Gardens and Architecture, Getty Villa

Seeing the Villa Gardens in a Different Light

The East Garden at the Getty Villa at dusk

Magic hour in the East Garden at the Getty Villa

Long evenings and bright sun are taking the place of early dusks and sprinkling rains: spring is here. At the Getty Villa, the light is brilliant even at closing time for a final stroll around the gardens, framing the museum against a cerulean sky.

But is sunshine overrated? Garden historian Patrick Bowe, co-author of the book Gardens and Plants of the Getty Villa, says that to appreciate a garden, we have to experience it in all its moods—emerging ghostlike from a misty fog, lit aflame by an orange sunset, reflected in a fountain dancing with raindrops. Especially at the Villa:

Up to now, photographs of the Getty Villa gardens have always been photographs of the gardens in bright sunshine. And so people who’ve seen pictures of the gardens over decades have associated the garden with the time of the day when there’s bright sunshine…[But] a garden needs to be looked at in different times, and different times of the year. It’s a living composition, depending totally on the light of the moment, and so I think it needs to be experienced in different lights—and therefore different moods.

That’s why Bowe and his co-author, horticulturist Michael DeHart, chose unusual photographs of the Villa gardens for their book, with views from unusual vantage points and under different clouds and suns.

The Getty Villa Outer Peristyle at sunset

The Outer Peristyle at the Getty Villa in dense fog

The Getty Villa Museum building in fog

Hear more from Patrick in this video interview, where he reflects further on the garden as a living creation both horticulturally and historically. Happy spring!

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      chivalry-project:

      The Chivalry Project in Person

      Join us Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, for the first two installments of our free manuscript-making workshops with artist Becca Lofchie at the Getty Center. Create and illustrate your own rule of chivalry, be it newly invented or tried and true! Handmade rules will be featured here on The Chivalry Project tumblr.

      11am to 3:30pm both days.

      Also to see: Chivalry in the Middle Ages, which inspired the project.

      The Fourth Trumpet (detail), about 1255. (Text 2014.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig III 1, fol. 12v

      07/24/14

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