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The Getty Center

The Getty Center located at Los Angeles, boasts of modern facilities balanced with natural lighting and wonderful landscapes. The center is comprised of several buildings that are set on a mountain slope with each building named for its location and are chronologically organized. These buildings contain various art exhibits, with the ground floor displaying sculptures and other decorative arts and the second floor dedicated to paintings. Each gallery has its own louvers that are controlled by a computer thus allowing natural light to illuminate the works of art.

This allows individuals who visit the museum to appreciate the artworks in almost the same condition that it was painted by the artists. The creation of Pietro Novelli of oil on canvas titled “David with Head of Goliath” during the 1630’s depicts a young and physically fit man holding in its one hand the huge and decapitated head of Goliath and on the other, a huge sword. The David depicted in the bible of a young shepherd boy with a slingshot is not evident here but rather, this was a strong and capable David who brought down Goliath and future king of Israel.

The painting was set against a black background with David turned to the side while holding the severed head of Goliath, the latter depicted in all its gory and macabre details. Between the years 1630-1640, Giovanni Battista Calandra created a portrait of Camillo Rospigliosi with the use of glass mosaic tiles surrounded by a gilt-wood frame. The subject, Camillo Rospigliosi is the brother of Pope Clement IX and is associated with the Order of Santo Stefano as its Knight Commander, whose cross insignia adorns his chest.

In the portrait, Rospigliosi sits at a slight angle with the insignia of the Order of Santo Stefano adorning his chest. The interplay of light and darkness is depicted through the various color gradations of Rospigliosi’s hair color. It is said that this portrait may have been used either as funerary tribute or may have been in display in Rospigliosi’s home. The technique of mosaic tiles was revived during this period and was considered as the preferred method especially in the creation of commemorative portraits since ceramic and glass tiles can preserve color for a longer period of time compared to paintings.

Copying from a painted work of art is also a common practice among the creators of mosaic tiles. The work of Balthasar Griessmann titled “goblet” during the 1680’s is made from Ivory and depicts a youth caught between two forces. The other half temps the youth’s desires with various offerings as depicted by Bacchus pouring wine onto the youth while the other half seek to guide him towards prudence and restraint as depicted by Minerva who takes a-hold of his hand as if to prevent him from indulging in these excesses.

The composition of this creation was derived from the “Allegory of the Temptations of Youth” by Otto van Veen. This piece was often displayed in large banquets and festivities to remind everyone to maintain a balance between indulgence and moderation. The goblet’s entire surface is carved, thus depicting the skill of Griessmann. Several figures are three-dimensional while others are shallow and one dimensional. All in all, a trip to the Getty Center is a truly remarkable experience. One is surrounded by all things beautiful both inside and outside the museum.

The museum contains a diverse and rich collection of various art works that contain a beauty that is unique to them and which always serves to amaze me. The grounds and garden areas within the center serve as a good place to internalize and reflect on the various artworks I witnessed. As the museum is very large and contains hundreds of works of arts, it is easy to be overwhelmed. I believe that one should visit several times in order to fully appreciate each artwork housed within the museum.

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