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Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Getty Revisited (Part I)

This past January, my son and I were back in Los Angeles for a father / son weekend to celebrate his 16th birthday. We took time to explore places he remembered from growing up in L.A. - and check out a few new things as well. 

Our list included the Santa Monica PierThird Street PromenadeLACMAHollywood, a show at the Pantages ... Sunday morning at Reality Los Angeles, and lunch at Clifton's Cafeteria downtown. Our final stop before heading home Sunday afternoon was the Getty Center in Brentwood. Above, waiting at the tram station to for a trip to the top of the hill - and the museum. 

Admission to the Getty is free - parking is $15. You take a 5 minute train from the parking structure to the actual museum. The views of Los Angeles are part of the experience. 

So are the gardens. It was January, and a morning rain storm was just clearing out. Which made for some stellar views of the city and ocean beyond ... but it was very windy and no one was strolling around the garden. Here's a link to a previous trip with a bit of that the outdoor gardens look like.

One of the galleries inside featured French tapestries from the era of Louis XIV  - "the Sun King"  - who reigned from 1643 to 1715. These tapestries were part of visiting display from December 2015 until this past May. My son took a very challenging "AP European History" class last year, so he actually thought this was interesting to see in person what he and his friends had been studying. 

According to the Getty website: "extraordinary resources of time, money, and talent were allocated to the creation of these works, which were meticulously woven by hand with wool, silk, and precious metal-wrapped thread, after designs by the most esteemed artists."

This is called The Miraculous Draft of Fishes, 1636-37, design by Raphael. 

The explanation below references the Gospel of Luke, the biblical text that the tapestry is based upon (the Gospel of Luke is one of the four first century eye-witnesses accounts of the life of Christ found in the New Testament). 

Here's the actual passage: 

"On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he [Jesus] was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,  and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. 

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 
Luke 5:1-10

While most people were enjoying the artwork - I was stuck by the subject matter. That is, Jesus Christ's call on individuals' lives. Or, more specifically, his call on my life. 

IF Jesus really is the Son of God, that changes everything. Am I willing to drop what I'm doing to follow him? In the big things of life, but also in the day to day? Do I take his commands - to love God, to love my neighbor - seriously?

I'm challenged by the words of British journalist G.K. Chesterton "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Finishing up: in addition to world class artwork inside, the Getty also has some outstanding views of Los Angeles. This is looking towards UCLA, Westwood, Century City, and - in the distance - downtown Los Angeles.  

More next time. 

© 2016


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