Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Getty Center

During winter break, my mom took my sisters, my brother, and me to the Getty museum.  There were many different paintings and sculptures to see and learn about, but we only had time to see just a a few of them.  We also strolled around the garden which  had many different flowers, and one big cool maze. 

Getty Center

The Getty Center

The Getty Center trust purchased 750 acres of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in 1983.  The Getty Center opened to the public in December 1997.   The museum is built on top of a tall mountain and the only way to get to the Center is by tram. The view from the top was gorgeous.  We could see the entire city, from downtown Los Angeles, to the beach.  It was such a clear day, that we even saw Catalina Island. Since it rained the day before, we were able to see snow capped mountains in the distance. 

View of Los Angeles

View of Los Angeles

At the museum, we took a docent guided tour of the four pavilions starting from the more recent paintings and finishing with the oldest collection.  Here are the collection  highlights that the docent pointed out. 


The first painting we saw, was an 1889 oil painting called Irises by a Dutch painter named Vincent Van Gogh.  Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting a few months after he cut off his ear, and the townspeople took him to the hospital.  While he was recuperating from mental illness, he painted the Irises.  This is the only painting by Van Gogh in the entire Getty museum. 

In the same time period, we saw a couple of pastel paintings by a French painter named Edgar Degas.  We saw two of his paintings, both of dancers.  Degas often went to the opera and he painted their performances.  The two paintings we saw were called Waiting and Taking a Bow


Taking a Bow

Portrait of the Sisters

The docent then showed us an 1821 oil painting by a French painter named Jacques Luis David called Portrait of the Sisters Zenaide and Charolotte.   The sisters are nieces of the famous warier, Napoleon Bonaparte.  When David painted the portrait, Charolotte was fourteen and Zenaide was eighteen. The painting was sent out to men to let them know that Zenaide was ready to get married.

Next, the docent showed us two paintings by the Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.  The first was an oil 1632 painting called Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold Trimmed Cloak.  No one knows who the girl is, but people think she is a relative or someone who worked for Rembrandt.  The same girl is seen in a second painting sitting on top of the bull. This painting was also painted in 1632 and is called The Abduction of Europa.  The Greek God Zeus, transformed himself into a bull, stole a women called Europa, and took her to the city of Crete.     

The Abduction of Europa

Portrait of a Girl

 Then, we went into another gallery and saw an oil 1530 painting by the Italian artist Dosso Dossi called The Allegory of Fortune.   An allegory, is a story that represents something and in this painting everything is about fortune. The women represents fortune, and she  is sitting on a bubble.  The bubble represents that fortune can change at anytime just like a bubble can burst at anytime. The women is also holding a horn filled with food to show all the fortune she can bring. The man represents chance, and is holding lottery tickets for a chance to win big.  Just like the allegory, this painting also went through a lot of changes in fortune. It was first found at a flea market and purchased for a small amount of money. The buyer strapped the 7 foot painting to the roof of his car and brought it to Christie's auction house in New York City. The experts recognized that it was a famous painting and the buyer sold the painting for millions of dollars.  

The Coronation
 Finally, the docent took us to the final pavilion to see really old iconic paintings. We saw an altar piece probably created for a small chapel in 1390 called The Coronation of the Virgin with Saints  The gold color on the painting was made from very thin layers of gold called gold leaf.  What is interesting is that all the faces look the same, but the halos have the names of the saints.

After the docent tour, we went to see French furniture from the year 1748-1770.  Here are some of the photos that we took.



French Room

We also went to have some fun at the children's center and made some masks. Don't we look scary?

Finally, we had lunch in the garden.   At the bottom of the garden there was a flowering maze of 400 red azalea plants.

What paintings or furniture did you like the best?


  1. Dear Miriam,

    Thank you for your wonderful guided tour of "The Getty Centre".
    I felt like I was with you and your family on this breath taking tour.

    What a magnificent place it is.
    My favourite painting is Iries by Vicent Van Gogh. I just love all his art work because of the colours he uses to paint all his paintings. For I just love colour which he sure did have a talent for when he painted.
    Do you have a favourite painting you liked the most or painter?

