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GVIL1_140721_007.JPG: Gods and Goddesses:
"Hail, children of Zeus! Grant lovely song and celebrate the holy race of the deathless gods who are forever, those that were born of Earth and starry Heaven and gloomy Night and them that the briny Sea did rear."
-- Hesiod, The Theogeny, about 680 BC
Ancient life revolved around religion and the worship of gods and goddesses, who inspired some of the greatest works of art. The Greeks and Romans believed that the gods lived on Mount Olympus and that they looked and behaved like humans. Although distinguished by their immortality and great powers, the Olympian deities developed friendships, fell in love, committed adultery, felt anger and jealousy, and suffered losses.
Many holy days were set aside for religious festivals and activities. Honors were paid and gifts were given to the gods to thank them for blessings received and to ensure future good fortune.
GVIL1_140721_036.JPG: The Marlbury Hall Zeus
Roman, AD 1-100
King of the Olympian gods, Zeus is depicted here as a powerfully built, bearded man seated on a throne. He originally held a scepter in his left hand and a thunderbolt in his right, symbols of his authority over the natural world. This Roman sculpture was inspired by the monumental gold and ivory statue of Zeus created by the Greek sculptor Pheidias (about 490-430 BC) for the god's temple at Olympia. The Olympian Zeus was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world -- praised by ancient writers and widely reproduced.
After this statue was found on the grounds of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy, in the late 1700s, it was used as the decorative centerpiece of one of the villa's fountains. The work was sold to James Hugh Smith Barry in 1781 and became part of his sculpture collection at Marbury Hall in England. Since then it has been called the Marbury Hall Zeus.
GVIL1_140721_048.JPG: Venus Genetrix
Roman, AD 100-200
The focal point of the forum of Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) in Rome was a temple to Venus Genetrix (Venus the Mother). The deity was believed to be ancestress to Caesar's family through Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome and Venus's mortal son. Emphasizing aspects of fertility, this statue shows the goddess of love wearing a sheer, clinging garment that exposes one breast and reveals the voluptuous curves of her body.
GVIL1_140721_053.JPG: Wall Fragment with Cupid Holding Arrows and a Situla (Bucket-Shaped Vessel)
Roman, AD 1-100
GVIL1_140721_071.JPG: Athena, Goddess of Wisdom:
Athena (Minerva to the Romans) was the virgin goddess of wisdom, warfare, and the arts and crafts. She was as skilled in spinning and weaving as she was brave in battle. The goddess was born fully armed from the head of Zeus (king of the gods). She is typically portrayed holding a spear and a shield and wearing a helmet and an aegis, a protective snakeskin cape.
GVIL1_140721_079.JPG: Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses
The cultures of the ancient Mediterranean primarily worshipped twelve divinities, who lived on Mount Olympius. The Greeks and Romans shared these gods and goddesses but called them by different names. Each deity had powers in particular areas, and in art each can be identified by attributes -- symbolic objects, animals, or clothing.
ZEUS (Greek), JUPITER (Roman)
King and father of all the gods
Attributes: scepter, thunderbolt, eagle
HERA (Greek), JUNO (Roman)
Goddess of marriage, queen of the gods
Attributes: crown, scepter, cow, peacock
DEMETER (Greek), CERES (Roman)
Goddess of agriculture and fertility
Attributes: grain, torch, crown
ATHENA (Greek), MINERVA (Roman)
Goddess of wisdom, warfare, and arts and crafts
Attributes: aegis, helmet, owl, olive tree
DIONYSOS (Greek), BACCHUS (Roman)
God of wine, vegetation, and theater
Attributes: grapevine, wine cup, thyrsos, leopard
HEPHAISTOS (Greek), VULCAN (Roman)
God of fire, metalworking, and artisans
Attributes: pointed cap, hammer, anvil, forge
APHRODITE (Greek), VENUS (Roman)
Goddess of erotic love and beauty
Attributes: dove, dolphin, Eros/Cupid
ARES (Greek) MARS (Roman)
God of war
Attributes: armor, chariot
APOLLO (Greek), PHOEBUS APOLLO (Roman)
God of prophecy, music, poetry, and youth
Attributes: lyre, laurel wreath, snake, bow and arrows
RTEMIS (Greek), DIANA (Roman)
Virgin goddess of the hunt, wild animals, and child birth
Attributes: bow and arrows, short dress, boots, deer
POSEIDON (Greek), NEPTUNE (Roman)
God of the sea, horses, and earthquakes
Attributes: trident, fish
HERMES (Greek), MERCURY (Roman)
God of travel and commerce, messenger of the gods
Attributes: caduceus, winged sandals, hat
GVIL1_140721_095.JPG: Luxury Vessels
"Fashions in silver plate undergo marvelous variations owning to the vagaries of human taste, no king of workmanship remaining long in favor."
