The Getty Villa section contains 150 images of ancient Sculptures, Funerary Art and
Decorative Art from the Getty Villa on 2 separate pages. This Overview page contains
some sample images from each page and a Display Composite leading to each page.

Most images in the Getty Villa section are 1500-1600 pixels in the long direction.
A detailed description and some historical information accompanies each image.

The Getty Villa is in Cañon de Sentimiento in Pacific Palisades, although it is erroneously
said to be in Malibu (even by the Getty), probably because of the cache of the Malibu name.
The Getty Villa is only about a mile from the border of Malibu, so I guess it is understandable.

The original Getty Museum was the Spanish Colonial Ranch House. The property was
expanded beginning in 1968, recreating a Roman villa based upon the Villa dei Papiri in
Herculaneum as well as several other Roman villas and stately homes. The Villa opened
in 1974, but was never visited by Getty, who died in 1976. When the new Getty Center
was completed in 1997, the art at the Villa was moved and the Villa was renovated,
 reopening in 2006. It now houses the Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities.

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Getty Villa Index

Ancient Sculptures and Statuettes      Funerary and Decorative Art        

Getty Museum Index

                                  Getty Paintings
               Architecture      1300-1650                
Getty Sculptures Index                                                
                     Ancient Sculpture      Getty Decorative Arts Index
     Modern Sculpture       Furniture                   
             Bronze Sculpture       Decorative Art                 


Aphrodite Cult Statue HS4093

Cult Statue of a Goddess, Greek (South Italy), 425-400 BC, limestone, marble and pigment.

The Cult Statue of a Goddess, also known as the Getty Aphrodite and the Morgantina Venus, is a monumental (7.5 ft., 2.3 m) acrolithic (with stone extremities) statue of a deity (probably Aphrodite, Hera or Persephone), made of Sicilian limestone and Parian marble which was acquired by the Getty in 1988 and returned to Italy in 2010 when it was determined that it was most likely illegally excavated in 1977 or 1978 near the 5th-to-1st century BC town of Morgantina in Sicily.

The Cult Statue of a Goddess was originally purchased by the Getty in 1988 for $18 million. Often identified with Aphrodite, experts now consider it to be a representation of either Persephone or Hera. The Goddess now resides in a 17th century Capuchin monastery in Aidone, near the town of Morgantina where it was excavated. The windblown drapery of the Goddess is a clear reference to Phidias, the Greek master sculptor who carved the figures adorning the Parthenon in Athens, and it is one of very few in existence from the high Classical period in Greece.


Tyche HS3707

Tyche, Greek, 150-100 BC, Marble.

This 33 inch Hellenistic-period Greek marble statue of Tyche, identified by the crown shaped as a city wall, is one of the antiquities which the Getty returned to Italy. The small size of the sculpture suggests that it was used for private worship. Holes in the ears and the back of the neck indicate that the statuette was originally adorned with earrings and a necklace.


Apollo HS3778

Apollo, Roman, 100-200 AD, marble

Apollo (god of prophecy, music and poetry), depicted as a young man. Carved in the Archaistic Greek style, the god stands next to the fragmentary hindquarters of a seated griffin. While the mass of corkscrew curls is a Roman feature, the smile and the folds of drapery are characteristically Greek. This is also one of the antiquities which was returned to Italy.


Enthroned Zeus HS3767

Enthroned Zeus, Greek, c. 100 BC, marble.

In about 430 BC, the sculptor Pheidias created a colossal, forty-foot tall, gold and ivory statue of Zeus for the temple of Zeus at Olympia, one of the most important religious sanctuaries in the Greek world. Pheidias's cult statue later came to be considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The sculptor of this marble statuette was strongly influenced by that famous image. Zeus, the king of the gods, sits on an elaborately ornamented, high-backed throne with his feet on a footstool. His cloak is wrapped about his body in a manner that leaves his powerful chest exposed. His raised right hand would probably have held a scepter and his left hand a thunderbolt. This 29 inch statuette may have served as a cult statue in a private shrine of a wealthy Greek or Roman home. As the marine incrustations indicate, this statuette spent a long period of time submerged in the sea. The unmarred left side of the sculpture was probably buried in the sand and was thus protected.


Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar HS3724


Aphrodite HS3746

Statuette of Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar, Greek, Tanagra, 250-200 BC, terracotta with polychromy.

Aphrodite (goddess of love) leans on a pillar wearing a wreath of flowers and a cloak draped around her hips. The goddess's pose is based on an earlier clothed statue of Aphrodite made by the sculptor Pheidias in the 5th century BC. In accordance with later Hellenistic tastes, the terracotta artist chose to depict her semi-nude to emphasize her sensuality. Aphrodite's outstretched left hand originally held an offering, probably either a dove or an offering bowl. The figurine, originally brightly painted, still bears traces of red paint. The city of Tanagra in northern Greece was a leading producer of small terracotta figurines, which were exceedingly popular in 300-200 BC. Women, especially elaborately and stylishly dressed women, were the favorite subject matter, but the figurines also often portray handsome youths, children, and Eros, the winged young god of love.

Statuette of Aphrodite, Hellenistic Greek, 200-150 BC, bronze.

The apple held in the left hand is an attribute of Aphrodite, but the fashionable clothing and the crescent-shaped stephane decorated with foliate scrolls suggest that a real woman, possibly Queen Apollonis of Pergamon, is depicted as Aphrodite. The stephane was a crown-like headpiece in the shape of a metal arc which extended down behind the ears, worn by ancient Greek and Roman aristocrats to avoid damaging their elaborate hairstyle with a hat. Queen Apollonis, who was contemporary with this statuette, was depicted in a fragmentary statue wearing a very similar stephane. The woman is increasing her stature by wearing platform thong sandals with a notch between the big toe and the others, a style which was at the height of fashion in the early second century BC.


Statuette Guardian God with Spouted Horn HS3692


Etruscan Statuette dedicated to Lur HS3697

Statuette of a Guardian God with a Spouted Horn, Roman 200-300 AD, bronze.

This statuette (the Lar/Genius of Aurelius Valerius, a lar familiaris), was a household deity that protected members of a family to ensure their health and prosperity. Holding a goat-protome rhyton (a spouted horn drinking  vessel) and a patera (offering dish), it would have been in the lararium, a small shrine found in every Roman house from the time of Augustus onward. The Lares, protective spirits who watched over the household, were originally gods of cultivated fields and were worshipped at crossroads. This statuette of a bushy-haired youth is dressed in a short tunic with a long sash or mantle knotted around his waist and draped over his arms. The inscription on the base reads “to the Genius of Aurelius Valerius, praetorian soldier”. A genius was the protective spirit of a male person in the Latin-speaking world.

Statuette Inscribed with a Dedication to the God Lur, Etruscan, 300-280 BC, bronze.

Cast hollow over a partial core with nipples inlaid in copper, this bronze Etruscan statuette is barefoot and wears a short, semicircular mantle. The large head is more mature than the youthful body, which is posed with its weight on the left foot with the right leg relaxed and placed slightly to the side, imparting an S-shaped curve to the torso. Both arms are bent, with both large hands spread in a gesture of prayer. The facial expression, arrangement of the hair over the forehead, and twist of the head are inspired by portraits of Alexander the Great, who had died about a generation before the casting of this statue. The votive  description on the mantle dedicates the statuette to Lur from Vel Matunas, a South Etruscan prince who apparently dedicated this statue of himself to the Fanum Voltumnae, the federal sanctuary of the 12 Etruscan cities near Orvieto.


Victorious Youth HS3642


Victorious Youth HS3648

Victorious Youth (Fano Athlete, Getty Bronze), Greek, attributed to Lysippos, 300-100 BC, bronze.

The Victorious Youth was cast using the lost-wax process. The statue is wreathed, and probably commemorated an athletic triumph at Olympia, where the olive wreath was given as a prize, and it may have stood in the Olympian sanctuary or in the athlete's home town. The head was cast separately from the body, and the eyes were once inlaid (probably with bone). The nipples are made of contrasting copper. The left hand is partially closed, and may have originally held a palm branch.

