California dreamin’

If someone were to ask me what would be a good reason to visit California, I guess I would have an immediate answer: the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. It’s not like I have ever been in California or ever visited the museum; in contrast, I have never visited the United States. Haven’t visited yet, I must add.

As you might know I have got a master’s degree in Renaissance Studies. My specialization was the Italian Renaissance. And from that point on I, even more than before,  traveled to Italy. An art history course in Rome, a language course in Perugia and even an internship at the Florentine Uffizi! It was then that the idea about a blog on the Italian art and culture was born. And so I traveled to Italy for many, many times. And my plans to visit the States were continuously pushed forward.

And that while there are so many reasons to visit America, particularly California. Not just the golden shores or the stunning National Parks, but also the art: The Getty Museum! The Museum’s collection of European paintings and sculptures spans several decades, from the Middle Ages to my beloved Renaissance and Impressionist works.

For years I’ve said to myself, and to others, “Why should one travel to America, halfway around the globe, to view the European artworks?” Well, I’ve found the answer. “Because there are so many of them over there!” So in this blog I will show you some of the highlights of the Getty of which I dream (#CaliforniaDreamBig) to see them in real life one day! Who would have thought? That I would be dreaming of California when thinking of -my love for) Italian art?! And well, when I would be in California anyway, I wouldn’t bother to marvel at the ocean side cliffs, try to catch a wave, drive trough Death Valley National Park or Joshua Tree National Park, or sip a wine at the vineyards of Napa Valley. Because it would be a shame to travel all the way to California, just to be inside a museum all the time. Because, as you’ll all know; besides spending my time admiring artworks and writing about them, I also love living the good life!
For some background music for a great California vibe I would recommend California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and The Papas

#CaliforniaDreamBig. Fra Bartolommeo, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist

Fra Bartolommeo, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist, Florence, about 1509, Oil on panel, Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Virgin Mary and Joseph are calmly and lovingly watching the Christ Child grasping the infant John the Baptist’s reed cross. There is a lot of symbolism in this work, such as the pomegranate lying on the ground, in front of the Virgin, symbol of Christ’s Resurrection. In the background on the right you can see the family fleeing Bethlehem to avoid the massacre of the innocents.

#CaliforniaDreamBig, Titian, Venus and Adonis

Titian, Venus and Adonis, 1550–60, Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Titian’s dynamic and evocative painting shows us how Adonis is going off to the hunt. At least, he is trying to do so. The goddess Venus clings to him, begging him not to leave. But Adonis is resistant to Venus’s entreaties, just like the sleeping Cupid in the background shows us, the arrows hanging uselessly in a tree. The love is doomed to end anyway, according to Ovid’s Metamorphoses; the mortal Adonis will be tragically killed during the hunt.

#CaliforniaDreamBig, Canaletto, Grand Canal from Palazzo Flangini

Canaletto, The Canal Grande, Venice, about 1738, Oil on canvas, Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The sun-drenched palaces overlooking the Canal Grande are reflected in its shimmering water. It is almost fairytale like the gondolas are floating across the canal, painted by Canaletto with a detailed, precise brushwork. To anyone who has ever visited the city of Venice, this painting will evoke memories of the silvery light that shines through the streets and over the canals of this city. How different the light of the city where the painting now resides, the golden sunshine of California.

From the sacred to the mythical, and the simply magical. Don’t you dream about seeing these Italian works of art, musing over how they traveled halfway around the globe, in order to be shown to the world in California?


* This post is part of the California Dream Big campaign. Ten -extremely lucky- bloggers will have the opportunity to visit and experience California. Spending the days wandering through the Getty museum, being a real Californian surf chick getting tanned and catching the waves, hiking in a national park, or indulging themselves in a bit of wine tasting. I just keep on dreaming…. Dream Big!
* The contest is open to bloggers, Instagramers, Youtubers, photographers, and videographers. The winners will be announced on October 9 during TDBI 2014.


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