-- Pliny the Elder, Natural History, before AD 79
Unlike crops, which could fail, or land, which could be seized, precious metals were a reliable form of wealth in antiquity. This was particularly true for silver and gold, metals mined throughout the Mediterranean region. Although objects fashioned from precious metals are often beautiful, their value was determined by their weight rather than their design. In fact, coins, like vessels, were frequently melted down so that their valuable material could be reused. A variety of techniques, including hammering, chasing, and repousse, were employed by fashion luxury vessels. Many of these techniques are still used by metalsmiths today.
Silver and gold tableware provided a measure of a family's wealth and status. They were displayed in the home and were used to impress guests on important occasions. Precious metal objects were also given as gifts to the gods. Temple inventories record numerous donations offered by the pious, including the fabulously rich Croesus, king of Lydia (ruled 560-546 BC).
GVIL1_140721_111.JPG: Grave Monument of Publius Curtilius Agatus, Silversmith; Roman, made in Italy A.D. 1-25, marble
Carved in high relief, a silversmith works at his craft. Holding a mallet (now damaged) and a punch, he fashions the figure of a dancing satyr on the outside of a small cup. His toga and ring indicate his wealth and status as a Roman citizen. The Latin inscription-- "P[ublius] Curtilius P[ubin] Agat[us] Faber Argentarius" --states his name and profession and the fact that he is a freed slave.
The style of this relief is typical of funerary monuments commissioned by freed slaves, some of whom were professionals with significant wealth. Such portraits were set into the facades of tombs lining the roads leading out of Rome. While most of these reliefs were carved in travertine (a type of limestone). Publius Curtilius was able to afford high-quality marble.
GVIL1_140721_140.JPG: Statues and Their Settings:
"[In the temple of Zeus at Olympia,] the god sits on a throne, and he is made of gold and ivory... In his right hand Zeus carries a Victory.... In the left hand of the god is a scepter, ornamented with every kind of metal, and the bird sitting on the scepter is the eagle."
-- Pausanias, Description of Greece, AD 174
Statues of gods and goddesses were worshipped in antiquity. Made of a variety of precious materials, such as gold, ivory, bronze, and marble, they were typically placed in special architectural settings. Temples and shrines were designed to accommodate not only these sacred images but also the many offerings dedicated to them.
Statues of deities and the temples that housed them were major artistic commissions, executed by the best sculptors and architects of the time. Many of the sculptures became famous, and small-scale versions were acquired by wealthy Romans to decorate their sprawling country villas. Several of the works in this gallery were modeled after statues celebrated in antiquity.
GVIL1_140721_150.JPG: Muse; Roman, from Cremna (in present-day Turkey), about A.D. 200; Marble, pigment, and gold
The Muses were nine goddesses of the arts and sciences who inspired poets and philosophers. The drapery and leaning pose of this figure identify her as Polyhymnia (Muse of mime). All four Muses in this gallery were originally displayed in a single building in Cremna that was used for the worship of Roman emperors.
The Roman architectural historian Vitruvius used the word basilica to describe a very large room that usually served as a public hall. Occasionally a basilica was constructed as part of a private house and used for gatherings or worship. The Villa's Basilica represents such a private space. Eight white marble columns divide the room into a wide nave with two narrow side aisles. This basic three-aisle plan was adopted by early Christians for their churches. The recessed window panels are made of honey-colored onyx, and two of them allow light into the room. The vaulted ceiling is decorated with intricate stuccowork patterns derived from several buildings in Pompeii.
The acanthus scrolls along the sides of the barrel vault were inspired by the ceiling of the Forum Baths in Pompeii.
The ceiling's coffered panels are modeled after ones found in the House of the Cryptoporticus in Pompeii.
The acanthus motifs in the half dome above the apse imitate a niche in the House of Menander in Pompeii.
