I recently made a trip to the Getty Villa in order to do research for a paper I was writing. During my time there, I was stunned by the beauty of not only the artwork contained in the museum, but also the natural beauty of the area. Located near the ocean, the trip to the Getty Villa is an experience in itself.
However, once I was inside the museum, I marveled at the fact that one man was able to accumulate the wealth required to acquire and collect so much art. The entire property, a beautiful work of architecture in itself, is filled with various statues and paintings. Created to imitate a Greek Villa, there are large standing pools and beautiful engravings on the floors and walls.
However, it is important to remember the historical importance of locations like this one. The Getty Villa came out of an excess of wealth so great that a single museum was not enough to hold the possessions of one man. J. Paul Getty filled an entire gallery with art he owned and was then forced to construct the Getty Villa to house the excess. Never even visiting it before he died, Getty provided California with a valuable landmark, and a means to see important historic art.
However, the Getty Villa is a reminder of the greed which is often glorified in America. With wealth inequality a topic in the current election, it is crucial to examine examples of this inequality throughout our history. Although the Getty Villa now benefits the public, its founder’s accumulation of wealth had a large impact on society as a whole.