On Tuesday, February 18, the Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles, Ms. Elisabeth Fotiadou opened her home to a plethora of guests from the press, academic and the arts community in Southern California for a sneak peek of what is to be exhibited at the Getty Villa and the Getty Center from April 9 – August 24, 2014. The event was co-hosted by the Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum Dr. Timothy Potts.
The Exhibit, named “Heaven & Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections,” which will be free and open to the public, is the first that is organized by the Greek Ministry of Culture. In addition, Getty Trust signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.
The intimate event featured short presentations by the director of the Getty Museum Dr. Timothy Potts, the curator of the exhibition, Dr. Mary Hart and Ms. Fotiadou.
Dr. Hart took the stage and showed photos of some keynote items that a guest can expect to see at the exhibit, taking note of the history and uniqueness behind each one of them.
The collection, which is being lent to the Getty for exhibit by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Benaki Museum in Athens and other leading Museums from Greece, is currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it has received high accolades from the press and patrons of the arts. As the name of the exhibit reveals, it features artifacts of the Byzantine era that are normally on display in several museums in Greece. The items are expected to be transported from Washington to Los Angeles, concluding at the National Gallery exhibit.
While the manuscripts will be on display at the Getty Museum, the majority of the collection will be on display at the Getty Villa. The statuesque edifice on the Pacific Coast Highway that J. Paul Getty himself built to house his growing collection and once served as the original Getty Museum, might be the ideal place to host what Dr. Hart called the largest single collection of items ever displayed at the Getty Villa. The Villa, for those who have never visited it, sits atop a cliff where the American West sunsets meet the Pacific Ocean and closely resembles the atmosphere of the original home of the artifacts — Greece.
This is what Ms. Fotiadou’s presentation covered at the event; she took the attendees through a virtual tour of towns and sites where the artifacts that will be displayed during the exhibit originated from. She talked about places unknown to the average visitor of Greece. Towns like Monemvasia and Mistras that might not be what one has in mind when thinking of Greece, yet towns that are both picturesque and rich in Byzantine history and architecture. Her presentation skillfully bonded the original sites with the exhibition’s portrayed items as she encouraged interested parties to visit both the Getty’s exhibit as well as the original sites in Greece themselves.
The event that hosted about 70 attendees concluded with delicious home-cooked food inspired by Byzantine traditional recipes. For those interested in visiting the exhibit at the Getty Villa and the Getty Center, information and RSVP can be made here.