The capitals of the columns are carved from four different marbles and are replicas of a capital found in the garden of the House of the Deer in Herculaneum.
The elaborate floor is made of reused ancient marbles and copies a floor from the Villa dei Papin in Herculaneum.
GVIL1_140721_219.JPG: Inner Peristyle
Designed as a square colonnade for strolling and conversation, the Inner Peristyle would have been the first garden encountered by visitors to the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. This type of space was common in the second century BC, when the main structure of the ancient villa was built. The Getty Villa's garden is lushly planted with a variety of annuals and perennials bordered with hedges. The colonnade is paved with terrazzo, a mosaic flooring. Inlaid in a style called opus signinum by the Romans, the colorful stones embedded in the terrazzo influenced the palette of the walls.
A long, narrow pool emphasizes the east-west axis of the Getty Villa's ground plan. Statues of young women, reproductions of ancient bronze sculptures found at the Villa dei Papiri, are set around the pool. Although the original statues were discovered in the outer peristyle, their semicircular bases are well matched to the curved marble offsets along the water's edge. The four busts are also reproductions of sculptures from the Villa dei Papiri and are placed near the spots where their ancinet counterparts were excavated.
The Ionic columns that form the colonnade are modeled after those in the House of the Colored Capitals in Pompeii.
The square marble fountains in the corners are re-created from a drawing in an an eighteenth-century excavation report of the Villa dei Papiri.
The design of the coffered ceiling imitates decorative stonework on funerary monuments from the Street of the Tombs in Pompeii.
Subdivided with relief panels that represent stonework and pilasters, the walls are based on those in the large peristyle of the House of the Faun in Pompeii.
GVIL1_140721_222.JPG: Temple of Herakles
The domed, circular room is modeled after an underground sanctuary dedicated to the hero Herakles that was discovered at Monte del'Incastro, Italy. It was specially designed to house the statue of the Lansdowne Herakles, considered by J. Paul Getty to be the most important work of art in his collection.
The coffered ceiling was modeled after that of the Pantheon in Rome.
The elaborate marble floor is a replica of one from the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. Formed into a complex geometric pattern favored by the Romans, it is made of some four thousand pieces of marble.
GVIL1_140721_225.JPG: Appliqué of a Boy Wearing a Lionskin; Greek, about 100 B.C., Bronze
Although this appliqué seems to depict a young Herakles wearing his lionskin, it more likely represents another figure with the hero's attribute. The delicate features and the distinctive topknot suggest that this is Eros (child god of love), who was often shown with the symbols of other mythological figures. A quiver strap crosses his chest, and remnants of wings survive at his shoulders.
GVIL1_140721_235.JPG: Satyr Pouring Wine; Roman, A.D. 1-100, Marble
Modeled after a popular work by the famed Greek sculptor Praxiteles (active about 375-340 B.C.) this statue represents a young satyr pouring wine from a now-missing pitcher into a cup once held in his left hand. Satyrs were part-human, part-horse or -goat companions of Dionysos (god of wine). Only the pointed, animal like ear of this figure identify him as a satyr.
The sculpture was one of four identical figures that decorated the villa of the emperor Domitian (ruled A.D. 81-96) near Castel Gandolfo, Italy. This one was missing its head when it was discovered in 1657. By copying the head of another of the satyr statues, the work was restored in the seventeenth century.
GVIL1_140721_240.JPG: Collecting Sculpture:
"I have built some new reading rooms in a little colonnade in my Tusculan villa, and would like to decorate them."
-- Cicero, Seventh Letter to His Friends, 61 BC
Collecting sculpture has been a pursuit of wealthy individuals for thousands of years. Ancient Romans, such as the statesman and writer Cicero, filled their villas with works brought from Greece as well as contemporary commissions, which were often modeled after ancient Greek statues.
Between 1600 and the late 1800s, many collections of ancient art were formed by aristocrats who lived or traveled in the Mediterranean region. Like the Romans before them, these individuals wanted to acquire ancient art for private display. Their sculptures functioned as design elements that complemented and completed their country houses and city palaces, where guests were entertained and business was transacted. New styles of architecture were even created to accommodate their collections.
Collecting antiquities was a way to show intellectual interest, a refined aesthetic sense, wealth, and status. By filling a palace or grand country house with ancient statues, an aristocrat could imply a personal connection with the illustrious collectors of antiquity and with the grandeur of ancient Greece and Rome.
