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The Getty Museum’s Shockingly Awesome Art as Categorized by a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer With a Public Policy Degree

October 2, 2020
Grifo de California, Walton Ford, 2017, interpreted as Unicorno de D.C. in towels, swimsuit, sweaters, skeleton hands, unicorn mask, alien beverage holder, and hand vacuum, 2020, Getty Challenge
Grifo de California, Walton Ford, 2017, interpreted as Unicorno de D.C. in towels, swimsuit, sweaters, skeleton hands, unicorn mask, alien beverage holder, and hand vacuum, 2020

Back before things went dystopian, I visited the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The artwork was amazing. Not normal amazing, but “the-Getty-has-a-$6.9-billion-endowment-and-can-keep-all-the-artwork-in-perfect-shape” amazing. The pieces at the Getty are beautiful. Having seen them, I feel like I now have a better understanding of just how big billions might be.

Although the powers that be permitted me to enter the Getty for free and handed me no-cost tour headphones, they can’t make me categorize the art in any sort of normal way. Here’s how I divided up what I saw:

If you are scrolling and not using the hyperlinks above, you might be just the type of person interested in Wikipedia information about J. Paul Getty’s frugality. If that isn’t your thing despite your being a scroller, I simply recommend you thank the Worm you are not a Getty grandchild.

On to the categories!

Side-eye!

Portrait of a Bearded Man, Jacopo Bassano, 1510
The Dragon Slayer, Franz von Stuck, 1913

For a bit more information about the painting above, here’s a picture of the related information placard at the museum.

The Adoration of the Magi with Saint Anthony Abbot, Unknown Franco-Flemish Master, about 1400
Double Portrait, Michael Sweerts, About 1660-1662

Strange Things in the Sky

The Vision of Saint Bruno, Pier Francesco Mola, about 1660
Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, and An Angel Crowning Saints Cecilia and Valerian, Unknown Italian Master, 1330s
The Annunciation, Tommaso del Mazza, 1390-1395

Hats and Looks

Isabella of Portugal, Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden, about 1450
Portrait of Francisco de los Cobos y Molina, Jan Gossaert, about 1530-32
Head of a Woman, Michael Sweerts, about 1654
Portrait of Jeanne Kéfer, Fernand Khnopff, 1885
Portrait of Madame Brunet, Édouard Manet, about 1861-63, reworked 1867

The portrait above has an interesting story that can be found here on the Getty Museum’s related placard.

An Old Man in Military Costume, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, about 1630-31
The “Piebald” Horse, Paulus Potter, about 1650-54

Fodder For My Fantasy Career of Making Inlaid Tables and Selling Them on Etsy

Portrait of Pope Clement VIII, Jacopo Ligozzi and Tadda, 1600-1601
Detail of Portrait of Pope Clement VIII, Jacopo Ligozzi and Tadda, 1600-1601
Spring in the Alps, Giovanni Segantini, 1897
Detail of Spring in the Alps, Giovanni Segantini, 1897
Architectural Scene, Wilhelm Fistulator, About 1650
Detail of Architectural Scene, Wilhelm Fistulator, About 1650

Oddly-Bared Breasts

The Virgin and Child, right side of the Melun Diptych, Jean Fouquet, about 1452-55

My attempts to understand the shape of awesome in the painting above led me into a 40-minute Wikipedia rabbit hole that started with the actual subject of the painting — Madame de Pompadour, who was the official chief mistress of Louis XV. I can’t believe the museum’s extra information placard had nothing to say about the bright red angel cherub dudes!

The Holy Family, Jan Gossaert, about 1507-8

More Black

The Temptation of Saint Anthony, Lelio Orsi, 1570s
Astronomer by Candlelight, Gerrit Dou, late 1650s

These are Pastels? Really? But They Are So Precise!

The two portraits below are pastels. I think we can all agree that is crazy.

Portrait of Maria Frederike van Reede-Athlone at Seven Years of Age, Jean-Étienne Liotard, 1755-56
Portrait of George de Ligne Gregory, John Russell, 1793

Shadows of Mercury

I just like shadows. And obviously, someone at the Getty takes them seriously, too.

Shadow of Mercury, Johan Gregor van der Schardt, about 1570-80
Mercury, Johan Gregor van der Schardt, about 1570-80
Shadows of Mercury, Johan Gregor van der Schardt, about 1570-80

Please Excuse the Lounging

Portrait of Princess Leonilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1843
Mischief and Repose, John William Godward, 1895

Van Gogh’s The Irises

Irises, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Less-Famous Art of Famous Artists

Head with Horns, Paul Gauguin, about 1895-97
Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning, Claude Monet, 1891
Portrait of Anthony Valabrégue, Paul Cézanne, 1869-71
Starry Night, Edvard Munch, 1893

I have an Edvard Munch thing. “Starry Night” is pretty cool. So were the Munch prints I saw a few years ago at the National Gallery of Art in D.C.

Detail of Starry Night, Edvard Munch, 1893

Won’t Fit Up the Staircase in my Townhouse

Bed (Lit á la turque), Jean-Baptiste Tilliard, about 1750-1760
Side Table, Johann Paul Schor, 1670
The Empress Sailing, French, 1697-1705
Planisphere Clock, French, about 1745-1749
I forgot to note this object’s name and creator. Please email me (info in “about”) if you know. Thanks!

Disturbing Proportions

The Trinity with the Virgin, Saints John the Evangelist, Stephen, and Lawrence, and a Donor, The Peter Hemmel von Andlau Workshop, 1479
The Coronation of the Virgin, Gentile da Fabriano, about 1420

The Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

These are from an actual Getty exhibit — “Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World.”

Grifo de California, Walton Ford, 2017
Pray, Kate Clark, 2012
Sit, Stand, Kneel, Janet Macpherson, 2019
Detail of Sit, Stand, Kneel, Janet Macpherson, 2019

That’s it. Those were amazing, right?!?

The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center is closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they have great online resources. I recommend checking out the Getty’s artwork re-creations if you missed the craze during the spring. Doing a google search on “Getty challenge” is also pretty hilarious.

Also, the Getty challenge is hard!

Grifo de California, Walton Ford, 2017, interpreted as Unicorno de D.C. in towels, swimsuit, sweaters, skeleton hands, unicorn mask, alien beverage holder, and hand vacuum, 2020, Getty Challenge
Grifo de California, Walton Ford, 2017, interpreted as Unicorno de D.C. in towels, swimsuit, sweaters, skeleton hands, unicorn mask, alien beverage holder, and hand vacuum, 2020
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