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Founded in a London dining club in 1734, the Society of Dilettanti consisted of British noblemen and gentlemen who had traveled in Italy and Greece seeking cultural enrichment and who appreciated and collected ancient Greek and Roman art. This exhibition at the Getty Villa features paintings, sculptures, drawings, and rare books related to these bon vivants. One of the group's frequent toasts, "Seria ludo (Serious Matters in a Playful Vein)" expresses the spirit of the Dilettanti. This spirit is also evident in the online slideshow, which includes humorous portraits of the Society's members. Portraits include founding Dilettanti Sir Francis Dashwood, depicted by first official painter George Knapton, as Saint Francis of West Wycombe Park (the name of Dashwood's country house, near the village of West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire), wearing a Franciscan monk's robes and haircut, holding a goblet, and bowing to a statue of Venus.
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Date of Scout Publication 2008-08-22
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