May 07, 2012

Getty Villa Presents Roman Poems on the Horrors of City Life and the Virtues of the Country

And So Much Traffic! Roman Poetry at the Getty Villa

Saturday, May 12, 2012
1:00–4:00 p.m.

Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304 

Fresco Depicting a Woman (Maenad?) Holding a Dish; 

Peacock and Fruit Below (detail), 1st century.
Unknown artist. Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum,
Villa Collection, Malibu, California.

"…the misty smell of apples bitten,
or senses with new spices smitten,
the wafture from a ripening vine,
cropped grasses like a subtle wine.
the odor of the richest myrrh,
brought by Arabian laborer,
rubbed amber, incense in the fire,
rain rippling like a melodic lyre…"

(Martial’s epigram 3.65; translated by Gary Wills)

LOS ANGELES—Two thousand years ago, Roman poets illuminated the horrors of city life in sarcastic and irreverent detail, crafting mean and funny diatribes about rudeness, pollution, and special-interest groups, while extolling the pastoral in impassioned poems about the real and imagined virtues of nature and the seaside.

See the world through their eyes on Saturday, May 12, with And So Much Traffic! Roman Poetry at the Getty Villa, a gallery course presented from 1-4 p.m. at the Villa, a re-created Roman country home surrounded by the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, the ideal place to reflect on the virtues of country life.

"…myself, I’d prefer a barren island to down-town Rome:
what squalor, what isolation would not be minor evils
compared to an endless nightmare of fires and collapsing
houses, the myriad perils encountered in this brutal
city, and poets reciting their epics all through August!”

(Juvenal’s Satire 3. 5-9; translated by Peter Green)


And So Much Traffic! Roman Poetry at the Getty Villa will take place in the Meeting Rooms at the Getty Villa on Saturday, May 12 from 1:00–4:00 p.m.  The course fee is $35; $28 students.  Parking is $15/car. 

To purchase tickets or for more information please visit:

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car. Groups of 15 or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish); (310) 440-7305 (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.

Additional information is available at
Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit for a complete calendar of public programs


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