    I also loved all the french furniture.
    I remember when I was in Trieste Italy I went on a tour of an amazing castle called the castle of Miramare. It was built by an Austrian Hungry duke. This castle had beautiful french furniture in every room of this castle.

    Beautiful post Miriam.
    From your blogging friend,

  2. Dear Miriam,
    It's wonderful that you enjoy visiting museums.
    I like Van Gogh paintings and some years ego we visited his house and now a museum in Amsterdam. We seen may of his original work, some day you also will have a chance to travel and see many wonderful museums.
    Great work!
    Love you,
    Grandma Tanya

  3. Dear Miriam,
    Artistic post.

    I love being creative especially with paint.

    I have never been to an art museum but I would like to one day.

    In Australia Van Goh has some panitings.

    My favourite painting was the painting take a bow.

    It was very nice and elegant.

    I also like the pictures you took.

    From your pal,

  4. Dear Miriam,

    I love the Getty Museum! Although, I've never been to its current location. I went to the one along Highway 1. I remember the marble and the architecture of that building even moreso than the art.

    You have written about some of my favorites, but I believe if I could only choose one, I'd choose Van Gogh. It might be because it reminds me of my mom. When she was alive, she once bought me a coffee mug and candle holder with a Van Gogh print on it. I love the colors he used.

    Fabulous post! Thanks for allowing me to think about beautiful creations and expressions.

    Kind regards,
    Mrs. Watanabe

  5. Dear Miriam,

    Those paintings are wonderful!

    My favorite pictures were the maze and the Tepestry.

    I liked your masks your sisters and brother made. They are so scary!

    Those artists are outstanding painters.

    Do you know any artist that painted in the Getty Center?


  6. Dear Miriam,

    I like the portrait of the two sisters the best. It is very smart that he painted the picture to let the men know that the older sister was getting married. I did not know that Irisis were the only paitning by Van Gogh.


  7. Aloha Miriam,
    I so enjoyed your wonderful tour of "The Getty Centre". You featured two of my favorite artists Van Gogh and Degas. Art was one of areas of study when I atteneded college and I still take time to do virtual tours but none can compare to yours.
    A Hui Hou Kakou(until we meet again),
    Mrs. Jacobs

  8. Dear Miriam,
    All of the paintings were so beautiful, I had a hard time choosing my favorite.I looked them over a couple times and I really like the one where you and your siblings are all wearing your scary masks. My second favorite painting was Taking a Bow by Edgar Degas. I liked all of the detail and colors. I am sure one day you will be the one taking the bow for all of your great work.

  9. Dear Miriam,

    All of those paintings were very interesting. I've never been to the Getty Mueseum, but it sounds like fun! Was it fun when you went in the maze? Have you ever been to a different kind of museum besides the Chumash Museum? Was this your first time at the Getty Museum?


  10. Dear Miriam,

    I ♥ your post about our local museum, The Getty. I have been to both of them and always enjoy myself.

    The room with Vincent Van Gogh's "Irises" is one of my favorite rooms at the Getty. There is a Monet one there and even a Rembrandt! Such beautiful works of art!

    Going with a docent is a great idea. They have a wealth of information and can tell you about the history of a painting. For example, the information about the Portrait of the Sisters was an interesting tidbit to learn.

    Can you imagine sleeping in the huge canopy bed? It is like a house!

    If the Getty let you have one piece from their collection (unlikely), which would you like? :-)

    Your proud teacher,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  11. Wow! That sounds cool! Isn't the ballet one in the picture book Olivia? I have to say I'm impressed that your posts are always so long! They are very good!
    Well, talk to you later!

    Your bud,

  12. @AA,

    Wonderful comment! My favorite painting was Taking a bow. I liked taking a bow because it had a lot of details and beautiful color.

    I also liked the furniture. I hope that someday I will also be able to visit the castle you went to. Wouldn't it be nice to have such furniture at home?


    Thank you for your wonderful comment. I also liked Taking a Bow.

    I didn't know you like paint. What kind of paintings do you paint? Do you use watercolor, pastel or oil?


  13. Dear Mirian,

    I want to thank you for this wonderful post. It has been many years since I went to the Getty Museum and it was wonderful to revisit them through your photographs. It also made me want to take my own children there so they can enjoy it, too. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Thanks again,
    Ms. Tatiana


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