Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Getty!

Coming back from Florence has been an interesting experience. After traveling and being immersed in art and culture for so long, it is shocking to be back where high culture is less prevalent and popular culture reigns. After resting and sleeping for several days straight- twenty four hours of travel time will do that- I woke up to find that I missed museums. I missed walking amongst history. I missed the excitement of being among people who love art just as much as I do.

Luckily I have friends at home who get as excited about museums as I do and there have been a few museum trips that have made me miss Florence just a little bit less. The first of these was the Getty in Los Angeles: a museum that I have been dying to visit for quite some time.

On a lark and also on a mission to help out a special breed of cats, my friend Carmel and I set off on a little Thursday adventure. Before classes started and my work at San Jose State officially ended, we went on a little celebratory road trip....;)

Sunrise heading into California's central valley! Getting to the Getty in the morning and rescuing a cat requires leaving at four in the morning!

I should really elaborate further. By road trip, I mean day trip. Day trip to LA = Crazy. I know. But man was it worth it! Even more than the museums of San Francisco, the Getty is a temple to art.

Eyes closed in exaltation (or possibly from the glaring light of the sunny day) in front of the steps leading up to the museum!

Now what is within this temple that has me so excited?....An amazing, extensive and diverse collection! And free admission! And pictures aplenty because they allow photography! :D

Gentile da Fabriano's, The Nativity, 1420-1422  from the Medieval Collections
(Fabriano is one of the Italian Gothic masters whose master work, The Adoration of the Magi, I saw at the Uffizzi!)

In the same room as Gentile da Fabriano there were several fantastic examples of masterful stained glass.
Swiss (possibly Basel). Heraldic Panel with the Arms of the Eberler Family. circa 1490. Pot-metal, flashed and colorless glass, Oxide paint and silver stain.

Workshop of Carl von Egeri. The Suicide of Lucretia. 1561. Pot-metal, flashed and colorless glass, Oxide paint and silver stain; lead came (framing strips).

Next door to Fabriano is a room filled with glass and ceramic objects spanning the Middle Ages to about the mid-18th century. Including this little gem- a perfect example of syncretism that occurred because of the Silk Road :)

Here are some Eastern influenced Italian maiolica (drug jars) used by pharmacies to hygienically store goods:

Italian (Montelupo). Jar with Kufic Pattern. mid- 1400s. Tin glazed earthenware.

(Left): Relief-Blue Jar with Ramping Lions. 1425-50. Italian (Tuscany, probably Florence). Tin-glazed earthenware.  
(Right): Probably the Workshop of Piero di Mazzeo. Relief-blue Jar with Ladders. 1420-40. Tin-glazed earthenware.

Examples of German Glass Drinking Vessels. 1400s- 1600s.

Venetian Glass: the piece in the middle is called Footed Bowl with Medici Papal Arms! Venice. 1513. Glass with gold leaf and enameled decoration. Pope Leo X became pope in 1513! Brings me back to the Vecchio!

Some more examples of Venetian Glass. 1500s (and some pieces from late 1400s). Gorgeous!

(Left): Hunt Goblet. Bohemian. 1576
(Right): Hunt Beaker. German or perhaps Bohemian glass, late 16th century.
Amazing detail as you can see:

To think of the progress of glass in Europe is awesome. Initially and almost exclusively, glass was created for the church- stained glass, chalices, and fake gems were made from glass and used to decorate churches, reliquaries or as ritual objects in worship, but eventually glass became the domain of the wealthy middle class and included depictions of secular pursuits...Case in point above! The boar and dogs are so cute!

Love, love, love this piece. German or Netherlandish, late 1600's. Amazing, no?

Back in the Medieval rooms was an Annunciation by Pacino di Bonaguida. The stance and wing color of the angel bring back memories of  the frescoes of Fra Angelico in San Marco! Sigh*

Italian Master (Unknown, active in Naples or Avignon). St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata. An Angel Crowning Saints Cecilia and Valerian. 1330's. Tempera and gold leaf on panel.
This reminds me of Santa Croce and the paintings of St. Francis by Giotto.

Guariento di Arpo. Madonna of Humility. 1345-50. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. This is a beautiful rendition of a lactating Madonna.

Gherardo Starnina. Madonna and Child with Musical Angels. 1410. Tempera and Gold Leaf on Panel.
The angels kneeling before the Madonna and Child are playing various instruments and singing. 

Upstairs in the Renaissance and Baroque rooms there are some rare treasures:

Domenico Beccafumi. St. Catherine Receiving the Stigmata. 1513-15. This reminds me of Siena and seeing the head of St. Catherine in the church's holiest reliquary!

Circle of Raphael (Raffaelo Sanzio). Portrait of Young Man in Red. 1505. The fact that this painting is a very early portrait, like Leonardo's Mona Lisa in 1503, makes it quite important within the collection! 

Fra Bartolommeo (Baccio della Porta) The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist. 1509. Oil on Panel. 

Correggio. Head of Christ. 1525-30. Oil on panel.

