Abbey Bible

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

Time for a Manuscript Close-Up! Welcoming the Abbey Bible to the Museum

Erene Rafik Morcos documenting the Abbey Bible in the Manuscripts Study Room at the J. Paul Getty Museum

The 13th-century illuminated manuscript known as the Abbey Bible recently joined the collection of the Getty Museum—and when the special book arrived, the task of documenting it fell to me. This meant I had to spend a lot of time… More»

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

Far from Marginal: Images in the Margins of the Abbey Bible

Dominican and Franciscan Friars Singing at Lecterns, Conducted by Christ in the Abbey Bible / Italian

We use the word “marginal” to dismiss something as unimportant or trivial. But images in the margins of medieval books are so important they get their own name, marginalia, a Latin term that simply means “things in the margins.” Sometimes… More»

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      #ProvenancePeek: July 31

      Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

      This small panel by Dutch master Gerrit Dou (photographed only in black and white) is now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It was sold to American collector Robert Sterling Clark, an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, in the summer of 1922.

      How do we know this? Archival sleuthing! A peek into the handwritten stock books of M. Knoedler & Co. (book 7, page 10, row 40, to be exact) records the Dou in “July 1922” (right page, margin). Turning to the sales books, which lists dates and prices, we again find the painting under the heading “New York July 1922,” with its inventory number 14892. A tiny “31” in superscript above Clark’s name indicates the date the sale was recorded.

      M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art, selling European paintings to collectors whose collections formed the genesis of great U.S. museums. The Knoedler stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

      Girl at a Window, 1623–75, Gerrit Dou. Oil on panel, 10 9/16 x 7 ½ in. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts


      #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.

      07/31/15

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