About: David Saunders

I’m assistant curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the forthcoming exhibition Aphrodite and the Gods of Love. Previously, I curated The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani and Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze. Exhibitions aside, my main research interests lie with ancient Greek vase-painting and the history of restorations.

Posts by David

Posted in Ancient World, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa, technology

“A Great Passion for Old Stones and Walls”

erechtheion

Snapshots of Greece’s ancient monuments from an era before photography. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives, Editor's Picks, Getty Villa

Hopes for a Happy Hereafter

Funerary Vessel with Phrixos on the Ram
Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung. Photo: Johannes Laurentius

How did ancient Italians think about death and the afterlife? More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Art & Archives

Plato’s Academy Awards (or, What the Ancient Greeks Have to Do with the Oscars)

Attic Panathenaic Amphora, 490 -480 B.C., Greek. 25 9/16 inches by 15 7/8 inches. J. Paul Getty Museum.
Attic Panathenaic Amphora, 490 -480 B.C., Greek. 25 9/16 inches by 15 7/8 inches. J. Paul Getty Museum.

What do the ancient Greeks have to do with the Oscars? More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

Three Ways to Avoid the Freeways: Transport Advice from Apulian Vases

Funerary Vessel with Phrixos on the Ram, 340–310 B.C., Attributed to the Phrixos Group. Created in Ceglie del Campo, Italy, Apulia. Terracotta, 18 1/2 in. diam. Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung. Photo: Johannes Laurentius
Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung. Photo: Johannes Laurentius

Sick of driving? Hitch a ride on these mythical creatures. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

If Statues Could Talk…

Statue of Tiberius in the Men's gallery at the Getty Villa / Roman
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro

There’s a new emperor in town—an 8-foot-tall bronze Tiberius, to be exact. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Art & Archives, Manuscripts and Books, Voices

The Search for Cyrus

Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58
Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58

A look at the representations of king Cyrus of ancient Persia in the Getty’s manuscripts collection. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives, Voices

Understanding the Cyrus Cylinder | Getty Voices

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa / Achaemenid
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Curator David Saunders attempts to fit the need-to-knows about the Cyrus Cylinder into a nutshell. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Has History Got Roman Emperor Tiberius All Wrong?

Tiberius at the Getty Villa

Outrageous criminal or misunderstood victim? A new exhibition finds the man behind the scandal. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Art & Archives, Getty Villa

A Winged Chariot, Wilshire Boulevard, and a Shipwreck: The Travels of Triptolemos

Display case at the Getty Villa featuring Red-Figure Neck-Amphora with Triptolemos Attended by Demeter and Persephone
Display case at the Getty Villa featuring, at center, Red-Figure Neck-Amphora with Triptolemos Attended by Demeter and Persephone, about 440–430 B.C., attributed to the Hector Painter. Greek, made in Attica. Terracotta, 19 1/4 in. high. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, William Randolph Hearst Collection (50.8.23)

Retracing the travels of a beautiful Greek vase, from Naples to England to Los Angeles by way of a near miss with the sea floor More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art & Archives

Is That Available as an e-Book? Scrolling through an Ancient Text

Attic Red-Figure Cup Fragment
Attic Red-Figure Cup Fragment (detail); Akestorides Painter, Greek (Attic), active about 470 - 450 B.C.; Athens, Greece, Europe; about 470 - 450 B.C.; Terracotta; Object (greatest extent): 6.8 cm (2 11/16 in.); 86.AE.324

An ancient depiction of a classroom and the mysterious marked letters on a scroll; but what do these letters mean? More»

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      Clocking in at a giant 400 square feet, this tapestry, Triumph of Bacchus, teems with tiny details and hidden narratives.

      Here are just three:

      • At bottom center, Bacchus poses on the world’s largest wine fountain.
      • To the left, a sad, Eeyore-like donkey waits for satyrs and men to unload grapes from his back.
      • To the right, a rowdy monkey rides a camel that carries wooden barrels—presumably to be filled with wine.

      The tapestry is one of the highlights of the exhibition Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV. (L.A. folks: final weekend!)

      More on The Iris: A Tour of the Triumph of Bacchus

      Triumph of Bacchus (overall view and details), about 1560, design by Giovanni da Udine under the supervision of Raphael; woven at the workshop of Frans Geubels, Brussels. Wool, silk, and gilt metal-wrapped thread. Courtesy of Le Mobilier National. Image © Le Mobilier National. Photo by Lawrence Perquis

      04/29/16

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