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Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Getty Revisited (Part II)

This past January, my son and I were back in Los Angeles for a father / son weekend to celebrate his 16th birthday. Our last stop was the Getty Center in Brentwood. Click here for a complete list of what we did - and "Part I" at the Getty Center.

We joined the hundreds of people enjoying the various galleries. The Getty Museum actually consists of two museums: the original Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, and the much large Getty Center in Brentwood. Click on either of these two links for info from previous blog posts. 

 Lots of incredible artwork to enjoy, including Irises by Vincent Van Gogh (1889).

Claude Monet's Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning (1891).

Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Spring (1894)

A view from the Getty Center of UCLA, Westwood, and Century City. 

 Another view of the city. 

My son was taking a very challenging 10th grade AP European History class last January - so he and his friends had actually studied much of what we were able to enjoy in person. 

Another view outside - this time looking north as the massive 405 Freeway - the San Diego Freeway. The Santa Monica Mountains actually run through the middle of the city of Los Angeles - with the San Fernando Valley to the north and the rest of the city to the south. The 405 runs through the Sepulveda Pass, which connects the San Fernando Valley to the Westside of Los Angeles. 

The San Diego Freeway was just widened through the Sepulveda Pass. Apparently, if you build it, they will come - because now traffic is actually worse. I wonder if the money would have been better spent expanding Los Angeles small but growing subway/light rail system with a connection from the Orange Line to the new Expo line

Here's a link to Los Angeles' long term subway/light rail plans, which do include a link from the Valley to the rest of L.A. -- but decades away. 

Why is "the" used to describe freeways in Los Angeles? One reason is because all these freeways all have names. Beautiful names, what someone even referred to as "romantic" names. Names like Santa Monica. Or San Diego. Or San Pedro. Or San Bernardino. Or Pasadena. Or Ventura. Or the Golden State. No one would say "I got on San Diego Freeway ..." You'd say, "I got on the San Diego Freeway and took it to the Ventura Freeway ..." I suppose that the 405 is easier to say that the San Diego Freeway, so as people started to refer to them just by their number, keeping "the" stuck. Personally, I still like to use the names - except that some people have no idea what I'm talking about. 

Back at the Getty, my son updating his Snapchat account. 

With an incredible collection of Western European artwork, Biblical reference abound at the Getty. Above is Dutch painter's Aert de Gelder Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David (1680's). The biblical reference is 1st Samuel 21:9. 

Italian painter Bernardino Mei's Christ Cleansing the Temple (about 1655) founded in each of the four gospels, including Matthew 21:12-17. 

And my personal favorite, French painter Valentin de Boulogne's Christ and the Adulteress (about 1620's). 

From the Getty website: "Light illuminates the neck and shoulders of a woman looking down at the figure of Christ kneeling on the ground. The Pharisees had brought to Christ a woman caught in the act of committing adultery. When they asked whether she should be stoned, he stooped down and began to write with his finger on the ground. When they continued to ask, Christ said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." The male accusers watch with varying expressions; some absorb Christ's words, while others recollect their own transgressions. For this biblical narrative, Boulogne used contemporary, working-class people as models, a practice initiated by Caravaggio at the turn of the century."

As I commented in a previous post: who am I in this painting? One of the Pharisees, locked in my own self-righteousness? Or the woman, deserving condemnation - yet receiving grace and forgiveness?

There's a place to appreciate the skill and artistic merit of these incredible paintings. And yet also to reflect on the actual content. While not limited to paintings with biblical themes, surely including them. 

Admission to both the Getty Center in Brentwood and Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades is free. Parking is $15, and $10 after 3pm. If you're visiting both the Center and Villa in the same day, you pay once and can park at both locations. 

Here's a link to their website with more information. 

Took the tram back to our car in the parking garage - and headed home. 

Two years from now, God willing, my son will be off at college somewhere. Times like this are really special. I appreciate the chance to make these memories! 

© 2016



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