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Malibu Pacific Palisades Getty Villa Events California

17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California, one mile north of Sunset Boulevard



On view from August 7-October 27, 2008, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa: Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit - The Society of Dilettanti takes delight in sex and the finer things in life.


A group of young British gentlemen formed a dining club In 1734.  This London Society of Dilettanti (from the Italian dilettare, to take delight) transformed classical antiquity from a private pleasure to a public benefit by sponsoring archaeological expeditions, forming collections, and publishing books. Drawn primarily from the collections of the Getty Research Institute and the Society of Dilettanti in London, Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti,  tells their story through oil portraits, sculptures, drawings, caricatures, artifacts, and rare books. Most of the objects are on display for the first time in the United States, and many have never been seen before by the public.

priapusRes est severa voluptas or Pleasure Is a Serious Business, is a statue of Priapus, the god of male sexual potency.  Cursed by the goddess Hera with  an enormous phallus and unattractive features, his protruding genitals were believed to ward off evil spirits. As the god of fertility and protector of gardens, Priapus is often shown carrying a basket of fruit.

The rituals of the Dilettanti intertwined sex and religion. Members of the Dilettanti collected erotic curiosities and displayed statues, dirty gods, and coins, one critic wrote.  Excavations at Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae uncovered sexually explicit objects in the collections, and offering a glimpse into the fascination that has survived millennia.

This statuette depicts Priapus, the god of male sexual potency.


Gravestone of a Man with his Wife and Children, dated to about 125 B.C., is one of the marble items on display in this rare exhibit that includes marble, bronze, gold jewelry and oils on canvas, to name some of the exhibit list items. If you've visited The Getty Villa, you know the displays will be tasteful and worth your time. If it's your first visit, then be prepared to discover why Getty is worth visiting time and again.



While much of The Getty Villa is explained through signage, audio tours tapes, pamphlets and books, nothing quite beats the live person who can share insider information and tried and true tours that have been tested on previous audiences. That's one event at The Getty Villa you may want to take in.


When? Collection Highlights Tour happen on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) at 11 a.m. A one-hour tour provides an overview of major works from the Museum's collection. Offered in English and Spanish, space is limited. Sign up at the Tour Meeting Place outside the Museum Entrance 15 minutes before the tour.

You can't beat the value of a world class museum estate tour that's free. The parking at The Getty Villa in Malibu's neighboring Pacific Palisades charges a fee (under $10, subject to change), but you can also get there on a public bus that drops you off. Now how can you add value to your visit? Take one of the free tours or events in while you're on the grounds.