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Three New Getty Exhibitions Highlight Italy on the Grand Tour

Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour
December 21, 2001 - March 24, 2002
At the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery

Rome on the Grand Tour
January 8 - August 11, 2002
At the J. Paul Getty Museum

Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour
February 5 - May 12, 2002
At the J. Paul Getty Museum

November 30, 2001

Los Angeles--Three new exhibitions highlighting the Getty collections and focusing on Italy on the Grand Tour--Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour, Rome on the Grand Tour, and Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour--open at the Getty Research Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum, respectively, in late 2001 and early 2002. Independently and collectively, this suite of exhibitions explores a tradition in which young, 18th-century European (mainly British) aristocrats traveled across the boundaries dividing Northern Europe to reach Italy. Here at the center of the classical past, they sought sources of the culture in which they had been educated, and manifested this quest in their travels by collecting and commissioning objects from contemporary artists.

"These exhibitions attest to the strength of the scholarship at this institution and the extraordinary breadth of the Getty's collections in all media," says Deborah Gribbon, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum and vice president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. "By bringing all of them together within a rich thematic context, we allow visitors to gain an understanding of an important European phenomenon that still has resonance today, and that in many respects formed the basis for modern travel and tourism."

"The Grand Tour was a socialized practice of travel that focused on the arts as a means of bestowing knowledge and moral virtue upon young men from the nobility and upper gentry," says Thomas Crow, director of the Getty Research Institute. "All three Getty exhibitions consider a ritual intended to shape personal, intellectual, and civic identity. The Research Institute exhibition examines one particular collector's passion and influence within this tradition."

Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour

Of the trio of exhibitions, the first to open is Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour, organized by the Getty Research Institute, and on view from December 21, 2001, through March 24, 2002 in the Research Institute Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition explores Naples as a tourist destination during the period that Sir William Hamilton served as British ambassador to Naples, 1764 to 1800.

A passionate collector of art and antiquities, Hamilton was a knowledgeable guide and genteel host to visitors on the Grand Tour. "The volcanic landscape and ancient ruins made Naples an exotic locale for travelers whose principal destination was Rome," says Marcia Reed, exhibition curator and head of collection development, Getty Research Institute.

Hamilton's writings and commissions to artists contributed to a group of innovative publications designed for travelers and collectors. The exhibition features the first color-plate books in the history of art, Hamilton's four volumes on his vase collection. Striking hand-colored engravings by Pietro Fabris depict the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius and the smoldering landscape of the Campi Phlegraei. Niccolò Carletti's large engraved map and panorama of Naples (measuring approximately 8 1/2 by 15 feet) charts the city's intense urban development in the mid-18th century. In addition, a number of related rare books, prints, art, and collectibles on Naples and Herculaneum are featured in the exhibition.

Rome on the Grand Tour

Bringing together new acquisitions from across the Getty Museum and Research Institute collections, Rome on the Grand Tour opens at the Museum on January 8 and runs through August 11, 2002. "The exhibition investigates the way in which the Grand Tour in the 18th century formed an important way for eminent, young British travelers to acquire a canon of taste and noble ideas to be used in future civic life," notes Scott Schaefer, curator of paintings, J. Paul Getty Museum. Schaefer co-curated the exhibition with Denise Allen, associate curator of paintings, and Peggy Fogelman, senior project specialist, J. Paul Getty Museum. Highlights of the exhibition include Giovanni Antonio Canaletto's painting, The Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum in the Background (about 1742-5), and Jean-Étienne Liotard's Portrait of John, Lord Mountstuart (1763).

Rome on the Grand Tour
presents the Eternal City as a preeminent destination for the British aristocrat. Gathering together paintings, pastels, drawings, sculpture, artists' sketchbooks, antiquities, books, and prints, this exhibition captures the diversity of the Grand Tour experience and portrays the preparation, engagement, and reflection intrinsic to the journey. "Although originating earlier, the Grand Tour culminated in the 18th century," comments Fogelman. "The challenging passage might take anywhere from one to eight years, and it provided a formative experience in which journey and memory were inextricably linked."

In addition to paintings, the exhibition includes printed materials that promoted and guided the journey, portraits, hand-colored prints of city views, ancient and contemporary sculpture, and souvenir gems. It also features objects reflecting the serious study of ancient art, which ultimately transcended the age of the Grand Tour and gave birth to Neoclassicism.

Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour

Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour, on view at the Museum from February 5 through May 12, 2002, examines the veduta, or expansive view, which reached its peak as a genre in Italian art during the age of the Grand Tour. "Throughout the 1700s, travelers flocked to Italy in search of inspiration, enlightenment, discovery, and adventure," says Allegra Pesenti, curator of the exhibition and assistant curator, J. Paul Getty Museum Drawing Department. "They encouraged the production of portable visual records of the country in the form of drawn or painted landscapes and cityscapes."

The market for drawings flourished during the age of the Grand Tour. Spontaneous sketches made outdoors reflected the new, boundless world of the traveling artist. Excursions into the countryside, often in the company of a patron or a sketching companion, formed the basis of much of view painting. Elaborate views on paper appealed to the Grand Tourist, not only for their transportability, but also for the infinite capacity of drawing to capture the subtle tones, textures, and illumination of nature.

Ancestors of the modern-day postcard, vedute, topographical in conception, were also vehicles for the artist's creative and illusionistic vision of nature and architecture. The exhibition encompasses a range of images by the most sought-after view painters including a portrayal of contemporary street-life and architecture in Venice by Canaletto, a theatrical performance by Francesco Guardi, and an imaginary antique port by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. The Italian states are also witnessed through the eyes of foreign artists such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Claude-Joseph Vernet. Like Grand Tourists themselves, they traversed the routes of Italy's rich and diverse lands.

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Exhibitions Highlighting the Getty Collections


All lectures, performances, and special events are free and held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations and information, please call 310-440-7300 or visit


The Grand Tour Series explores 18th-century travel and tastes as well as the works of art, antiquities, and individuals that were an integral part of the Grand Tour experience.

The "First City of the World": Rome and the Grand Tour
Edgar Peters Bowron, Audrey Jones Beck, curator of European Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Sunday, January 20, 4 p.m.

Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803): A Modern Pliny on the Bay of Naples
Ian Jenkins, assistant keeper, Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, The British Museum, London
Sunday, February 10, 4 p.m.

Sex in the (Eternal) City: The Grand Tour as Erotic Pilgrimage
Kevin Salatino, curator of prints and drawings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Sunday, March 3, 4 p.m.


Gordon Getty Concerts - This ongoing series features music complementing current Museum exhibitions.

Tafelmusik's The Grand Tour: A Musical Journey
The great Canadian 17-member Baroque orchestra comes to the Getty with an orchestral version of the Grand Tour--a whirlwind musical adventure through London, Paris, Versailles, Rome, Venice, and Berlin featuring music by Handel, Marais, Corelli, Vivaldi, Telemann, and the Bach family. The orchestral odyssey is complemented by an actor's readings of vivid contemporary anecdotes of the sights, sounds, and tastes of 18th-century Europe.
Saturday, January 26, 8 p.m.
Tickets $28; Students/Seniors $22

Tafelmusik's The Grand Tour: A Musical Journey
Special Family Concert

Tafelmusik presents an exciting musical quest through 18th-century Europe, with a program especially designed for young listeners. Jeanne Lamon, Music Director.
Sunday, January 27, 3 p.m.
Tickets $15

Living Pictures
Director Michael Hackett, in collaboration with Michael Eagan and Musica Angelica, stages a series of "living pictures" inspired by the 18th-century theatrical tradition of tableaux vivants. The series vividly depicts the vibrant artistic salons of Sir William and the two Lady Hamiltons.
Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m.
Tickets $25; Students/Seniors $20

Point-of-View Talks

Sign up at the Information Desk in the Museum Entrance Hall beginning at 4:30 p.m. Talks take place at 6 and 7:30 p.m. in the Museum galleries.

John O'Brien, artist, curator, teacher, and art critic discusses the history and modern permutations of the Grand Tour. Friday, March 15, 6 and 7:30 p.m.


Italy's 18th Century: Gender and Politics in the Age of the Grand Tour
Co-sponsored by the Getty Research Institute, the UCLA Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies, and the Clark Library, this two-day conference brings together international scholars whose research positions 18th-century Italy as a significant place from which to view cultural developments, and highlights the importance of gender in understanding Italian art, literature, music, and science.

Paper sessions take place at the Getty Center on Friday, April 19, and at the UCLA Clark Library on Saturday, April 20. Advance conference registration is required through UCLA's Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies; for information call 310-206-8552. A Getty Center parking reservation will be made for participants at the time they call UCLA to register.

Family Guide

Take your family on their own Grand Tour through the collection using a special Family Guide. Available in the Family Room in English or Spanish, the guide focuses on travel and creating and collecting art. For families with children ages 5 and up.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. 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.

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 our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. 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.

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library - housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier - is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library's special collections include rare books, artists' journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.