GVIL1_140721_243.JPG: The Lansdowne Herakles
This sculpture was one of J. Paul Getty's most prized possessions and, in fact, inspired him to build this Museum in the style of an ancient Roman villa. The statue, representing the Greek hero Herakles with his lionskin and club, was discovered in 1790 near the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian (ruled A.D. 117--138) at Tivoli, Italy. It was purchased in 1792 by an English collector, the Marques of Lansdowne, to become part of his extensive private collection of ancient sculptures.
Shortly after its discovery, the statue was reworked in Rome, probably by Carlo Albacini, a prominent restorer. A spirit of purism caused it to be stripped of its restorations in the 1970s, but these historical additions were reintegrated in the 1990s to present the work as it appeared in the eighteenth century.
GVIL1_140721_249.JPG: Restoring Sculpture:
"[Restorers] gather together the crushed and mutilated members of two or three old marbles, and by means of a little skill of hand... raise up a complete figure."
-- A. Cunningham, Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, 1830
Many ancient sculptures have complex histories of discovery and survival. The three statues in this gallery were unearthed in and around Rome in the 1600s and 1700s, when both collectors and dealers strongly endorsed the complete restoration of fragmentary figures.
The aesthetic ideas and artistic talents of restorers greatly influenced the appearance of restored statues. Restoration usually involved reworking broken surfaces and replacing missing pieces, sometimes with fragments from other marble figures. Enthusiasm for this practice began to lessen only after sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens were brought to England in the early 1800s, since no artist felt worthy to improve them.
GVIL1_140721_255.JPG: Leda and the Swan
Roman, AD 1-100
Discovered in Rome in 1775, this copy of an earlier Greek work was probably commissioned by a Roman emperor. According to the practice of the 1700s, the sculpture was fully restored, with a head added from an ancient figure of Venus (goddess of love). Like the statue of Herakles at the center of the gallery, this work once belonged to the Marquess of Lansdowne, an English collector.
The subject of this statue is the amorous encounter between the mortal Leda (queen of Sparta) and Zeus (king of the gods), who appeared to here as a swan. Helen, an eventual queen of Sparta, was born from this union. It was the abduction of Helen by the Trojan prince Paris that led to the Trojan War.
GVIL1_140721_278.JPG: Mythological Heroes
"Zeus, the son of Kronos, made yet another generation, the fourth upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a godlike race of hero-men, who are called demigods, the race before our own."
-- Hesiod, Works and Days, about 700 BC
In antiquity the heroes of classical mythological were considered to be historical figures who lived in earlier times. They embodied positive qualities valued by ancient societies and served as role models for human behavior. Their valiant deeds were often represented in ancient art and literature.
Heroes usually possessed exceptional strength and bravery, specialized knowledge, and other skills that allowed them to perform extraordinary feats. Occupying an intermediate position between the Olympian gods and mortals, most had divine, or at least royal, parents. They frequently suffered from the jealousy or hostility of family members and were forced to overcome dire circumstances.
GVIL1_140721_281.JPG: Hercules; Roman, A.D. 100--200, Marble and pigment
The greatest of the Greek heroes, Herakles was enthusiastically adopted by the Romans, who called him Hercules. Although this statue has been damaged over time, the hero's standard symbols -- the skin of the Nemean lion and the club -- identify him. Here Hercules also wears a wreath of white poplar leaves and a fillet (ribbon) with its ends trailing over his shoulders. The fillet marks him as an athletic victor, and white poplar was associated with the Olympic Games, which the hero was credited with founding in honor of his father, Zeus (king of the gods). According to tradition, Herakles imported white poplar from northwestern Greece, and it was the only wood used to fuel the altars at Olympia. Statues such as this one were extremely popular, commonly appearing in Greek and Roman gymnasiums, where athletes trained.
GVIL1_140721_284.JPG: Poet as Orpheus with Two Sirens
Greek, made in Taras, South Italy, 350--300 B.C., terracotta and pigment
Orpheus, the son of Apollo (god of prophecy and music) and a Muse, was considered the most skilled singer in antiquity. He is best known for his failed attempt to rescue his wife, Eurydike, from the Under-world. Another adventure is alluded to here: Sailing with Jason and the Argonauts, Orpheus encountered the Sirens, mythical bird-women whose seductive singing lured Sailors to their deaths. Orpheus rescued his companions with a song so beautiful that the Sirens despaired and threw themselves into the sea.
