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Mesopotamia at the Getty Villa

Statue of Prince Gudea with a Vase of Flowing Water Neo-Sumerian period, about 2120 B.C. Dolerite Object: H: 62 × W: 25.6 × D: 20 cm (24 7/16 × 10 1/16 × 7 7/8 in.) Musée du Louvre, Département des Antiquités orientales Image © Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Raphaël Chipault / Art Resource, NY VEX.2020.1.138

Opening on March 18, the Getty Villa in Los Angeles will be hosting an exhibit on Mespotamian art and artifacts. The exhibit will be organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and Musée du Louvre, who showed a similar Mesopotamian exhibit in 2016-2017. 

Mesopotamia, located between two rivers in modern-day Iraq, was once home to the ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. The exhibition covers three millennia from when the first cities sprung here in 3200 BC until 331 BC when Alexander the Great conquered Babylon. Mesopotamians created the earliest known written language (cuneiform) and the first cities, developed advanced astronomy and math studies, and produced impressive artistic and literary works. Much of their art, particularly the pottery that will be shown in this exhibit, depict geometric designs reminiscient of woven fabrics. Mesopotamian art also often features hominoid figurines made of stone or clay which are associated with a diverse array of religious cults.

A free talk by Ariane Thomas, the curator of Mesopotamian collections in the department of Ancient Near Eastern Antiquities at the Louvre Museum, will take place on March 18 at 7:30pm. Thomas is also a professor at the École du Louvre and is a member of the scientific research lab UMR 7192 at the Collège de France. Reserve your tickets today!