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The J Paul Getty Center

A visit to the billion dollar art museum perched high up in the clouds above Los Angeles

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The J Paul Getty Center is the larger of two locations of the Getty Museum, the wealthiest art institution in the world. It is a $1.3 billion no expense spared campus built perched on top of a hill overlooking Los Angeles. Having parked in the underground car park next to the Interstate 405 Freeway at the foot of the hill we boarded the computer operated tram up to the Getty Center Campus. At the top we arrived at the Arrival Plaza and climbed the steps up to the rotunda shaped Museum Entrance Hall past a couple of pieces of modern art.

The computer operated tram arrives at the Getty Center

The computer operated tram arrives at the Getty Center


Me at the bottom of the Arrival Plaza up to the Museum Entrance

Me at the bottom of the Arrival Plaza up to the Museum Entrance


Looking across the Arrival Plaza to the Upper Tram Station

Looking across the Arrival Plaza to the Upper Tram Station

The Getty Museum is funded by a trust (currently worth $6 billion) set up by the oil millionaire J. Paul Getty in 1953. The Getty Center specializes mainly in pre 20th Century European art and was opened in 1997 so the collection could be more accessible to Los Angeles. The views from its location on top of a 900 feet (270 metre) hill are stunning and on a clear day you can see both Downtown LA and the Ocean.

Bust of J Paul Getty in the Entrance Hall of the Getty Center

Bust of J Paul Getty in the Entrance Hall of the Getty Center


Looking back down to the Lower Tram Station and Interstate 405 from the Getty Center

Looking back down to the Lower Tram Station and Interstate 405 from the Getty Center


The view east past Century City towards Downtown LA on the distant horizon

The view east past Century City towards Downtown LA on the distant horizon


The view south from the South Pavilion of Century City and the Interstate 405

The view south from the South Pavilion of Century City and the Interstate 405

Entry to the Center is free and it is famed as much for its architecture and gardens as for the art collection it houses. We began our visit with an Architecture Tour where we were shown the finer points of architect Richard Meier's design.

Looking towards the North and East Buildings housing the Conservation Institute/Foundation from the Museum Entrance

Looking towards the North and East Buildings housing the Conservation Institute/Foundation from the Museum Entrance


Looking back to the Museum Entrance and across the Plaza to the Research Institute from the North and East Buildings

Looking back to the Museum Entrance and across the Plaza to the Research Institute from the North and East Buildings


The outdoor area between the South and East Pavilions

The outdoor area between the South and East Pavilions


Looking across the Museum Courtyard from the West Pavilion

Looking across the Museum Courtyard from the West Pavilion

The Getty Center is a campus and in addition to the museum includes buildings for administration, conservation and research. The museum itself consists of the North, East, South, West and Exhibition Pavilions located around the central Museum Courtyard. We started off by looking around a fascinating exhibition on LA Architectural Design 1940-1990 (which unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of) but then moved on to an exhibition of medieval manuscripts which reminded me of Trinity College in Dublin.

A couple of medieval manuscripts on display as part of an exhibition in the North Pavilion

A couple of medieval manuscripts on display as part of an exhibition in the North Pavilion


Paintings on display at the Getty Center

Paintings on display at the Getty Center

Included amongst the paintings on display were a number of iconic paintings. These included Rembrandt's The Abduction of Europa, Van Gogh's Irises, Degas' Dancer taking a bow and Reni's Christ with the Crown of Thorns. As you moved between the rooms you could appreciate how techniques have developed over the centuries.

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt (1632)

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt (1632)


Dancer Taking a Bow (The Prima Ballerina) by Edgar Degas (1878)

Dancer Taking a Bow (The Prima Ballerina) by Edgar Degas (1878)


Christ with the Crown of Thorns by Guido Reni (1637)

Christ with the Crown of Thorns by Guido Reni (1637)


Portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud (1701)

Portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud (1701)

There was an interesting collection of paintings of Venice that came from the period in the 17th/18th centuries when it was popular for wealthy British to visit classical Italy (known as the Grand Tour), buy statutes as souvenirs and adorn their houses in what became known as the neo-classical style. In addition to paintings the art collection at the Getty Center also included many rooms full of tapestries, French antique furniture and statues.

Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice by Bernando Bellotto

Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice by Bernando Bellotto


Tapesteries on display at the Getty Center

Tapesteries on display at the Getty Center


French French Antique Furniture on display at the Getty Center

French French Antique Furniture on display at the Getty Center


Statues on display at the Getty Museum

Statues on display at the Getty Museum


Model of a monument to Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1883)

Model of a monument to Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1883)

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged buildings trains museums california videos

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