It was so close to the mountainside museum complex that it was called The Getty Fire. It was caused by a tree branch landing near power lines. Closed from October 28 to November 2, 2019, the Getty Center itself was never at risk although the fire came close to the tram up to it. This was a serious conflagration: 656 acres burned. It could have been an art world disaster if it had impacted the Getty directly. These monumental museums contain a priceless art collection and the world’s largest art library.
The Getty’s next major exhibit, Michelangelo: Mind of the Master, will run from February 15 to June 7, 2020. It is destined to be a blockbuster. This exhibit explores the full range of Michelangelo’s work with more than 20 of his drawings for the Sistene Chapel’s ceiling. They are owned by the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands oldest art museum, which has never let them travel to the United States before. The Getty organized this show with the Cleveland Museum of Art. It has now closed in Cleveland. Its stay at The Getty Center will end its visit to this country. The Teylers opened in 1784 and will be renovated while its Michelangelo’s are away.
The Getty is a marvel like its JMW Turner ship painting above called “Van Tromp, Going About to Please… Getting a Good Wetting”. It’s free but it costs $20 to park in its structure down by the entrance before taking the tram up to the complex that contains several buildings. Some walk the 3/4 mile path up to it. The buildings in the complex with gardens on the mountain contain the Getty’s collection of antiques, paintings, drawings, and sculptures. I spent a lot of time this time looking at its extensive photograph collection, but the Museum’s Acquisitions in just 2019 in the North Pavilion was the star of my day. The Getty opens at 10 am. Plan to spend an entire day here while experiencing museum burnout and tired feet if you come to see the Michelangelo show. If you decide to take a Collection Highlights or another tour that will be on the schedule you’ll be handed, be advised that they fill-up fast, and only those who have waited by the information desk in the entrance hall get on them. I recommend being there at least ½ hour before its scheduled time if you really want a tour. Ruth & I tried to get on 2 and failed both times. Sunday is a really busy day.
The acquisitions made up for it. I could not believe that this museum had acquired so much pottery, glittering objects, furniture, and art works in just one year. I asked a curator if this was truly one year’s purchases, and he assured me that it was and spoke of the Getty fortune that makes such abundance possible each calendar year. The German display cabinet below sometimes called a cabinet of curiosities is just an example. They were popular in the 17th century when scientific discoveries were common but museums were not.