About: Kenneth Lapatin

I'm associate curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specializing in Greek and Roman art. In 2009 I curated the exhibition Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems at the Getty Villa and was guest curator of Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Currently I'm developing exhibitions on the modern reception of Pompeii and other sites destroyed by Mount Vesuvius, a Roman silver treasure from France, and monumental Hellenistic bronze statuary.

Posts by Kenneth

Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum

In Search of the Berthouville Treasure

Map of France showing the relative locations of Paris and Berthouville

The present whereabouts of the Berthouville Treasure are not a mystery. In December 2011 this priceless hoard of ancient Roman artifacts discovered by chance in the French countryside over 180 years ago was temporarily transferred from its permanent home in the… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum, Research

Deciphering the Getty Hexameters

Jens Daehner, associate curator of antiquities (left), and Sarah Morris, professor of classics and archaeology at UCLA (right), take a close look at the Getty Hexameters.

Scholars from as far away as England and Holland and as near as Westwood recently gathered at the Getty Villa to decipher and discuss an enigmatic ancient Greek text inscribed on a now-fragmentary lead tablet. These so-called “Getty Hexameters” date… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: You Look Like Hell

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Escaping the in-laws or medieval Sea World? It’s actually an extreme punishment for a dress code violation. 

      Here’s the full story:

      The Christian tale of Saint Josaphat is roughly based on the life of the Buddha in a kind of medieval game of telephone, in which the sources for the text passed through Christian circles in the Middle East in the 8th century before appearing in European versions in the 11th century. 

      Here an unsuitably dressed guest—we can see that his tattered clothing and scruffy facial hair have no place at the well-dressed gathering—is cast into the dark, open mouth of a terrifying animal. 

      To make matters worse, the story is a parable in which Barlaam, Josaphat’s Christian teacher, describes the sinful who do not make the cut at the Last Judgment.

      Holiday Lesson: Always check the dress code.

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.


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