Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Getty Villa: What Rich Old Men Do With Ridiculous Amounts of Money

The courtyard of the Getty Villa
Chef and I visited the Getty Villa this weekend. Not to be confused with the Getty Museum. The Villa was a place that J. Paul Getty built when he realized that the large collection of his Roman, Greek and Etruscan art was something others might want to see. So he built a ridiculously large villa that mimicked what was the layout of a Roman or Greek quarters back in the day and opened it for the public to see.

Noble sounding, right? Probably, but the cynic in me was really thinking "this old rich dude really wanted to let people know he had money to throw around." In fact, when the Getty Villa had to be renovated, the collection was moved to a second location that was built to house it called the "Getty Center" which is now the larger of the two museums. Both are free to visit, but require you to pay for parking. Not a bad deal, but then Getty himself was known for being a tightwad. In fact, when one of his grandson's was kidnapped, Getty refused to pay the ransom. After multiple attempts to get the money and pleas from his son, he ponied up $2.2 million of the $3 million the kidnappers were asking for because that's the only amount that was tax deductible. The other $800K he loaned his son...with interest running on it.

I wonder how much of the art was a tax write-off? Either way, it was a fun day with Chef.

The reflection pool in one of the main gardens

Chef looking at a statue in one of the small ground floor galleries

My favorite part was probably looking at all the different jewelry they had back in the day. 

I also loved the huge cat funerary. 

View from the top of the villa to Malibu. The blue in the background is the Pacific. Or the sky.
 They kind of blend together nicely. 

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