Museum Home Past Exhibitions Medieval Beasts

May 1–July 29, 2007 at the Getty Center


All events are free, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations, please call (310) 440-7300 or use the "Make Reservation" buttons below.


Imagination or Reality? Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Art and Thought
In medieval manuscripts, familiar creatures like hedgehogs and weasels appear next to equally lively depictions of unicorns and dragons. Were these creatures actual inhabitants of the earth or symbols of the frightening possibilities beyond the known world? Elizabeth Morrison, associate curator, Department of Manuscripts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, explores the role of fantastic animals in the Middle Ages.

Learn more about this event.

Thursday, May 17, 7:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Beastly Metamorphoses: The Medieval Legacy in Contemporary Culture
Author and critic Marina Warner explores how monsters, hybrids, and chimaerae embody current concerns and are taking ever more inventive forms in art, film, and literature. Contemporary artists are directly engaging with the rich imaginative legacy of the Middle Ages as they explore issues such as genetic engineering, body modification, and reproduction technologies. While they often challenge negative values attached to beasts and beastliness, they also communicate fear of the growing potential of new metamorphoses.

Sunday, July 22, 4:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Gallery Course

Real and Imaginary Animals in Art: From Antiquity to Enlightenment
Join museum educators Kelly Williams and Eidelriz Senga for this three-part gallery course. The course begins with a session at the Getty Villa to examine animals as represented in ancient Greek and Roman art. For the next two sessions, visitors meet at the Getty Center to explore the symbolic meaning of medieval creatures inspired by legend and Oudry's portraits of exotic animals based on life studies. Course fee $40; $30 students. Open to 40 participants. Reservation recommended; call (310) 440-7300.

Part One
Friday, July 6, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Getty Villa, Office Building

Parts Two and Three
Fridays, July 13 and 20, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Studios and galleries

Studio Course

Collection Connection: Drawn to Animals
Explore new techniques for drawing animals and learn the basics of animal structure and anatomy with artist Peter Zokosky in this two-part course. The first session includes studio exercises and in-gallery sketching at the Getty Center. The second session meets at the Los Angeles Zoo where participants examine animal bones in the zoo classroom and practice drawing from live animals. Course fee $45. Open to 25 participants. Reservation recommended; call (310) 440-7300.

Part One
Tuesday, July 24, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Studios and galleries

Part Two
Tuesday, July 31, 1:00–4:00 p.m. L.A. Zoo

Repeats Tuesdays, August 14 and 21.

Creatures from a bestiary / Franco-Flemish

Getty Drawing Hour

Enjoy the tradition of sketching from original works of art. Instructor Mike Wiesmeier focuses on the art of drawing animals; all you need to bring are drawing pads and pencils. All experience levels welcome. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 6:00 p.m. the day of the program.

Fridays, May 4 and 18 and June 1 and 15, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum galleries

Family Cards

Beastly Riddles
Solve the riddle and find the medieval beast! These activity cards are designed for families to use while exploring the exhibition Medieval Beasts. Pick up English and Spanish cards free in the exhibition.

Family Activities

Family Festival
Medieval beasts and animals of all kinds are the inspiration for this day-long festival featuring fantastic stilted creatures, tales from Aesop's Fables, hands-on workshops, music and dance. No reservations required.

Sunday, June 3, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Courtyard

Garden Concerts for Kids
Our popular outdoor music series in the Central Garden returns for three wild weekends! Sing along with some of the best children's music artists around, including Justin Roberts, to songs about giraffes, rhinos, camels, dinosaurs, and more! No reservations required.

Saturdays and Sundays, August 11 and 12, 18 and 19 and 25 and 26, 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Central Garden


Curator's Gallery Talks
Elizabeth Morrison, associate curator, Department of Manuscripts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, leads a one-hour talk about the exhibition. No reservations required. Meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.
Wednesdays, May 16 and June 20, and Thursday, July 19, 2:30 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum galleries

GettyGuide ™ Audio Player

Hear about some of the real, symbolic, and imagined animals of the Middle Ages. Pick up an audio player in the Museum Entrance Hall or Exhibition Pavilion.