Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Dec 15, 2013


On November 29, we visited J. Paul Getty Museum. We wanted to see the special exhibit, "The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New beginning." On loan from the British Museum the exhibition highlights the artistic, cultural and historical achievements the Achaemenid Empire of Iran, especially those related to Cyrus the Great, who ruled the extensive Iranian empire from 559 through 530 B.C.
I was particularly interested in seeing the Cyrus Cylinder. Found at Babylon in 1879, the Cylinder, which in cuneiform script records the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C. Most importantly, it documents how he allowed  Jews, who had been earlier been exiled from the city, to return and restoration by him of their religious traditions.

Image: Cyrus Cylinder (Source Getty Museum Publicity Material)

Unfortunately, I was not able to see it, since to my shock, I discovered that this exhibition had been housed in a different Getty building miles away from where I was. Therefore, I decided to view other special exhibits on display there.

"Gods and Heroes" was the first exhibit I saw. It consisted of drawings, from the 1400's to the 1800s, of the mythological stories and characters that have been central to Western culture. I particularly likes two drawings.

The first drawing I liked waas by the Italian pastel painter, Rosabella Carriera (1657-1757). Entitled "Muse" it presented a rosy-cheeked young woman, decked with a wreathe made of leaves. Rosabella Carriera is believed to be the first person to use pastels exclusively.

The other drawing was by the French artist Anne-Louise Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (!767-1824). It depicted a Greek myth about Phaedra, wife Thesus. She is shown as rejecting the embraces of her husband, since she had fallen in love with his son, Hippolytus.

Then I wandered into another special exhibit "Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister." It showcased two rare masterpieces of English medieval art, stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, an illuminated book of psalms.

Image: Stained glass windows from an exhibit poster

These richly ornamented windows from the Canterbury Cathedral display the art of glass painting after the 11th century conquest of England by William the Conqueror. They depict ancestors of Christ.

The most outstanding display in this exhibit was of three wall-sized pictures of different parts of the Cathedral. They were so realistic, that they me feel as if one was right there inside the Cathedral.

To my disappointment, photography was not allowed inside this exhibit. And I had to be contented with pictures of posters outside.

Located on the top of a hill, in the Brentwood neighborhood, the J. Paul Getty Museum overlooks Los Angeles.
Image: Los Angeles from the terrace of J. Paul Getty Museum
The Museum sits in the middle of large gardens.


Image: A view of the gardens of the J. Paul Getty Museum
A tram whisks away visitors from the 7-storeys deep underground parking garage to the Arrival Plaza. 

Image: Arrival Plaza of the J. Paul Getty Museum
From the Arrival Plaza, a set of stairs leads visitors to the main entrance of the exhibit galleries.

Image: Stairs to the Exhibit Galleries of J. Paul Getty Museum
As we were about to leave the Museum, sunset illuminated its buildings and birds-of-paradise flowers.
Image: Buildings and Birds of Paradise flowers at sunset
Next I will write to you our overnight visit south of the international border to Rosarito and Tijuana, in Baja California, Mexico.


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