Saturday, August 18, 2007
Since I was in the neighborhood last week I spent a day touring the newly renovated Getty Villa in Malibu. Built in 1974, it was designed to replicate the Roman residence Villa dei Papirir, which was remarkably preserved after being buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Getty built the Villa to house his spectacular collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. When the Getty Center opened in 1997, the Villa was closed for renovations. It took nine years and a staggering $275 million to bring it to its current glory.
The colonnade and reflecting pool.
An interior anteroom.
Artisits' renderings of the original villa in Herculeum.
The interior courtyard and herb garden.
The East Garden with mosaic stair fountain and traditional bronze fountain in the center.
Detail of the Corinthian columns and fresco work on the ceiling. They just looked too new to me. What do you think?
I was surprised at the pristine newness of all of the surfaces. It was apparent that the architects and designers were going for authenticity of how the Villa would look when it was first completed in 38B.C. To me, it seemed almost too polished and pristine. I would have liked to see some patina added to the surfaces. I realize this shows an ignorance on my part. Expecting to see a film of age on anything historic is something that is ingrained in my sub-conscious.
In my defense - viewing the many ancient relics, statues, frescoes, and mosaics housed within the Villa it was almost a shock to the system to view all of the buildings in their virginal, untouched, condition.
Despite this incongruity it is well worth the trip. The view of the ocean alone is spectacular. The Cafe offers a remarkably tasty menu with gourmet salads a specialty - It is California after all. Parking is $8 and admission is free - however you must reserve a ticket in advance as admission is limited.