The sculpture was attributed to Lysippos by scholars just after the Getty acquired it in 1977, but as there are no incontrovertible originals by Lysippos, it was later determined that Lysippos may have been a possible inspiration for statues of this type. Recently, very few scholars insist that the bronze is an original by Lysippos. Some scholars have identified the statue as a youthful successor to Alexander the Great, and most scholars now describe the statue as "Lysippan or post-Lysippan".


The Getty Villa Ancient Sculptures and Statuettes page contains 80 images, including a
few images which were taken in the Getty Center before the sculptures were moved back
to the Getty Villa after renovations were completed in 2006. Included on this page are the
Victorious Youth, Enthroned Zeus and other art objects from Greece, Rome and Etruria.


Outer Peristyle Reflecting Pool Getty Villa HS3542

The Outer Peristyle and Reflecting Pool at the Getty Villa, overlooking the ocean in Pacific Palisades, California. The 210 foot long pool is only 18 inches deep to avoid having to maintain a lifeguard around the clock. The Outer Peristyle and the Reflecting Pool are reproductions from other Roman villas on the Bay of Naples, as much of the Villa dei Papiri remains unexcavated. The Getty Villa reproduced details of ancient Roman homes in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae.


Gravestone of a Woman with Attendant HS3593

Gravestone with a Woman and Her Attendant, Greek, c. 100 BC, marble.

Lounging in a cushioned armchair, a woman reaches out to touch the lid of a shallow chest held by a servant girl on this funerary relief. The depiction of the deceased reaching out for an item held by a servant has a long history in Greek funerary art and probably alludes to the hope of continuing earthly pleasures in the afterlife. The dead woman must have come from a prominent and wealthy family. Numerous elements on the relief signal her high status, as do the scale and overall quality of the work. She wears snake-bracelets, presumably gold, on her upper and lower arms. Her elaborate chair has a turned leg decorated with lions' paws and an eagle arm-support. Also the clothes and hairstyle of the attendant characterize the young girl as a slave.

This relief has been substantially altered over the years. Originally, it took the form of a shallow naiskos, or three-sided grave monument, but three elements have been cut away: an architectural top portion, probably in the form of a pediment; the left side wall; and a lower portion that probably had an inscription. These alterations may have occurred in 1770 when the relief became part of the collection of Lord Lansdowne and was hung over a door in his London house.


Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus HS4070

Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus, Roman, Rome, 210-220 AD, supports: 1800s, marble.
(Dionysiac Sarcophagus of Maconiana Severiana)

The sarcophagus is in the shape of a lenos (tub), and is decorated with reliefs on all four sides (those on the back are shallow). The inscription on the lid of this sarcophagus identifies its former occupant, Maconiana Severiana, as being from a senatorial family. "To the soul of the deceased. For Maconiana Severiana, the sweetest daughter, Marcus Sempronius Faustinianus, vir clarissimus [holding a senatorial rank], and Praecilia Severiana, clarissima femina [from a senatorial family], her parents [had this made]." Given the small size of the sarcophagus, Maconiana must have been a child or adolescent.

The front of the sarcophagus shows a Dionysiac revel, culminating in the discovery of the sleeping Ariadne, shown lying down on the right. Abandoned by the Greek hero Theseus, Ariadne awakened to a new life with Dionysos, the god of wine. The back of the sarcophagus shows another Dionysiac scene of winemaking carved in a simpler, flatter style. Panels with related figures are flanking the central inscription on the lid. For the Romans, Dionysos was associated with the hope of a better afterlife; thus many sarcophagi show the god and his followers.

Sculpted stone sarcophagi, which came into use in the 200s A.D., soon became symbols of wealth and status. Since Romans favored certain themes for sarcophagi, they were often bought ready-made and then customized by the addition of a portrait of the deceased. The blank face of Ariadne should have been carved as a portrait of Maconiana Severiana. Why it was left blank in this instance is not clear.


Antefix Dancing Maenad and Satyr HS4076

Antefix in the form of a Maenad and Silenos Dancing, South Etruscan, 500-475 BC, terracotta and pigment.