Lorenzo Lotto. The Madonna and Child with Two Donors. 1525-30.

Titian. Venus and Adonis. This piece is one of several Titians in the room! Sigh* 

Next to the Italian Renaissance gallery is a small room filled with Northern artists' (primarily Netherlandish) works!

Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (Netherlandish). Portrait of Isabella of Portugal. 1445. Oil on panel.

 Lucas Cranach the Elder (German). A Faun and His Family with Slain Lion. 1526. Oil on panel.
 The detail in this small painting was incredible. Cranach the Elder was brilliant!

Some gorgeous details! Although Netherlandish works from this period lack linear perspective, the quality of the detail and sheen of the oil paints is stunning!

Follower of Bernaert van Orley (Netherlandish). The Holy Family. 1505. Oil on panel. Another lactating Madonna.

After a wonderful and reasonably priced lunch -good and cheap at a museum? What?!- we headed to see the modern galleries with just an hour left :(

Renoir! Self Portrait. Just the start of a series of rooms to rival the D'Orsay exhibits at the De Young last summer!

Monet. Sunrise.  1873. From the series that famously gave its name to Impressionism. This brings back memories of seeing Impression Sunrise at the Marmottan in Paris!

 Pierre Auguste Renoir. La Promenade. 1870. What I love particularly about Renoir is his colors choices and the sweetness with which he depicts his subjects. His work makes my heart smile without fail! 

Some detail. His use of colors and brushstrokes is brilliant!

Not to be outdone, the father of Impressionism- according to the Impressionists themselves- was Manet.

Manet. La Rue Mosnier with Flags. 1878. Silk Road class and Legion of Honor Japanesque exhibit in mind, I can see how influenced Manet was by Ukiyo-e prints in his use of negative space, tilted horizon and flat color.

Edgar Degas. The Convalescent. I remember thinking that there is an unusual level of empathy in this piece. Degas was an artist from the upper echelons of society who looked down at the majority of the women he painted.

Case in point. Degas. The Milliners. His favorite subject- lower-class women. Nearly inhuman and caricatured, these milliners work in the shadows, perhaps the only color in their lives is the fabric they sew.  

The milliner girl is just a shadow of a young woman

And now for one of the highlights of this collection...drum roll please....

Vincent van Gogh. Irises. 1889. Needless to say photography doesn't do the vibrant colors justice.


Of course no Impressionist collection can be called complete without a Monet hay stack or water lily.

This rendition from 1891 is considered to be the first from the series of 30 haystack studies Monet painted near his house in Giverny. This study features the morning light on a snowy winter day. 

Claude Monet. Still Life with Flowers and Fruit. 1891. Oil on Canvas. The largest of Monet's still lifes!

I left this room with a smile on my face. Monet, Renoir, Degas and not to be left out Cezanne- with one of his characteristic Vase and Fruit still lifes. I always love the vibrant orange and red apples. 

 Entering another room of glories, I saw one of my favorite Academic painters. William Adolphe Bouguereau. Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros.

For me, Bouguereau is the 19th century equivalent of Andrea del Sarto. He is the perfect painter. His idealized compositions and detailed execution always seem flawless.

James Tissot. Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née Thérèse Feuillant.1866. Oil on canvas.
Prof. Movassat's Arth 193B: The Silk Road (from last spring) chimes in my mind once again :) The kimono and Japanese screen, to the left of the painting's European subject, signal Tissot's fascination for Japonisme.

James Tissot. Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects. 1869. Oil on canvas. According to the description this is one in a series of paintings Tissot completed depicting young ladies looking at Japanese objects in 1869!

Mama if you're reading this here is one especially for you. Gustave Courbet. Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase. 1862.

Joseph Mallord William Turner. Modern Rome. 1839.

 John Singer Sargent. Portrait of Thérèse, Countess Clary Aldringen. 1896. Oil on canvas.
From my favorite American portraitist. :) 

John William Godward. Mischief and Repose. 1895. Oil on canvas.

John William Godward. Mischief and Repose. 1895. One of my new favorite artists. The sheer quality of the fabric that he achieves is stunning!

 John Everett Millais. Portrait of Sophie Gray. 1857. Oil on canvas. (His sister-in-law Sophie at age 14)

Running out of time, I snapped some quick photos of another Turner. Van Tromp, going about to please his Masters, Ships a Sea, getting a Good Wetting. 1844. Oil on canvas.

 Here is a gorgeous detail.

A Goya Bullfight. 1824. Sigh*

Just four years before the French Revolution when debauchery was all the rage in France...
The very Romantic Fragonard. The Fountain of Love. 1785.

Sadly we had to leave, but on the way out there was a chance for some quick pictures from the balconies. 

L.A. and some Getty tourists that happened to get in my frame:

LA cityscape with very little smog :-)

A couple of SJSU grads at the Getty!

Me- after seeing the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries!

Getty = Big Happy Smile!


  1. We'll go again this summer with more time. OK?

  2. This was so awesome! I missed some of these when I went this January :-( Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. hi,

    Wow! all the above pictures looks really good..