ancient Greece

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Mystery Cults and the Mother Goddess

Orphic Prayer Sheet / Greek
Orphic Prayer Sheet, Greek, 350-300 B.C. Gold, 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 75.AM.19. Gift of Lenore Barozzi

Only initiates could take part in the rites of the mystery cult, and they were forbidden to ever speak of what occurred. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Education, Getty Villa, Voices

Getty Voices: Digging the Sacred

Engraved Gem (Snake-legged Creature)
Engraved gem with snake-legged creature, Unknown, Roman, 200 - 400 A.D., The J. Paul Getty Museum.

“I can really appreciate the ancient system where borrowing, amalgamating, and generally mixing it up was perfectly acceptable.” More»

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

An Ancient Curse Revealed

Curse Tablet / found in Morgantina, Sicily
Curse Tablet, about 100 B.C., found in Morgantina, Sicily. Lead, 3 11/16 x 1 13/16 in. (9.4 x 4.6 cm). Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone

One small but powerful object stands out among the artifacts excavated from the ancient city of Morgantina in central Sicily, now on loan to the Getty Villa from the Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone and on view in Gallery 104…. More»

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

Seven Ways of Seeing “Lion Attacking a Horse”

Lion Attacking a Horse / Greek
Lion Attacking a Horse, Greek, 325–300 B.C.; restored in Rome in 1594. Marble, 150 x 250 cm. Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale—Musei Capitolini

In August, the Greek sculpture Lion Attacking a Horse flew over the back wall of the Getty Villa and took up residence in our Atrium. We have now lived with the sculpture for over three months, and are already lamenting… 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, Antiquities, Art, Education, Getty Villa

Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, and Why Your Kids Need to Know Classical Culture

A family visiting the Getty Villa explores ancient art, history, and mythology through frescoes from the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum.
Mosaic with boxers: A scene from the Aenied in which two boxers fight to a bloody end for the watching crowd. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 71.AH.106)

The adventure and derring-do of ancient myth is an easy sell to kids, and parents too for that matter. But I believe your kids need to know more. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art

Grit, Money, Glory: Olympics Then and Now

Athletes and Competition (Gallery 211) at the Getty Villa

This weekend marked the start of the 2012 Olympics, a spectacle with 10,500 Olympic and 4,200 Paralympic athletes in competition across 26 sports, from handball to taekwondo to the good old-fashioned pentathlon. The Olympics we’re familiar with today are an… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Getty Villa

What Did Ancient Music Sound Like?

Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus / Roman

Ancient works of art illustrate that music had a strong presence in daily life of classical Greece and Rome. Vase paintings and sculptures in the antiquities collection offer an eye-opening view of the variety of musical instruments that were played, as… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa

Reclining and Dining (and Drinking) in Ancient Greece

Getty Villa docent Don Petersen reclines on his left side, elbow raised on a stack of pillows, with his right knee bent. He holds a skyphos, a common stemless drinking cup.

Elite Greeks and Romans reclined to dine, and ordinary people copied them when they could. Although the practice seems strange to us, it must have been both comfortable and convenient, since reclining during meals spread throughout the Mediterranean and survived… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education

The Scent of Love: Ancient Perfumes

Frankincense tears, myrrh, stick cinnamon, and rose petals
Frankincense tears, myrrh, stick cinnamon, and rose petals

Make your own sexy scents inspired by the recipes of the ancients. More»

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      It’s been 125 years since Van Gogh’s death, today we celebrate his life’s work.


      5 Ways to See Van Gogh’s Irises

      Through observations, visitor conversations, and some sneaky eavesdropping, we’ve compiled the top 5 ways people enjoy this painting.

      1. In a Crowd
        One of the most obvious ways that people see the painting is in a crowd. The gallery is almost always filled, and you might have to wait before you can get up close. The anticipation builds as you start in the back row, and slowly move until you are close enough to see the brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s thick paint.

      2. Online
        David from Colorado said that this was his first visit, but he had already seen the painting online. In addition to being available through the Getty’s Open Content program, the painting is often seen on social media. Just search #irises on Instagram for a taste of the painting’s popularity. 

      3. Alone
        If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy. 

      4. Multiple Times
        Repeat visits can give rise to multiple interpretations. Is it a melancholy or joyous painting? Expressive or depressive? 

      5. Internationally
        Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour I heard multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. 

      What is your favorite lens to view Van Gogh’s work through? 

      07/29/15

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