In 1734, a group of young British gentlemen formed a dining club in London they dubbed the Society of Dilettanti (from the Italian dilettare, to take delight). This close-knit association transformed classical antiquity from a private pleasure to a public benefit by sponsoring archaeological expeditions, forming collections, and publishing influential books. Drawn primarily from the collections of the Getty Research Institute and the Society of Dilettanti in London, Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti, on view from August 7-October 27, 2008, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, tells their story through oil portraits, sculptures, drawings, caricatures, artifacts, and rare books. Most of the objects are on display for the first time in the United States, and many have never been seen before by the public.



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