The Getty Villa
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

 
Archaeologist Guy Métraux and classicist
Jeffrey Fish examine the economic and cultural underpinnings of ancient Roman villas, exploring residences of the rich and
the not–so–rich, as well as the biography of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesonius, presumed owner of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, the model for the Getty Villa. Kenneth Lapatin, associate curator of antiquities, introduces the program with a brief history of the Getty Museum and J. Paul Getty’s decision, over forty years ago, to reconstruct the ancient villa to house his growing art collection.

This program is presented in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Getty Villa.

Low Profit, High Value: Why Own a Villa?
Guy Métraux explains how in Roman society of the late Republic/early Empire, villas were potent devices of self-expression at the highest social levels. Yet they were also self-expressive at the middling and lower levels; great patricians, mere knights, local grandees, and newly-rich former slaves competed among themselves through display in their villas. Was it worth it? Income from agricultural estates was fairly low and explains neither their prestige nor their tremendous expansion throughout Italy. Métraux examines the motivation for villa-ownership and the added value villas bestowed on their residents.

L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus: A Philosophical Statesman of the Late Roman Republic
Jeffrey Fish illuminates the life (and something of the times) of L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, likely the original owner of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. Touching on what is known of Piso's political and military career, Fish discusses Piso's professed commitment to the Epicurean philosophy, including his friendship and patronage of the philosopher Philodemus, and the ways this Epicurean commitment had a bearing on Piso's statesmanship and self-presentation.

About Guy Métraux:
Guy Métraux is professor emeritus of art history at York University in Toronto, Canada. His research interests include Greek and Roman art, architecture, and urban planning; relationships between the visual arts and literary and social developments in antiquity; and the intersection of art and science. His publications include writings on Greek city-planning and political space, and the archaeological excavations in which he participated in Turkey, Italy, and Tunisia. Currently he is co-editing a volume on Roman villas around the Mediterranean and, for Getty Publications, preparing a sourcebook on Roman villas.

About Jeffrey Fish:
Jeffrey Fish is associate professor of classics at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is a specialist in papyrology, Epicureanism, kingship theory, and ancient criticism. He is co-editor of Epicurus and the Epicurean Tradition (2010) and Vergil, Philodemus, and the Augustans (2004). He is currently editing Philodemus' On the Good King According to Homer, one of the scrolls recovered from the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, and the Oxford Handbook of Epicureanism.

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Planning your visit
The main gate on Pacific Coast Highway opens to ticketed guests at 6:00 p.m. The auditorium opens at 7:00 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests arriving late will be seated at the discretion of Getty staff. The galleries will be open before and after the lecture. A selection of light "grab 'n go" dinner fare as well as beer and wine are available for purchase at the Café until 7:30 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be served following the lecture.


How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.