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February 06, 2012

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Roman Poems of Love and Hate at the Getty Villa

Impulse and Insult: Roman Poems of Love and Hate

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
Sunday, February 12, 2012


MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

My woman says there is no one whom she'd rather marry than me, 
not even Jupiter, if he came courting. That's what she says—
but what a woman says to a passionate lover ought to be scribbled on wind, 
on running water.

(Catullus 70, translated by Charles Martin)

LOS ANGELES—Whether you appreciate or resent Valentine’s Day, there will be something for you in Impulse and Insult: Roman Poems of Love and Hate, a gallery course at the Getty Villa on Roman poems of love, longing, despair, and condemnation.

On Sunday, February 12, participants will indulge in Roman love poetry that veers from lyrical and loving to wildly insulting, even vicious, highlighting the timelessness of love and jealousy.  Afterwards, participants can explore the galleries at the Villa to see how love is immortalized in Greek and Roman Art.

The course takes place at the Getty Villa in the meeting rooms and museum galleries from 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. The course fee is $35, $28 for students and seniors. Seats are limited; to make a reservation, please call (310) 440-7300 or click here.
As sweet is joined with spicy, or as wine
is soothed with honey, or as curling vine
does climb and hang as close as close can be
around the trunk of its protective tree,
as waterlily floats in liquid rest,
or rooted myrtle shines onshore its best—
so be they harmonized in wedded life.

(Martial, Epigrams 4.13.3-9, translated by Gary Wills)

Next month, love continues to be in the air at the Getty Villa when Aphrodite and the Gods of Love opens on March 28. From her genesis among earlier deities in the ancient Near East to her adoption in Roman culture as Venus, this exhibition explores the realms of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love. It moves beyond the familiar aspects of desire, seduction, feminine beauty, and sexuality to demonstrate the various facets of this complex divinity: civic protectress, helper to sailors, and manipulator of mortals. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the exhibition includes objects ranging from large-scale sculpture to delicate jewelry drawn from both museums' collections as well as major loans from Italian institutions.
For far too long, I have put up with far too much from her:
her repeated wrongs have exhausted my generous patience.
All I can hope for now is that love may at last withdraw
from within my breast. I want my freedom back.
I wish to be rid of these fetters and I am ashamed to have borne
what I felt no shame in bearing—but that was madness.
Now I am sane and proclaim victory, freedom, and peace!
My disgraceful love I stamp on like a bug.

(Ovid, Amores 3.2 (A1-10), translated by David Slavitt)

IMAGES AT TOP (Left to Right): Poet as Orpheus with Two Sirens, 350–300 B.C. Unknown artist. Tarentum (Taras), South Italy. Terracotta with Polychromy. The J. Paul Getty Museum. / Statuette of Aphrodite and Eros on a Base, 2nd–1st century B.C. Unknown artist. Probably Egypt. Bronze.The J. Paul Getty Museum.
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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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