Thanks to Jillian’s post about the availability of tickets to the finally open Getty Villa, I snagged some and went on Sunday morning. Even though I had to drive all the way from Mt Washington (beyond the standard east side) it was well worth the drive to get there early.
Back when I lived in Santa Monica and did the corporate commute up PCH to Thousand Oaks, I would pass the Getty Villa twice daily. I’d zip by with my convertible top down and catch glimpses of the renovation, only dreaming of the day they opened it. Well, lady luck provided.
Parking was a breeze in the morning. We meandered up the path from the parking structure and admired the gardens. The statues were a bit creepy with eyes painted that really looked like they were watching. It was a small but nice collection of antiquities (I guess I’ve been spoiled with trips to the British Museum and onsite visits in Greece and Egypt). There was a mummy on display.
Upstairs, the antique photos of classic archeological sites (like the acropolis) brought back memories of my own photos of the exact same scene almost 100 years later. What struck me was the standing power of the ruins. They looked exactly the same in the brown and yellow prints as in my color ones. It made me nostalgic for my teenage visits of the Pyramids and various Egyptian temples along the Nile. (The very ones that almost coaxed my college studies toward Egyptology.)
The exhibit of ancient glass was exquisite. It was truly amazing to see work that was handcrafted so long ago. But the real gem of the trip was the bronze statue of an athlete. Not only is the statue in near perfect condition, the guard who was watching it was extremely knowledgeable. I wish I could remember his name, but he truly loved the piece and when I asked him about it, he could tell me all kinds of information.
I asked why his legs were broken off and he explained that most statues were mounted in a block of stone and when the statue was taken, the legs were most likely broken off. The room also had to be extremely dry. The statue was in a special room that took humidity out of the air so that you could walk all the way around the statue.
My favorite part of the entire villa was the open roof in the entry room. I loved that all the water fountain spigots had animal faces. The open roof in the entry room was no different. I wish I could have been there on Monday when the rain was pouring to see those animal mouths spilling water down 20 feet of open space into the catching pool.
If you’ve got a chance to check it out, I highly suggest it.