This early 5th century BC Etruscan roof ornament was also among the antiquities which were returned to Italy by the Getty.

A Maenad was a female follower of Dionysus (Bacchus in the Roman Pantheon). Often portrayed in a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and intoxication, their name literally translates as the "raving ones". Silenos (or Silenus) was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus. Typically older than other satyrs in Dionysus' retinue, the earlier Silenos resembled a folkloric man or the forest with the ears (and sometimes the legs and tail) of a horse.

This two-figure group was made by mold and is joined at the rear to fragments of a semicircular cover tile. The left ear, left arm and shoulder, left hip, leg and foot of Silenos and the right edge of the base are missing. The Maenad and Silenos stride to the right, each with an arm around the other's shoulder. The barefooted Maenad's legs are in profile, her body is in 3/4 view, and she averts her head from Silenos, turning it towards the front. The Maenad wears a thin chiton and has a light mantle over her back with zigzag-patterned ends which fall over her shoulders. In her right hand, she carries a pair of castanets. Between her feet you can see the right hoof of Silenos. A fragmentary antefix (probably from the same mold) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York shows that Silenos wore a panther skin, one paw of which hung between his left leg and the Maenad.

The original polychrome paint is exceptionally well-preserved for an artifact of this period. The Maenad's red chiton is scattered with rosettes (four white dots), and around its lower edge runs a border of black and white stripes. The mantle is striped in white, black and red. The Maenad's skin is white, the skin of Silenos is ocher. This is one of the largest surviving examples of this type of antefix, which may have come from Cerveteri.


Trapezophoros Griffins eating Doe HS4057

Trapezophoros, Two Griffins Attacking a Doe, Greek (South Italy), 325-300 BC, marble and pigment.

Carved from a single block of stone (except for the Griffin's ears), this polychrome marble trapezophoros (table support) is distinguished by its naturalistic forms and attention to detail. Brightly colored pigment, some of which is still visible on the wings, crests and in other areas, increased the dynamic rendering of the Griffins. The two Griffins crouch over their fallen prey on a rough base similar to those used for ancient Attic funerary animals of the 4th century BC.

The curling Ionic wings (traditionally eastern Greek) were carved as a single piece (not separated), and each has a large rectangular and horizontal slot and a vertical groove on the facing, probably designed for a metal or wooden support for the table top which rested on the curling upper surface of the wings. The high quality of the carving and the stylistic detail of the animals (especially the  eyes, which are treated as a raised dome) indicate that this was carved within the period when the last of the Athenian funerary beasts were created in the quarter century just after the death of Alexander the Great.

Purchased from diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman for $6.5 million along with the statue of Apollo (above), it was part of the looted antiquities depicted on the Medici Polaroids and was returned to Italy along with the other objects once it had been determined that they were illegally obtained. The Trapezophoros was illegally excavated from a Macedonian tomb near Ascoli Satriano (Foggia, Italy) in 1976-77, and is considered to be a masterpiece, with no pre-existing equals.


Earrings Nike HS4010

Earrings with Nike Pendants, Hellenistic Greek, 225-175 BC, gold and glass

Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory with her spread wings and windblown drapery, form the primary decoration of these Hellenistic gold earrings. The two figures are mirror images of each other, assembled hollow by hammering sheet gold over a form (earlier Nike earring figures were cast by the lost-wax process). The sheet gold wings are edged by spirally beaded wire, and the feathers are filigree-outlined compartments originally filled with colored enamel, some of which remains.

Each figure carries a torch decorated with spirally beaded wire, ending in a flame-shaped setting for colored glass or stone. The disks are bordered with small outward-radiating petals, with a large palmette at the top of filigree-outlined lobes which may have originally been enameled, and a pear-shaped central setting which originally held a stone. In the center of each disk is a concave saucer holding an attached rosette with two layers of petals, the inner set of which are heart-shaped with surface granulation. In the center of each flower is a carnelian-colored glass bead held in by a gold pin with a granulated head.

Earrings of this type, with a figural pendant hanging from a decorated rosette disk and a U-shaped hook, were popular from the second half of the 4th century BC. The technical and stylistic features of this pair date them to the late 200s to early 100s BC.


