bestiaries

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

A Tale of Two Beths

Christ and a Monk and Two Shepherds in a Franco-Flemish bestiary made about 1270. This page is on view in the exhibition Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands through February 6.

When you write novels for a living, as I do, you get used to making things up—places, plots, people. What you don’t expect is to hear back from one of those characters you’ve cooked up out of thin air. Imagine the… More»

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      Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Venus

      Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

      Place of residence: Mount Olympus

      Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

      Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

      Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

      Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

      Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

      Highlights reel:

      • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
      • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
      • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.

      08/03/15

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