This seated man has been identified as Orpheus because the statue once cradled a lyre in its left arm and his mouth seems to be open in song. The cult of Orpheus, which promoted a belief in life after death, flourished in southern Italy, where this group was made. In South Italian art of this period, however, Orpheus usually wears an Eastern costume, which is not seen on this figure. Since Sirens often appear on tombs, mourning and protecting the dead, he may be a mortal, perhaps a poet or a singer, depicted as Orpheus in a funerary monument.
GVIL1_140721_302.JPG: The Deeds of Theseus:
The Athenian hero Theseus was credited with unifying Athens, establishing democracy, and founding the Panathenaia, the great festival held in honor of Athena, patron goddess of Athens. In the Archaic period (700-480 BC) Theseus was often depicted fighting the Minotaur. When Athens became a democracy in about 500 BC, Athenians sought to raise the stature of their legendary king. Artists began to illustrate adventures in which Theseus, like Herakles, battled criminals, foreigners, and monsters.
Traveling to Athens, Theseus encountered many bandits, including Periphetes, the club bearer. Periphetes tried to block his path but was defeated, and Theseus carried his club thereafter.
The bandit Sinis attacked unlucky travelers and sketched them between pine trees. Theseus captured Sinis and killed him in the same manner.
GVIL1_140721_311.JPG: The Bull of Marathon:
After Herakles caught the Cretan bull and brought it to Mucenae, King Eurystheus set it free. The bull then ravaged the plain of Marathon, and Theseus had to recapture it.
GVIL1_140721_312.JPG: Phaeia, the Sow of Crommyon:
Phaia was an old, ugly, and fierce sow. Some thought she was not a pig but a robber who was so filthy and savage that she was given her name. When Theseus came to her territory, he sought her out and killed her.
Prokrustes welcomes weary travelers into his bed, which fit guests of all sizes: he chopped off the heads and feet of those who were too tall and stretched those who were too small. Theseus killed Prokrustes in his bed.
The robber Skiron asked passersby to wash his feet. When they bent down, he kicked them over a cliff into the sea, where they were devoured by a large turtle. Theseus threw Skiron over the same cliff.
GVIL1_140721_321.JPG: The Ring of Minos:
King Minos insulted Theseus by doubting his claim to be the son of Poseidon (god of the sea). When Minos threw his ring into the sea, Theseus recovered it with the help of his father's marine subjects.
GVIL1_140721_322.JPG: The Minotaur:
After offending King Minos of Crete, the Athenians sent twelve young men and twelve maidens to be fed to the Minotaur -- a monstrous bull-man that lived in the Labyrinth. Theseus slew the Minotaur with the help of Minos's daughter, Ariadne.
Theseus traveled far to the north to take the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons (a race of women warriors). Theseus and the queen fell in love, and she returned to Athens with him.
GVIL1_140721_328.JPG: The Centaurs:
King Perithoos of Thessaly, Theseus's close friend, invited his neighbors the centaurs (part man, part horse) to his wedding. When the centaurs got drunk and tried to carry off the bride and other female guests, Theseus and Perithoos fought with them.
GVIL1_140721_333.JPG: The Twelve Labors of Herakles:
Herakles was a universal hero, celebrated by the Greeks, the Etruscans (who called him Hercle), and the Romans (who knew him as Hercules). He was the son of Zeus (king of the gods). He was the son of Zeus (king of the gods) and a mortal woman, Alkmene. Ironically, his name means the "the glory" (kleos) of Hera (queen of the gods), his jealous stepmother, who drove him mad and caused him to kill his wife and children. As penance, the hero was bound to serve King Eurysteus of Mycenae and Tiryns. The kind sent him on a series of difficult tasks, or labors, twelve of which became standardized in art and literature.
GVIL1_140721_353.JPG: Stories of the Trojan War:
"Agamemnon, Menelaus -- all Argives geared for war! May the gods who hold the halls of Olympus give you Priam's city to plunder, then safe passage home."
