Excited about riding the tram up through the trees above the 405 freeway and getting your first peek at the Getty Center? To travel through time while contemplating an illuminated manuscript from the 1500s or a photograph from the 1980s?
You’re not alone. Getty’s curators—the people who care for, research, and arrange the art you view—are also excited to walk through the galleries after more than a year working from home. These are the paintings, sculptures, and photographs they are excited to spend some time with when the galleries reopen.
The artwork I find myself missing is my good friend, The Seated Cardinal, who sits watching the Pacific Ocean with a stoic glance. With his head slightly veiled but still retaining a powerful glance, he sits in a location where I used to go to think.
Sometimes I would even find myself sitting in a position similar to his, overlooking the vast city below, but not truly taking in the sights, as does the Cardinal.
~ Aleia McDaniel, Manuscripts Department
In this time away from the Getty, I keep finding myself drawn to The Romance of Gillion de Trazegnies, which follows the improbable and mythical adventures of a knight as he journeys from his native Europe to the Holy Land and Egypt.
The images follow the soap opera-like story, with mistaken identity, bigamy by accident, twins, and everything but amnesia all playing a role. For the last year, every day has seemed very much like another, so Gillion’s thrilling travels and travails brought to life through a series of vibrant and engaging illuminations provide a kind of vicarious excitement that my life in lockdown very much lacks.
~ Elizabeth Morrison, Manuscripts Department
I can’t wait for visitors to see our new acquisition of a Beccafumi oil sketch on paper hanging in the galleries. They’ll be wowed! The hair is so extraordinarily abstracted and doesn’t seem to make sense close-up, but falls into context beautifully when you step back. The whole effect is so life-like that you expect him to turn his head and talk to you at any moment.”
~ Julian Brooks, Drawings Department
Oh, how I wish I could have taken the Bayard album and its 167 photographs home with me! If I had to choose just one image, it would be Lace Glove. The deep Prussian blue color of this cyanotype, the texture of the thin writing paper on which it was made, the intricate double layering of the folded lace at the top of the ring finger, the messy brown stains probably left by Bayard’s own fingers in the 1840s, and the handwritten inscription on the back of the photograph are all aspects that call for close, in-person scrutiny.
~ Carolyn Peter, Department of Photographs
Thinking about works in our collection I missed seeing last year, this red chalk drawing by Rembrandt is at the top of my list. This depiction of a female nude, with a large snake, swelling belly, clutched breast, and enigmatic downward gaze, beckons us find meaning in the tangle of lines.
~ Stephanie Schrader, Drawings Department
I will be excited to see this photograph in Mario Giacomelli: Figure/Ground, an exhibition I began preparing two years ago. Giacomelli’s most frequent subjects were the people and landscapes of Senigallia, his hometown on Italy’s Adriatic Coast. By introducing movement–of both the figures and his camera–he blurred the line between figure and ground.
~ Virginia Heckert, Department of Photographs
When I return to the Getty Center, I am going to spend a long time with Jean-François Millet’s Portrait of Louise-Antoinette Feuardent. Through months of research done during the lockdown, I learned a lot about the sitter–about her tragic early widowhood, her remarriage to one of Millet’s closest friends, and the fortitude she demonstrated in bearing thirteen children over a twenty-year period…and losing five of them in their first year or two. I’ve always admired the austere simplicity and sobriety of Millet’s portrait as a work of art, but it has now acquired, for me, an intimate and vulnerable human dimension that it never had before.
~ Scott Allan, Paintings Department
After working at home for months, nature and the outdoors (as well as the prospect of travel) hold great appeal. Among the many objects in the Museum’s collection I will be overjoyed to see again is Meindert Hobbema and Abraham Storck’s refreshing portrayal of a village nestled among majestic oaks. A Wooded Landscape with Travelers on a Path through a Hamlet is a large painting on canvas that invites us to embark on a journey through the hilly landscape around Overijssel, in the east part of the Dutch Republic. One feels tempted to step into the scene, onto the muddy tract, to be transported to a summer day, with a fresh breeze tossing the leaves of the trees, and patches of sunlight illuminating fresh turf and bright flowers near and far, to mingle with other travelers, herders, residents, their dogs, sheep and even a cat.
~ Anne Woollett, Paintings Department
One object that I will be excited to see again is an extraordinary wall clock made at the Chantilly manufactory north of Paris in the mid-1700s. It is an exuberant work of design incorporating a fanciful dragon, monkey and duck (!) nestled among flowers and foliage all made of fragile and, at the time, rare and expensive porcelain. The delightful combination of ingenuity, imagination and whimsy just makes me smile.
~ Jeffrey Weaver, Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department
I truly can’t wait for the Museum to reopen to have the Annunciation group by Giovanni di Balduccio on view again for our visitors. With their silent interaction, gentle moves, elegantly draped robes, subtle smile and almond-shaped expressive eyes, I feel they envelop viewers with serenity and peace, but it is only when you see them in the flesh that you sense their magnetic power on you. And in their own way they are impressive, unique survivors for these two medium scale statues escaped together, undamaged, from the destruction of the Italian chapel they decorated in the 1330s and from many dislocations during the past seven centuries.
~ Anne-Lise Desmas, Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department
See something you like? Make a note and visit the Getty Center starting May 25, 2021. Admission is free, and requires a timed-entry reservation. To make a reservation, visit the Getty Center admissions page.