“How to Explore Art While the Getty Galleries Are Closed” compiles art books, online exhibitions, podcasts, and videos from the vast collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Art History resources:
"The Getty Center, Getty Villa, and Getty Library are temporarily closed to help protect our community from the spread of coronavirus—but many of our resources are online, so there’s lots to explore on a virtual visit. We’ve rounded up art books, online exhibitions, podcasts, and videos to help you keep your artistic spirits up.
Whether you’re looking to delve into art history, read up on alchemy, or listen to modern artists discuss their craft, here’s a guide to get you started.
Many of you told us that you were planning on coming to the Getty Center or Getty Villa to see the latest exhibitions—so if the museum is your happy place, here are ways to experience three of our most popular current exhibitions, all online.
Michelangelo: Mind of the Master
Standing Man; Woman Hoeing, 1517–23, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Pen and brown ink, black chalk, over extensive preparatory work with the stylus, 8 1/4 × 9 3/16 in. Teylers Museum, Haarlem, purchased in 1790. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem
Michelangelo’s creations have become icons of world culture: the monumental marble David in Florence; the astonishing frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and the soaring dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, both in Rome.
Drawing was key to Michelangelo’s practice. The exhibition Michelangelo: Mind of the Master highlights a selection of his rare preparatory drawings, from compositional sketches to detailed figure studies.
Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq
Assyrian kings in the ninth to seventh centuries BC decorated their palaces with masterful relief sculptures filled with vivid depictions of warfare, rituals, mythology, hunting, and court life.
Learn more about these reliefs here, and explore the different ways they were created—some using techniques familiar from comic books—in a blog post by one of the exhibition curators here.
Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics
Though not a household name in the U.S., Käthe Kollwitz was one of the foremost graphic artists of the 20th century. This exhibition sheds light on her creative process and presents her searing portrayals of the hardships of war, poverty, and injustice. See highlights of the exhibition, delve into her printmaking techniques, and explore how her images were used for social campaigns.
Bauhaus: Building the New Artist
Founded 100 years ago, the German school known as the Bauhaus changed not only art and design, but also how both were taught. Explore the Bauhaus’s legacy in our online exhibition here.
Light-dark contrast study for Johannes Itten’s Preliminary Course, 1919, Friedl Dicker. Charcoal and pastel collage on black paper, 32.5 x 22.5 cm. Bauhaus Drawings and Prints by Friedl Dicker. The Getty Research Institute, 920030
The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra
Positioned at a crossroads, Palmyra in Syria was a nexus of ideas and innovations streaming from east and west that made it one of the most cosmopolitan centers in antiquity. Explore ancient Palmyra through rare 18th-century engravings and 19th-century photos of the ancient city, accompanied by essays from curators.
Temple of Bel complex, Palmyra, Syria (no. 65), Louis Vignes. Louis Vignes photographs of Palmyra & Beirut, Getty Research Institute, 2015.M.15
Art and Research Collections in a Click
Interested in old master painting? If you want to see all the Rembrandt paintings in LA museums right from your phone, there’s a website for that!
And how about browsing objects from the Getty collections with intriguing stories? Explore art at our new highlights page here and delve into our vast library collections, including thousands of digitized items, in our always-on library catalog here.
Still Life with Blue Pot, about 1900–06, Paul Cézanne. Watercolor over graphite, 18 15/16 × 24 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.GC.221. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program
Getty Publications has over 350 books that can be downloaded and read at home through its virtual library, like this one on Cezanne’s watercolors. We particularly like this book about British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, who started taking pictures when she was 48.
If you need access to books about art history and visual culture—over 165,000 of them, dating back to the Renaissance and drawn from libraries around the world—you can search digitized books online here. Many of the Getty Library’s rare books have been digitized and are accessible online; highlights included nearly 200 titles on alchemy, and dozens of examples of some of the earliest photo books ever printed.
For research, Getty also offers many free databases for art history, conservation, provenance, and more; browse our resources page to see the full list.
Getty produces two podcasts. Go deep into Titian, Manet, and more with Art & Ideas, or hear from groundbreaking women artists like Betye Saar and Yoko Ono in Recording Artists: Radical Women.
You can also find audio tours with images from past exhibitions: explore Egypt and the Classical world, the strange creatures of the medieval bestiary, or the depiction of the nude in Renaissance art.
On our YouTube channels, you can learn about art history, discover classic art-making techniques, and watch hundreds of talks, too.
Ever wondered what it’s like to restore a huge ancient sculpture? Watch the conservation process here.
We would love to hear from you. What do you want to know more about? Tell us in the comments and we’ll post more ways to stay inspired by art during these unsettling times.
To find out more about museum closures, and how Getty is responding to the Coronavirus, please see getty.edu/coronavirus. And follow us @gettymuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for highlights of Getty art and resources, and to share what you’d like to see!