funerary art

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Getty Villa

Which Hero Would You Choose for Your Coffin?

Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Life of Achilles / Roman
Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Life of Achilles, A.D. 180–220, Roman. Marble. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 95.AA.80

Three great heroes with equally great flaws. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Villa

Are Westerners Weird about Death?

19th-century mummy, Burgio, Sicily (detail)
Photo courtesy of and © Paul Koudounaris

“After the Enlightenment, we made a very determined effort to ghettoize the dead.” More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

Day Without Art: Reflecting on Art, Fragility, and Loss

Gravestone of Sime, Greek, about 320 B.C.

The frailty of the human condition—and the cruelty of untimely loss of life—is one of art’s oldest and most enduring themes. Every year on December 1, we’ve reflected on this theme for Day Without Art, an international day of observance… 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 you can hear 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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