-- Homer, The Iliad, 725-675 BC
The epic tales of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans over the abduction of Helen, queen of Sparta, are an artful blend of history and myth. They include gripping scenes of love and hate, war and peace, religion and politics, pride and humiliation. They portray the nobility of the ancient Greeks and Trojans and how their honor guided their way of life. These stories were beloved by the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans, and the power and beauty of the language used to tell them are still appreciated today. The tales inspired political leaders such as Alexander the Great of Macedon, who believed that he was descended from Achilles, the most famous of the Greek heroes at Troy. In Rome the Julio-Claudian emperors traced their lineage back to the Trojan prince Aeneas, who was immortalized in Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid.
GVIL1_140721_382.JPG: Odysseus's Journey Home:
"Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy."
-- Homer, The Odyssey, 725-675 BC
Homer's epic poem The Odyssey tells of the Greek hero Odysseus's ten-year journey from Troy back to Ithaca, his island home. Along the way, he and his crew are plagued by the gods and encounter numerous monsters and wondrous creatures, such as the one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemos, the enchantress Circe, the seductive Sirens, and the monstrous Scylla and Charybdis. After enduring years of hardship, Odysseus arrives in Ithaca to find his home invaded by suitors courting his wife, Penelope. She had delayed selecting one of them to be her husband by promising to wed when she finished weaving a tapestry, which she secretly unraveled at the end of each day. Odysseus's return leads to the slaughter of the suitors and a reunion with his wife.
GVIL1_140721_396.JPG: Texts and Images:
Events related to the Trojan War are recorded in a number of texts, many of them quite fragmentary, including The Cypria, The Iliad, The Aithiois, The Little Iliad, The Sack of Ilion, The Returns, The Odyssey, and The Telegony. Collectively, these works are known as the Trojan Cycle. The best-known works in the cycle are the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey. According to tradition, they were composed by the blind poet Homer in the late eighth and early seventh century BC. Homer's words were passed on orally through the songs of poets until the sixth century BC, when they were written down for the first time. Characters and events from the Trojan Cycle were further explored in tragic plays written and performed in Athens, such as Sophocles' Ajax and Euripedes' Trojan Women.
Artists from ancient Mediterranean cultures were inspired by these pieces. Numerous works of art with scenes from the Trojan Cycle survive, attesting to the popularity of the stories among the people of antiquity. Some depictions are quite faithful to the texts. Other compositions only include elements essential to identifying a scene or were created entirely from the artists' imaginations.
GVIL1_140721_405.JPG: Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Life of Achilles; Roman, made in Attica, Greece, A.D. 180--220, Marble
Even centuries after the Trojan War was fought, its epic stories remained popular, as exemplified by the Images carved on this monumental Roman sarcophagus (coffin). It is decorated on three sides with scenes from the life of Achilles. On the right side (not seen here), Odysseus discovers the hero hiding among the daughters of Lykomedes on the island of Skyros. On the left side (also not seen), Achilles dons his armor with Odysseus's help. On the front, Achilles mounts his chariot to drag Hector's slain and stripped body before the walls of Troy.
The back of the sarcophagus is shallowly sculpted with an unrelated scene of battle between the Greeks and the centaurs (part man, part horse). The lid shows a couple reclining on a couch. The sculptor deliberately left their heads unfinished so that the owners of the coffin could have the portraits carved.
GVIL1_140721_414.JPG: Scroll Fragment of The Odyssey
Roman, from Egypt, 100-1 BC
The Greek text preserved on this scroll fragment is from book 10 of The Odyssey. It describes events that take place i the palace of Circe, an enchantress who turned Ulysses' men into swine. The text is written on papyrus, a reed plant that was layered and pressed into sheets, which were joined together to form scrolls.
GVIL1_140721_427.JPG: Aliens are real, and there's one behind you!!
GVIL1_140721_442.JPG: Dionysos and the Birth of Drama:
"And so hail to you, Dionysos, god of abundant grapes! Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season, and from that season onward for many a year."
-- Homeric Hymn to Dionysos, about 680 BC
Drama evolved from the ritual worship of Dionysos, the Greek god of wine, vegetation, and theater. Dance and song were important elements in the seasonal religious festivals celebrating the god. Over time, choral performances developed into masked plays that combined speaking roles with singing. By the fifth century BC, writers presented productions in competitions at festivals. The standard program consisted of three tragedies followed by a bawdy play in which actors portrayed lusty satyrs. Some plays were later revived in cities throughout the ancient Mediterranean. These revivals signifying influenced the development of Roman theater.
