Needed some diversion from my concerns for Malibu’s public schools and my contempt for the Santa Monica school board bullies, and so it was off to the Getty, to do my weekly arts commentary, on public radio 99.1 KBU and select websites everywhere.
Crowning Brentwood above the 405, when the weather is benign the Getty cultural center is I feel an abiding sanctuary, graced with accessible art and reasonable fare.
Also personally attractive is that being so close to my Malibu,, makes me think of the Getty as my local museum.
And if there ever was a pair of glittering small gems epitomizing the Getty it is the current exhibits, Michelangelo to Degas, and Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India.
Michelangelo to Degas is hailed by the Getty as one of its most spectacular acquisitions of a private collection in its history, consisting of 16 drawings of a cadre of celebrated draftsman. Ii is a roster that includes Michelangelo, Tiepolo, Reubens, Degas, and my favorite Goya.
Of interest is that a pen and brown ink, opaque watercolor drawing of a figure in mourning credited to Michelangelo was discovered some 20 years ago, pasted into an album in the small library of an English castle. Then the Getty did what it does so well, and pursued it, and the obvious others.
All the art works fascinate, certainly when you consider how they were drawn in such exquisite detail, and with the limited raw materials and sketching tools available at the time. In viewing them closely, I suggest if possible do it with a hand held magnifying glass provided by Getty.
Included also in the exhibit, running to April 22, is a superb painting by Antoine Watteau,.
What makes the exhibit of Rembrandts particularly interesting is that his drawings of the Mughal court are very much in the popular Indian style, definitely not what Rembrandt was known for. They could be considered copies.
Also included for some perspective are his studies of 15th and 16th century Italian drawings, which unlike the Mughal paintings apparently influenced his art.
But the Indian sources remain unique in the master’s magnificent body of work. The exhibit runs until June 24th, and given that it will soon be Spring, consider that after viewing may I suggest contemplating it while having a coffee sitting on one of the cultural center’s inviting terraces.
To me that is a perfect day.