Peristyles of the Pacific Palisades

Dreamy beach strolls, scenic canyon parks, burgeoning forests, elegant restaurants, pompous celebrity houses, and an assortment of health buffs are a few of what you'd find in the Pacific Palisades; yet, none of those led us to visit the district last Sunday. We drove there for the iconic Getty Villa, a museum erected atop a hill with views of the Pacific Ocean. The peristylar Villa is a whole lot smaller compared to the very modern Getty Center in Brentwood which my BFF and I toured on November 21, 2009.

Getty Villa at first sight

J. Paul Getty commissioned the construction of the villa with a distinct purpose: He wanted a larger location to house his growing collection of antiquities, a place which would replicate the original setting where those artistic masterpieces were once displayed. He chose the architectural concept of Villa dei Papiri in ancient Herculaneum, Italy ideal. Villa dei Papiri was buried in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. While Getty Villa is built on a hill facing the Pacific Ocean, Villa dei Papiri settles on the slope of the volcano, overlooking the Bay of Naples.

capturing a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from the Villa

The Getty Villa was opened in 1974. J. Paul Getty actively oversaw its development from London by evaluating the designs and even selecting the tiles to use but he died in 1976 without ever seeing the villa. It still presently keeps some of the best Roman, Etruscan, and Greek artifacts collected by J. Paul Getty.

silver tableware provided a measure of an ancient Hellenic family's wealth

lidded cauldron with a satyr

The Getty Villa is thematically organized. I didn't stay much longer inside the Temple of Herakles but my eyes caught the Temple of Dionysos. I thought that the spelling was strange because I always have in mind "Dionysus" written this way. I recognize him as a god of wine and fertility because he is associated with Ariadne, a Cretan princess, my namesake. ;)

storage jars with Dionysos and Ariadne

People know J. Paul Getty as a business magnate but I admire the part of him which loves art and culture. He was a visionary. Thanks, Mr. Getty, for sharing to the world what was valuable to you.

Getty Villa Outer Peristyle

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