GVIL1_140721_443.JPG: Bust of Menander; Roman, A.D. 100 - 150, Marble
This Roman herm depicts the Greek comic playwright Menander, who lived from about 342 to 291 B.C. The herm reproduces the head of a lost Greek bronze portrait statue by Kephisodotos the Younger and Timarchos, the sons of the artist Praxiteles. The Roman writer Pausanias mentions the original Greek bronze statue, which was set up in the Theater of Dionysos in Athens shortly after Menander's death.
The middle-aged man shown in this portrait is known from several other versions of the statue, and the occasional example inscribed with his name confirms the identification of all of these versions as Menander. His plays enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the Roman period, creating a demand for portraits of him.
Beginning in the 500s B.C., Greeks placed herms, pillars surmounted by a head of the god Hermes, at physical boundaries, such as crossroads or even doorways. Such places were sites of ritual and worship where the herms served a magical, protective function. The Romans later adapted the Greek concept of the herm, using it for non-religious, decorative purposes. The heads on Roman herms are often portraits of famous people.
GVIL1_140721_468.JPG: Miniature Theater Masks
The Greek playwright Menander (342--291 B.C.) popularized New Comedy, so named in contrast to the Old Comedy of Aristophanes (448--386 B.C.). Menander's plays significantly influenced the later development of Roman Comedy. Conventional plot lines of New Comedy involve stock characters such as elderly couples, slaves, and young lovers, who always triumph over the numerous obstacles placed in their path to happiness. These comedic characters provided subject matter for miniature terracotta theater masks, which were pierced with holes for suspension and display.
GVIL1_140721_481.JPG: Ceremonial Seat
Greek, from Athens, 400-300 BC
With its high, curved back and front legs in the form of lion's paws, this proedria (marble seat) is of a type reserved for dignitaries in the theater. Similar seats were used by the priests of Dionysos Eleutheros in the Theater of Dionysos, located on the slope beneath and Parthenon on the Atheneean Acropilis. This chair was documented in Athens as early as 1782; in 1812 it was in the collection of Thomas Bruce (British, 1766-1841), seventh Earl of Elgin. The grand proportions and carved details provide important evidence of ancient domestic furniture designs in wood. The prominent reliefs on each side -- depicting historical and mythological precedents for Athenian political dominance -- are uniquely paired to communicate a potent message of civic pride.
GVIL1_140721_516.JPG: Herm of Dionysos
Herms are pillars with attached heads and phalluses. They served as fertility emblems, boundary markers, and door guardians. The earliest examples bear the head of the messenger god Hermes (hence their name); but Dionysos, who was often worshipped as a fertility god, became equally appropriate.
This herm is very similar to one signed by the sculptor Boethos of Kalchedon, which was discovered in an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Mahdia (in present-day Tunisia). The Mahdia herm and this one have a comparable metal content, suggesting that they were manufactured in the same workshop.
GVIL1_140721_530.JPG: Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus; Unknown artist, Roman, Rome, A.D. 210 - 220.; with supports: 1800s Marble
The inscription on the lid of this sarcophagus identifies its former occupant, Maconiana Severiana, as being from a senatorial family. "To the soul of the deceased. For Maconiana Severiana, the sweetest daughter, Marcus Sempronius Faustinianus, vir clarissimus [holding a senatorial rank], and Praecilia Severiana, clarissima femina [from a senatorial family], her parents [had this made]." Given the small size of the sarcophagus, Maconiana must have been a child or adolescent.
The front of the sarcophagus shows a Dionysiac revel, culminating in the discovery of the sleeping Ariadne, shown lying down on the right. Abandoned by the Greek hero Theseus, Ariadne awakened to a new life with Dionysos, the god of wine. The goat-legged Pan lifts the veil from her prone figure while satyrs, maenads, and a panther surround the drunken Dionysos.
The back of the sarcophagus shows another Dionysiac scene of winemaking carved in a simpler, flatter style. Panels with related figures flanking the central inscription on the lid. For the Romans, Dionysos was associated with the hope of a better afterlife; thus many sarcophagi show the god and his followers.
Sculpted stone sarcophagi, which came into use in the 200s A.D., soon became symbols of wealth and status. Since Romans favored certain themes for sarcophagi, they were often bought ready-made and then customized by the addition of a portrait of the deceased. The blank face of Ariadne should have been carved as a portrait of Maconiana Severiana. Why it was left blank in this instance is not clear.