Hairnet Ptolemaic HS4020


Incense Burner Nike HS3812

Hairnet with Aphrodite and Eros, Ptolemaic Greek, Alexandria, Egypt, 220-100 BC, gold, garnet and glass paste.

Very few gold hairnets have survived from antiquity. This example, made to be worn over a bun at the back of a head, is remarkable for the quality and degree of its elaboration. The hairnet consists of four elements: the medallion, the tassels and chains, the net, and the circular base. The medallion bears a bust of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, accompanied by her son Eros at her shoulder, surrounded by bands of filigree. Tassels strung with beads of glass paste, garnet and moonstone on long chains hang from the medallion and clasp. The net itself consists of bands of gold chains sheathed in gold spool beads, a typical Hellenistic design, linked by crossed chains decorated with Dionysiac masks. The circular base is embellished with a large Herakles knot, floral tendrils, ivy leaves, and berries.

Thymiaterion (Incense Burner) Supported by Nike, Greek, Taras, South Italy, c. 500-480 BC, terracotta and pigment.

Nike, the winged goddess of Victory, acts as a caryatid supporting the bowl of a thymiaterion (incense burner) and its egg-shaped openwork lid, on which a dove is perched. Nike gestures with her right hand while pulling her garment to the side with her left. Traces of the original pink, purple, red and blue pigments which originally decorated this terracotta figure still remain. The pose and costume are identical with contemporary large-scale marble statues of young women from the late Archaic period which are known as korai. The inside of the bowl shows no sign of burning, so this may have been placed unused into a tomb.


Volute Krater Apollo and Artemis HS4153

Mixing Vessel with Apollo and Artemis, attributed to the Palermo Painter,
Greek, Lucania, South Italy, about 415-400 BC, terracotta Volute Krater (22 in. tall).

A fine example of Lucanian ceramics, this is the only volute krater that can currently be attributed to the Palermo Painter.

A gathering of deities decorates the front of this red-figure volute krater, made in a Greek colony in the region of Lucania in southern Italy. The twin gods Apollo and Artemis occupy the center of the scene. Apollo holds a kithara, denoting his role as god of music, and Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, is accompanied by her sacred deer. Their mother Leto stands at the right. On the left, the god Hermes leans on a pillar inscribed with his name, which represents either a boundary marker or a goalpost. Two pairs of youths stand conversing on the back of the vase.

The top of the lip is reserved. On it is an egg-and-dot pattern, and under the lip are enclosed upright palmettes. A black relief border runs between narrow reserved lines with a pink wash. On the neck, side A shows a laurel wreath to the right, with pointed leaves and added red stems. On side B is a veined laurel wreath with berries on the right, also with pointed leaves. The berries and leaf stems are painted pink. Both wreaths appear between narrow reserved lines, the lower one inset. On the shoulder are tongues between reserved lines. Below the scenes on the body is a meander band, groups of two, three, and four interrupted by crossed squares with a black dot in each corner. The edge of the foot is reserved, with a narrow black line, and the underside is reserved. The volutes have a central vent hole. On the flange are black ivy leaves on both sides of a wavy stem. Under each handle are enclosed palmettes, superposed tip to tip, surrounded by spirals, two horizontal palmette fans and side scrolls. Under the root of each handle is a small enclosed hanging palmette.

The volute krater was a large serving vessel used to mix wine and water at a symposium or drinking party. Large symposium vessels like this one began to be produced in the Greek colonies in Italy in the late 400s B.C. Before this time, the colonists had simply imported their fine pottery from Athens, but at this time local painted pottery workshops emerged. Proportionally few vases made in Lucania, the "toe" of Italy, have survived.


The Getty Villa Funerary and Decorative Art page contains 78 images, including a
few images of the Outer Peristyle and the Mosaic-Shell Fountain in the East Garden,
ancient Greek and Roman gravestones, grave monuments and sarcophagi, altars,
armor, amphorae, jewelry and other art objects from Greece, Rome and Etruria.


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Getty Museum section Index page.