July 12, 2012

Getty Villa Offers Lecture on Drinking Rituals of Ancient Greece

Wine Tasting Will Also Be Offered in the Villa’s Inner Peristyle Garden

Drinking in the Greek Manner: A Brief History of the Symposion

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
Saturday, July 21, 2012


Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304  

symposion wine cup 

Wine Cup with Symposion Scenes (detail), about 450-440 B.C. Attributed to the Euaion Painter. Greek.
Terracotta, ancient bronze repair. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, 

LOS ANGELES—Next Saturday, July 21, the Getty Villa will offer a lecture on the symposion, a social institution in ancient Greece for men of status to meet, converse, and drink wine, by historian Oswyn Murray of Oxford University. Following the talk, visitors will be able to enjoy a tasting of wines inspired by ancient wine-making techniques in the Villa’s inner peristyle garden.

Symposion is Greek for "drinking together"—reclining on couches and enjoying the famous triad of "wine, women and song." The ancient Greeks adapted rituals of communal drinking from the Near East, but they turned them into a style of life: this was euphrosyne (bliss), the highest form of pleasure, and the focus of aristocratic Greek art and culture.

While guests at the Getty Villa’s wine tasting will remain upright, they will have the opportunity to achieve bliss with four distinctive wines selected with ancient traditions in mind. Three wines are from vintners who are fermenting grapes using terracotta vessels partially buried in the ground, similar to methods used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The fourth wine is made from grapes indigenous to the Greek Islands dating back 3,500 years.

The wine list for the tasting includes a 2001 Gravner Anfora Bianco Breg, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy, a 2009 Azienda Agricola COS Pithos, Sicily, Italy, a 2009 Del Dotto Clay Vessel Zinfandel, Napa Valley, California, and a 2010 Domaine Sigalas Asirtiko Athiri, Santorini, Greece.

The museum galleries will be open before and after the lecture where vessels used in a symposion are on view.

Drinking in the Greek Manner: A Brief History of the Symposion will take place on Saturday, July 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Villa Auditorium for the lecture and the Inner Peristyle for the wine tasting. Appetizers are included. Tickets are $60 and can be reserved by calling (310) 440-7300 or by visiting:


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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
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