Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science, Science, Mathematics
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
One short pre-visit activity, a one-hour activity for your visit to the Getty Villa, and ideas for post-visit activities
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education staff

Activity Overview

Inner Peristyle, Getty Villa

Use this activity for visiting the Getty Villa's grounds and gardens, and the Arts of Greco-Roman Egypt gallery (Gallery 206). Students use Vitruvius's architectural principles to investigate details in the Getty Villa's architecture and in architecture depicted in works of art in the galleries.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• recognize ancient architectural elements and name them.
• reflect on the aesthetic and functional value of ancient architectural elements.
• explain Vitruvius's architectural concepts of beauty, functionality, and durability.


Download the documents below to use for your pre-visit activity, visit to the Villa (student worksheet), and post-visit activity. Links to images of works of art that students will see at the Villa are also provided.

Activity Steps

Follow the steps below to make the most of your Villa visit.

  1. Download the pre-visit activity, above, and use it in the classroom to help prepare your students for their Villa visit.
  2. Before coming to the Villa, download and make copies for each student of the appropriate student worksheet (see Materials section above). At the Villa, students will use these sheets to investigate the Museum collection and site. An instruction sheet is included with this to guide you and your chaperones at the Villa.
  3. Follow your visit up with the post-visit activity, which your students can complete in the classroom or as a homework assignment.

Below is a summary of the activities contained in the downloadable materials above.

Pre-Visit Activity: Introduce students to principles of ancient architecture by showing them images of architectural details that can be found at the Getty Villa, discussing Vitruvius's ancient treatise on architecture, and learning new glossary terms about architecture.

Student Worksheet: At the Villa, students use a worksheet to identify and sketch ancient Roman architectural elements. They then apply their knowledge of Vitruvius's principles of beauty, functionality, and durability to analyze the architectural elements of the Getty Villa and architectural structures depicted in a work of art in the galleries.

Post-Visit Activity: Follow up your visit to the Getty Villa with one of these three activities. Students can research an object or architectural element, design their own object based on Vitruvius's principles, or re-design their own school building using Vitruvius's principles to suggest changes.

Wall Fragment, Nile Landscape / Roman
Wall Fragment with Nile Landscape, Roman, abuot A.D. 70