes, but for the mind. The two exhibitions overlap in their focus on the seductive allure… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Art, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Sleeping with Aphrodite

Relief with a Man and a Siren / Roman

One of the most enjoyable aspects of curating an exhibition is serendipity. Not to say these projects aren’t carefully planned (far from it), but sometimes the physical relationship of two artworks will coincide in an unexpectedly fortuitous way, or a… More»

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      Eye-to-eye with a devotional painting of Christ.

      This haunting and intimate portrait of Christ is both dramatic and spiritual. Less than a foot high, the panel was made for private use.

      See the full picture here.

       Eye-to-eye connects the peoples of yesterday to you through art.

      10/22/14

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