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Getty Villa Museum
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We went to the Getty Villa in Malibu today, a whole gaggle of us from Emerson. As usual, it was well organized, up to a point, that is. Everything to do with Emerson seems to have an underlying substratum of anarchy, and today was no exception. I think we like our slightly chaotic way of doing things--not completely random, but within a given set of parameters, unpredictable, as chaos theory describes it.

The artwork was stunning, though the "newness" of everything was off-putting. I guess I expected the museum surroundings and the villa itself to have a patina of age and a well-used air about them. One of my companions pointed out that, to the Greeks and Romans, the items would have been new (except for the statues and things that were antiquities even to them), or at least well kept up by a whole staff of slaves.

I reminded them that in Roman times (first century A.D. and earlier) the statues would have been painted garish colors and not always in good taste. At least one of the pieces of statuary (a table shaped like two griffins eating a doe) still had substantial traces of paint on it, since it was an indoor piece, maybe used for rituals only.

The most satisfying part of the whole trip was the Villa's atrium. It remains much as I remember it from the 1970's (when I visited it for the first time), except that the shrubbery and other plantings have matured into fully grown plants and the statuary, benches and fountains have lost the brand-new look. Much more satisfying and not so slick.

The pottery--amphorae, kraters, etc.--were exquisite. Definitely worth a second trip. Maybe in a couple of years, when the plantings in the herb garden have really taken root and the new ampitheater and other structures have weathered a bit.

Definitely something to look forward to!

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