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

Apocalypse Then: Bulwer-Lytton’s “The Last Days of Pompeii”

Cover and illustration from Bulwer-Lytton's The Last Days of Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, A.D. 79, burying Pompeii and neighboring towns under tons of ash and volcanic debris. Rediscovered by accident some 1,650 years later, the Vesuvian ruins captured the imagination of artists and writers, who vied to… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Education, Getty Villa

Lindsey Davis on Writing the Ancient World

Novelist Lindsey Davis at the Getty Villa

Novelist Lindsey Davis has devoted her career to entertaining readers with zesty whodunits set in ancient Rome. Famed for her ability to evoke ancient life down to its sounds and smells, as well as for her clever plots full of… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations

A Tale of Two Beths

Christ and a Monk and Two Shepherds in a Franco-Flemish bestiary made about 1270. This page is on view in the exhibition Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands through February 6.

When you write novels for a living, as I do, you get used to making things up—places, plots, people. What you don’t expect is to hear back from one of those characters you’ve cooked up out of thin air. Imagine the… More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute

Frederic Tuten and Steve Martin Talk Art and Fiction


On October 12, novelist Frederic Tuten and actor and writer Steve Martin appeared at the Getty Center as part of the Getty Research Institute’s ongoing series Modern Art in Los Angeles. The evening was a not only a departure from… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Don’t Be So Crabby

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

      Jaws reference or some rather nasty surf and turf? It’s actually a depiction of the astrological symbol for Cancer.

      Here’s the full story:

      This peasant might be tired from working in the hot sun, but this is no time to go for a swim to cool off! 

      We all know there’s a risk of encountering creepy crawlers when out gardening, but that giant sinister lobster lurking in the water is actually a crab – the astrological symbol for Cancer. 

      Medieval prayer books often include a yearly calendar at the beginning of the text listing important feast days. Each month is usually accompanied by illuminations of seasonal activities and zodiacal signs, such as this one for the month of June.

      #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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