Xipe Totec: Apollo, lord of flayed ones, god of sickness, Florentine Codex.

We have a family friend in L.A. who tutored the Getty children. The walls in her apartment are covered floor to ceiling with copies of the greatest paintings of the world. The paintings on the walls in the Getty home were the originals of the copies on hers.  I think art is about ideas and expression but having the real thing at your fingertips would be amazing.

J. Paul Getty built the museum in Malibu to house his antiquities collection (but died before the Villa was completed). I can remember visiting the Villa in the 1970s with my class, most happy to be promised a beach picnic following the museum tour. But something about the symmetry and physical beauty of the statues and architecture still calms me and thrills me at the same time.

Currently at the Villa there is an exhibit of Aztec art. My take-away from the exhibit is the idea that the European explorers who first saw the Aztec works of art processed them through the lens of a distinctly European perspective. The Aztecs were the Romans of the New World. ‘The Florentine Codex,’ is a book that illustrates the chief Aztec deities, many of whom are identified with ancient Roman gods. Wasn’t the comparison just ancient stereotyping? Yep. But it is a starting point for me to start to understand the Aztecs. And instead of a beach picnic following our tour this time around, we went to Duke’s on PCH for beer and fish tacos.

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