J. Paul Getty Museum

Langdon, Wilson, and Mumper
1970-74



The museum is a re-creation (not a reproduction) of the Villa dei Papyri, a Roman villa buried at Herculaneum in 79 C. E., with some features derived from other buildings in Herculaneum and Pompeii. It is built on a podium (a space for visitor parking and other services--not visible here) with a 300 foot long main peristyle with columns made of reinforced concrete (as a caution against earthquakes). Columns on three of the sides of the peristyle use the Doric order while those of the taller entrance facade use the Corinthian order. The main peristyle has a reflecting pool surrounded by bronze statues. Trees, shrubs, and flowers are the types that would have been in the original villa. The interior has about forty galleries on two levels, often embellished with gold and colored marbles.

This controversial building has been criticized as being cold or in bad taste. It has been seen as Walt Disneyish and faulted for not being a faithful reproduction and for combining styles in an incongruous way. Interiors have been criticized for being too opulent and gaudy, often competing with the works of art. Norman Neuerburg, Getty's consultant for archaeology, has defended the museum's authenticity and claims that this scholarly adaptation differs dramatically from Hollywood movie sets. Other defenders see the museum as populist and post-modern.

The museum is currently closed for remodeling.



See this site for a selection of antique works which will be relocated later in the remodeled Getty Museum in Malibu.

See also the new Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.


© 2000 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

Page maintained by Mary Ann Sullivan, sullivanm@bluffton.edu