We arrived at our long-sought-after destination with visions of splendid gardens and famous portraits swimming through our heads.
Years ago, a high school art history teacher took my senior class on a field trip to The Getty . The Getty was supposed to showcase some of the incredible art we had previously studied in our class including the likes of Van Gogh and Monet. On the field trip, my friends and I spent an entire day wandering around the many galleries and scenic gardens, vowing to return again. A month ago, we finally braved the famous but dreadful Los Angeles traffic.
I prefer to think that the Getty is somewhat of a little secret in Southern California. While most people typically think of L.A. as a conglomeration of good weather, movie stars, and small, upscale art galleries; the Getty quietly serves as a museum comparable (in some regards) to San Francisco’s MOMA or New York’s Guggenheim. Resting quietly in the Los Angeles hilltops above visible smog, the Getty exudes a serenity rarely felt in its downtown location.
My friends and I parked in a massive structure and waited in line to take a tram up to the museum’s entrance. Although parking at the Getty costs money ($15 for the a car), the admission is absolutely free. After taking a five-minute tram ride, we had reached the entrance of the museum. A stunning and modern architecture surrounding the Getty consists of tan pillars and wonderful water installations. Naturally, we had to take some pictures in front of the stunning building.
We started our gallery walk in the early art rooms showcasing byzantine portraits and ancient vases. As we continued into more buildings, we saw European paintings ranging from the 1600’s to the 1800’s including artists such as Rubens and Vermeer. One of my favorite exhibits displayed rather ostentatious furniture from the Rococo period. There were French grandfather clocks and gaudy wallpaper in rooms set up to imitate both bedrooms and living quarters of this time period. I was further mesmerized by Van Gogh’s Irises, which is now serving as the wallpaper on my phone.
As we strolled (to what I may consider), the most gorgeous gardens on the Getty property. We had previously witnessed panoramic views of downtown L.A. from the top of the art galleries, but the gardens are another breathtaking beast entirely. The outside includes a maze that winds visitors through green archways and rose pathways with all of downtown L.A. in the background! I could probably spend an entire day just in the Getty’s gardens.
The Getty is a complete must-see for those who live in or outside of Los Angeles. Only rarely do places illuminate so gracefully and magnificently the arts of the past.