Project #65486 - Art works in Getty Villa, Malibu, CA

Art in Context
Getty Villa in Malibu
Art 1A, Spring 2015 Andres

DUE DATE: April 7th, 2015

You are to visit the Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades, choose a work of art and then think critically about the way the work is displayed and the way the meaning of the work is communicated to the visitor. The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to think critically about the concepts that we have discussed in class while looking at art.

OVERVIEW OF THE ASSIGNMENT and MUSEUM GUIDE: (This project will have two sections)

Section 1:

While at the Getty Villa, choose a work of art from the parameters of class. Make sure you choose a work that appeals to you then write a detailed description of the work you have chosen. You will need to spend some time in front of your work (clock yourself and spend at least ten minutes looking at your work). As you look at your work, write down everything you observe. Include the following: material, color, texture, forms, shapes, size, etc. You will want to create a verbal “picture” or “reproduction of the work” in writing. You must also take a picture of your work, draw it, or buy a copy of it at the gift store.

Section 2:

Explain to me how the work is displayed and how the curatorial staff has conveyed the meaning of the work of art. How has this context informed the way in which you understand the work? In approaching this section, look at the other works that surround your work. Are they of the same style, period, theme? How have the curators organized the information about your work? Is there wall text that explains the works in the room? You may want to take pictures of the room where your work is displayed.

VISTING THE Getty Villa:

You will be visiting the Getty Villa located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, California 90272 which is open every day but Tuesday 10 am
5pm. Admission is free but parking costs $15. YOU NEED TO MAKE A PARKING RESERVATION IN ADVANCE TO GO THE GETTY VILLA. Information about visiting the museum, making parking reservations and public transportation are all available at You will need to provide proof that you have visited the museum. Go to guest services and request of proof of visit ticket which the attendant will give you.
I will arrange for our class to have free group days at the Getty which I will announce in class. This means that you will not need reservations and that you can park for free at the
museum if you are carpooling with someone (doesn’t have to be with the class) if you go on those days. The group reservation will be under PASADENA CITY COLLEGE which you will tell the guard at the parking lot entrance. In the past, the museum has been so crowded that they have not honored our free parking so please have $15 just in case.

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Your paper should be two to three pages in length. You should carefully edit and proofread your paper before turning it in.


Use 81/2 x 11 paper, black ink, 10 or 12 point font, double space, with no extra space between paragraphs. Margins should be 1 or 1.5 inches all around, page numbers should be at the bottom of the page. When starting a new paragraph indent five spaces at the beginning, if using a quote longer than five lines, indent the entire quote and single space.

SECTION 1: Introduction and description of work

Open the paper with a brief formal introduction in which you cite the artist, title, date if known, where it comes from, and then explain the subject matter, including who (or what) is in it and what they are doing. You should assume that I am unfamiliar with the piece you are describing. Then present an in- depth formal description of your work. Use the description that you write while at the museum as the basis of this section of the paper. It is helpful to refer to Sylvan Barnett’s A Short Guide to Writing About Art (New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 2009) for this section of your paper.

You should assume that I am unfamiliar with the piece you are describing. You should speak to some or all of the following issues, not necessarily in this order:

The composition

Discuss the major elements of form in the image. What are the horizontal lines? How about the verticals? Diagonals? Any prominent triangles, circles, or squares? What lines or shapes catch the eye the most?

The handling of space

Is the represented space flat or deep (is there recession into depth or does your eye stays on the surface? Is the horizon line high or low? Does a panoramic view suggest limitless space and thus freedom? Might a view from above looking down emphasize depth and therefore power? An omniscient point of view?

The color and texture

What are the dominant colors in the image? Does one color link several areas of the work? Does an important object blend in with or stand out from the surroundings? Do the colors seem symbolic in some way? Are there contrasts of texture in the work? How do these convey meaning? For example, smoothness of skin might be exaggerated by it’s nearness to a rough surface.

The lighting

What are the brightest areas of the work? The darkest? Does the light seem to fall in a way that exaggerates some aspect of the work? Does come from any particular location or is it diffuse and all-over?

SECTION 2: Exhibition of Work

The second page of your paper will describe your work in context of the other works in the museum. Explain how your work is displayed in the room and what the proximity brings to your work. What are the other works in the room? Are the other works from the same time period? Of the same theme? Of the same medium? If the work is the only piece in the room, why and what does this mean? You can refer to the exhibition catalogue or wall panel texts in order to explain the intended context and educational relevance of the placement of your work. It may be helpful to do some research of your work on the Getty




Villa website and explain to me the relevance of your work. Remember to cite your sources in your paper using the MLA format.


If the paper is not written BY YOU and IN YOUR OWN WORDS it will be unacceptable and you will receive the grade “F” and will be reported to the Dean of Students. If you feel frustrated or tempted to cheat, come and speak to me.


-Avoid the verb “to show” ie The size of sculpture shows it’s power.
-Always underline or italicize the title of a work of art ie The Venus de Milo.
-Begin your paper by introducing your work artist (if known), title, and date, ie
The Getty Kouros, c. 530 BCE after the first introduction, it is no longer necessary to include the date.

Required Items Checklist (items to be included with your paper)

2-3 page paper Picture of your work Proof of Museum Visit 

Subject Art
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/07/2015 12:00 am
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