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The Goddess of Love Is Here - at the Getty Villa

With stunning ancient artwork, Aphrodite and the Gods of Love explores the goddess' role as the protectress and her origins and relationships with men and gods, exposing a more manipulative and destructive side.

Modeled after a first-century Roman country house - the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum - The J. Paul Getty Villa is Los Angeles's pathway to ancient Greece and Rome. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the museum houses an extraordinary collection of antiquities dating from 6,500 BC - 400 AD and is surrounded by lush gardens filled with herbs and flowers used by the Romans.

The Getty Villa galleries are each designed by theme, and feature approximately 1,200 works of art including statues, luxury vessels and jewelry. Most striking are the monumental statues of gods and goddesses exquisitely placed throughout the entire museum, including our most beloved Aphrodite in an exhibition extending beyond her beauty and seductive nature.

Aphrodite and the Gods of Love is on view March 28-July 9, 2012 and presents the more complex aspects of the goddess. The exhibit explores her role as the protectress, her origins and relationships with men and gods, exposing a more manipulative and destructive side.

The exhibition begins with Aphrodite as we expect her - nude, beautiful and seductive. The romantically lit dark crimson galleries create an intimate atmosphere allowing the viewer to focus on the intricacy of each work of art. I found her relationship with Eros quite intriguing and, as a person who is not completely versed in Greek and Roman mythology, I am left wanting to learn more. From delicate storage jars to sculptures, the exhibition ends with a breathtaking, larger than life marble statue of Venus - Aphrodite's Roman counterpart.

Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in association with the Getty Villa, this is the first US exhibition devoted to the Goddess and includes a number of loans from Italy.

March 28-July 9, 2012

Rachel Matos is a museum professional and founder of the lifestyle blog The Art Muse. For more information you can visit her site or follow her on Twitter.

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