Antiquities

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

J. Paul Getty started acquiring antiquities in Rome in 1939 and subsequently built an important collection concentrating on Greek and Roman marble statues and reliefs, bronze statuettes, and mosaics. These works were kept in his Malibu ranch house and made available for public viewing beginning in 1954, but the growth of the collection called for a larger space, leading him to design and construct a full-scale replica of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum. The new museum opened in 1974, and Getty felt the need to expand the scope of its displays, adding ancient Roman frescoes, Greek painted pottery, and other objects. After his death in 1976, museum curators added significantly to the collection, which now includes important Greek vases, engraved gems, Romano-Egyptian mummy portraits, ancient glass, carved ambers, silver vessels, and gold jewelry.

The earliest objects are Neolithic clay figurines, dating back to the sixth millennium BC, and marble vessels and figurines from the Cycladic islands and Cyprus, dating from the Bronze Age. There are also significant holdings of Greek bronzework, sculpture from southern Italy, and an original Greek bronze statue of the Hellenistic period known as The Victorious Youth.

The Antiquities collection is on view year-round at the Getty Villa.

Search the Antiquities Collection

CONTACT INFO

antiquities@getty.edu

RECENT ACQUISITIONS

PERSEPOLIS REIMAGINED

Screenshot of a doorway of persepolis with two giant bulls and text that reads Gate of All Nations

Persepolis Reimagined is an interactive website that leads you through a recreation of the ancient city. It is the result of a collaboration between historians, creatives, and technologists, in the context of the Getty Villa Museum exhibition, Persia: Ancient Iran and the Classical World.

CURRENTFUTURE EXHIBITIONS

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PUBLICATION

Persia: Ancient Iran and the Classical World

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NEWS & STORIES

Stories about how people lived thousands of years ago, and the art they made.

See all Ancient Life stories

DIGITAL RESOURCES

Egypt and the Classical World: Cross-Cultural Encounters in Antiquity
From Mycenaean weaponry found among the cargo of a Bronze Age shipwreck off the Turkish coast to the Egyptian-inspired domestic interiors of a luxury villa built in Greece during the Roman Empire, Egypt and the Classical World documents two millennia of cultural and artistic interconnectedness in the ancient Mediterranean.

Mummy Portraits of Roman Egypt: Emerging Research from the APPEAR Project
Once interred with mummified remains, nearly a thousand funerary portraits from Roman Egypt survive today in museums and galleries around the world, bringing viewers face-to-face with people who lived two thousand years ago.

Athenian Red-Figure Column and Volute Kraters: Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum 10
The newest volume in the Getty’s CVA series presents a selection of columns and volute kraters ranging from 520 to 510 BC through the early fourth century BC.

All Digital Resources (PDF, 200 KB)

FEATURED VIDEO

The ancient Egyptians developed a sophisticated method to preserve a dead body for the afterlife: mummification. Follow the steps of the mummification process in this short animation about the Getty Museum's Romano-Egyptian mummy Herakleides.

Watch more videos about the Collection

GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE

Ancient Roman relief sculpture of four muses
Fragments of a Sarcophagus with Muses, mid-3rd century AD, Roman. Marble. Getty Museum, 72.AA.90.1

Muses in the Lab: Conserving a Roman Sarcophagus
Follow our conservation team into the lab as they prepare a fragmentary Roman sarcophagus featuring three Muses and the deceased for the Getty Villa Museum’s galleries.

Luxury Silver of Ancient Persia
Ritual banquets - at which wine flowed freely from ornate gold and silver vessels - were a central practice among ancient Persian kings and aristocrats.

Investigating Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt
This mummy of a young man reflects the diverse cultural influences and extensive international trade connections in Egypt under the Roman Empire through its iconography, materials, and burial techniques.

The Getty Book of the Dead
The Getty’s Egyptian Book of the Dead manuscripts form one of the largest such collections in North America. These manuscripts shed light on the evolution of Egyptian funerary practices over a period of nearly 1,500 years. Due to their fragility, the papyri and mummy wrappings shared in this exhibit have never been on display. Explore these ancient Egyptian funerary texts in this Google Arts & Culture exhibit.

Projects & Initiatives

Mummy portrait painting of a young woman

The APPEAR Project
A collaborative exploration of ancient panel-painting production that facilitates international scholarly exchange

A bronze statue of a reclining satyr in a large conservation studio

Drunken Satyr Conservation
The study, analysis, and treatment of a rare first-century Roman bronze buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, recovered after millennia of burial and restored in the 18th century

Hands holding up a digital scanner to a small bronze statue of a man

Conservation and Mountmaking: 3-D Scanning
Conservation departments at the Getty Museum use 3-D technologies to aid in mountmaking, research, and restoration

CURATORIAL STAFF

Jeffrey Spier

Senior Curator / Department Head

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Judith Barr

Curatorial Assistant

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Nicole Budrovich

Curatorial Assistant

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Sara E. Cole

Assistant Curator

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Jens Daehner

Associate Curator

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Kenneth Lapatin

Curator

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Claire Lyons

Curator

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David Saunders

Associate Curator

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Jeffrey Spier

Senior Curator / Department Head

Bio +
Judith Barr

Curatorial Assistant

Bio +
Nicole Budrovich

Curatorial Assistant

Bio +
Sara E. Cole

Assistant Curator

Bio +
Jens Daehner

Associate Curator

Bio +
Mary Louise Hart

Associate Curator

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Kenneth Lapatin

Curator

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Claire Lyons

Curator

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David Saunders

Associate Curator

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ABOUT THE GETTY VILLA

The Antiquities collection is displayed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. Opened in 1974, the building is a recreation of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, a Roman country house that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD Remodeled in 2006, the surrounding gardens are planted with species known from the ancient Mediterranean.

The Outdoor Classical Theater hosts a production each fall, while innovative reinterpretations of ancient plays occur throughout the year as part of the Villa Theater Lab program. In addition to regular public lectures by eminent archaeologists and art historians, the Villa also welcomes visiting scholars as part of the Getty Research Institute’s Classical World in Context project.