GVIL1_140721_544.JPG: The Faces of Dionysos
Dionysos (Bacchus to the Romans) was one of the most frequently depicted deities in ancient art. As the god of wine, he was painted more often than any other religious or mythological figure on vessels that were used for drinking. As a symbol of regeneration in the afterlife, he and his retinue of satyrs and maenads were commonly carved on Roman sarcophagi (coffins). Dionysos's popularity as an artistic subject generated a wide variety fo creative approaches to the representation of his image.
GVIL1_140721_547.JPG: Revivals of Ancient Drama:
Theater was banned in Rome in AD 568, as the empire converted to Christianity. While some pantomime and comic entertainment were still performed during the Middle Ages, Greek and Roman dramas were available only in manuscripts. The first revival of an ancient play was a Renaissance adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus the King in 1585. It was produced at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio after classical prototypes. Since then, ancient plays have been staged around the world. Modern poets and dramatists have found inspiration in their treatment of universal human themes, and directors and actors continue to explore new forms of stagecraft and characterization.
GVIL1_140721_595.JPG: Bronze Vessels and Implements
"The last kind of bronze is called pot bronze, so named after the vessels made of it. This is an alloy blending three or four pounds of lead with every hundred pounds of copper."
-- Pliny the Elder, Natural History, before AD 79
Bronze is a metal alloy of copper and tin that in Roman times also contained substantial amounts of lead. Today, as a result of corrosion, ancient bronzes typically have a greenish patina that is very different from their original sheen and color.
In affluent households, bronze was used instead of pottery for a variety of containers. Vessels made of luxury materials such as glass and silver were also used for storing and serving food and beverages. Most of the pieces on display here were part of a table service for the cena and the comissatio, the dining and drinking parties hosted by wealthy Romans.
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Wikipedia Description: Getty Villa
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA, is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The collection has 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD, including the Lansdowne Heracles and the Victorious Youth. The UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation is housed on this campus. The collection is documented and presented through the online GettyGuide as well as through audio tours.
In 1954, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty opened a gallery adjacent to his home in Pacific Palisades. Quickly running out of room, he built a second museum, the Getty Villa, on the property down the hill from the original gallery. The villa design was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum and incorporated additional details from several other ancient sites. It opened in 1974, but was never visited by Getty, who died in 1976. Following his death, the museum inherited $661 million and began planning a much larger campus, the Getty Center, in nearby Brentwood. The museum overcame neighborhood opposition to its new campus plan by agreeing to limit the total size of the development on the Getty Center site. To meet the museum's total space needs, the museum decided to split between the two locations with the Getty Villa housing the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. In 1993, the Getty Trust selected Rodolpho Machado and Jorge Silvetti to design the renovation of the Getty Villa and its campus. In 1997, portions of the museum's collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities were moved to the Getty Center for display, and the Getty Villa was closed for renovation. The collection was restored during the renovation.
The entrance to the Getty Villa sets the tone of entering an archaeological dig.
Starting in 2004, the museum and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hold summer institutes in Turkey, studying the conservation of Middle Eastern Art.
Reopened on January 28, 2006, the Getty Villa shows Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities within Roman-inspired architecture and surrounded by Roman-style gardens. The art is arranged by themes, e.g., Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War. The new architectural plan surrounding the Villa – which was conceived by Boston architects Machado and Silvetti Associates (who were also responsible for the plans for the renovated museum) – is designed to simulate an archaeological dig. Architectural Record has praised their work on the Getty Villa as "a near miracle – a museum that elicits no smirks from the art world.... a masterful job... crafting a sophisticated ensemble of buildings, plazas, and landscaping that finally provides a real home for a relic of another time and place."
There has been controversy surrounding the Greek and Italian governments' claim that objects in the collection were looted and should be repatriated. In 2006, the Getty returned or promised to return four looted objects to Greece: a stele (grave marker), a marble relief, a gold funerary wreath, and a marble statue. In 2007, the Getty signed an agreement to return 40 looted items to Italy.
The Villa is frequently and erroneously said to be in the city of Malibu, but the site is in the city of Los Angeles in the community of Pacific Palisades and has a Pacific Palisades mailing address. The Malibu city border begins a mile west of the Villa. The museum itself perpetuates this error, to the irritation of Palisades residents.
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