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The Aztecs invade the Getty Villa

March 20, 2010 |  7:30 am

 MonkeyA 1,200-pound stone head of an Aztec moon goddess has moved into the Getty Villa. So have life-size statues of a warrior adorned with eagle feathers, a duck-billed wind god and a demon known as the Lord of Death.

Made between 1440 and 1521 and on loan from Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Templo Mayor Museum, the massive artworks are among 64 sculptures, paintings and works on paper in “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire.” Opening Wednesday, it's the most surprising exhibition yet to appear at Southern California’s bastion of classical Greek and Roman antiquities.

The Villa has raised a few eyebrows with temporary installations of contemporary art related to its collections and exhibitions. But Aztec art? At a museum devoted to art made many centuries earlier on the opposite side of the world?

To read a full account of this unusual exhibition, click here for my Arts & Books section story.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: "Xochipilli," from 1450-1521

Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum