About: Elizabeth Morrison

I'm curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum and a specialist in secular manuscript illumination. I've curated a variety of manuscripts exhibitions at the Getty Center, including Imagining the Past in France, 1250–1500, Medieval Beasts, The Medieval Bookshelf: From Romance to Astronomy, and Images of Violence in the Medieval World. I'm co-editor of the book Imagining the Past in France: History in Manuscript Painting, 1250–1500 and author of Beasts: Factual and Fantastic in the Medieval Imagination series from Getty Publications.

Posts by Elizabeth

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations

A Curator “Visits” the Getty

A child dressed in chain mail at a Getty Center family festival
Kids aren't the only ones who know how to have fun on a Saturday at the museum. The faux-medieval chain mail helps, though.

Does a scholar of manuscripts art enjoy jousting, storytelling, and fun hats? Of course! More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Medieval Masterpieces from Greece Now on View

The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil in a liturgical scroll, Vermion, 1100s. Parchment, 26 x 10 in. Image courtesy of the National Library of Greece, Athens, cod 2759  [VEX.2014.2.73]
The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil in a liturgical scroll, made in Vermion, 1100s. Parchment, 26 x 10 in. Image courtesy of the National Library of Greece, Athens, cod 2759

The largest presentation of Byzantine art ever seen in Los Angeles begins on Greek Independence Day. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Manuscripts and Books, Voices

Getty Voices: Saints and Heroes

The Martyrdom of Saint Apollonia / Lieven van Lathem
The Martyrdom of Saint Apollonia, 1469, Lieven van Lathem. Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, silver paint, and ink on parchment, 2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 37, fol. 50v

Saints are all around us, whether we realize it or not. In the Middle Ages, it was even more so. More»

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Posted in Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books, Research

Thrust, Parry, Download!

Aiming Points on the Body / Fiore dei Liberi, Fior di Battaglia
Aiming Points on the Body (detail), from Fiore dei Liberi, Fior di Battaglia, possibly Venice or Padua, ca. 1410. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 11 x 8 1/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 32

Fight like it’s 1410 with this zesty combat manuscript, free to download via the new Open Content Program. More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Christmas Adventures, from Silver Screen to Gilded Page

Alistair Sim as Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol
Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol. Courtesy of United Artists

I love Christmas movies, from the moment when Natalie Wood is stunned by Santa Claus speaking Dutch in Miracle on 34th Street to Rudolph setting off with Hermey the dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of my other great… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: An Impish Ape in a Medieval Zoo

Adam Naming the Animals in the Northumberland Bestiary / English

One of my favorite acquisitions of the past five years in the Getty’s manuscript collection is the Northumberland Bestiary (Ms. 100), featured currently in the Gothic Grandeur exhibition. A bestiary is a kind of medieval encyclopedia of animals. In addition… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: Dancing Your Way to the End of the World

The Lamb Defeating the Ten Kings / Spanish

The current exhibition Gothic Grandeur features a number of works illustrating the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible that recounts Saint John’s vision of the end of time. This leaf comes from a manuscript of the 1200s made in… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: Medieval Children’s Games

Initial C: The Massacre of the Innocents in a breviary / French

The current exhibition Gothic Grandeur abounds with images in the margin. These charming and often humorous additions, called marginalia (Latin for “things in the margins”), were introduced to manuscript illumination during the Gothic era. In the lower border of this… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: A Demon Whispering Sweet Nothings

Detail of Initial D: The Fool with Two Demons / Master of the Ingeborg Psalter

One of my favorite details from the current exhibition Gothic Grandeur comes from a French psalter of the early 1200s. A hallmark of Gothic art was an increasing sensitivity to the natural world, which led not only to a new… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: A Medieval Holiday Message

A nativity scene in the Abbey Bible / Italian

On the opening page of the Abbey Bible, the first image we encounter is this roundel containing a scene of the Nativity of Christ. According to Christian tradition, late in her pregnancy Mary traveled with Joseph to Bethlehem for a… More»

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