Monday, December 7, 2009

Immersed in Art & Culture .. Getty Villa - East Garden

The intimate East Garden within the grounds of the Getty Villa ...
a walled santuary space where you'll want to linger.

Delightful feverfew .. among the plantings in the East Garden;
 reflecting an array of species known from the ancient Mediterranean,
with sycamore and laurel trees providing shade.

The wall fountain represents a replica of a mosaic and shell fountain from the House of the Large Fountain in Pompeii. In A.D. 79 Mt. Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii and HerculaneumEmbellishments emerge at every turn. Mosaic work, enlivened by images of birds amid colorful patterning, is likened to wall paintings found inside Roman ruins.


The heads of bronze civets, catlike creatures spout splashing streams of water into a marble basin, in the East Garden's central fountain. Adorning the wall fountain are marble theatrical masks, prevalent elements in Roman art of the first century A.D.

It's easy to get lost in the detailing of the intricate mosaic and shell work.
The source of the water flowing from the wall fountain.

Detail:  Bronze Civets & Marble Basin

Fountains act as engaging focal points within the secluded setting.

 Evergreen strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) line up along one wall of the garden: the ripening spiny fruit appears like dangling ornaments set off by the glossy foliage. Fragrant clusters of  bell-like flowers appear alongside the fruit, which turns from a bright gold to deep red-orange.

Acanthus leaves are depicted again and again in ancient architectural elements, 
emerging in decorations carved in stone and in wood, in columns and friezes
dating back to Greco-Roman times.
Click on link below for more on the Getty Villa Malibu


  1. Mosaics would be good for off-season interest in all our gardens. Copying Pompeii works for Getty; some bits of tile would be grand in the garden.

  2. How glorious!

    I'm sure I read somewhere ages ago that acanthus leaves were first used as embellishments when an ancient sculptor/architect saw an acanthus growing up through a basket a workman had left on a site. He noticed how beautiful it was and thenceforth included it in his designs. Have you come across this story?

  3. You are so right about being lost in the details of the mosaic. What a beauty!

  4. Hello Alice,

    Another beautiful set of pictures. I am very impressed by the wall tiles. They are so eye-catching.

  5. I think the mosaic would aid contemplation in the garden, as I could stare at it for hours :)

  6. What is it about mosaics that makes them so innately satisfying? Perhaps it's the way the brain interprets or assembles images.

    I'm wondering if your Poseidon is actually Hercules -- as he seems to be wearing the skin of a lion. Would that make identifying the other fellow easier? Antaeus?

  7. I have added this place to my 'bucket list'. I better get a move on, if I expect to see all the places I want to see.

  8. oh. my. goodness. that place is heaven. I would need to be dragged out of there by my hair. So beautiful - thank you for sharing especially the close ups, such detail. I'm in love......

  9. The mosaics and fountain are beautiful.

  10. I do like the mosaics - they always look good in a garden. The plants in the fountain are good too. Much better than the empty area of water that you usually get around fountains.

  11. The details require hours of study, so much to digest in the whole. I love the masks and the face in the mosaic, full of intrigue. Wonderful!

  12. That is simply gorgeous. The mosaic work is stunning. Just looking at all that detailed work is humbling. What a beautiful place to visit!

  13. Lovely post Alice! The setting with the water fountain is enchanting and tranquil. I love all the colorful mosaics. Carol

  14. Incredibly beautiful mosaic work and classical themes. In my dreams I can mosaic like this! Although, just imagining cutting all that tesserae makes my hands hurt. gail