Middle Ages

Posted in Art, Scholarship

Global Pathways through Medieval Manuscripts and the Modern Museum

Global inspiration from the Getty permanent collection.
Global inspiration from the Getty permanent collection.

Contextualizing early book arts in world history. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Star Wars and Medieval Manuscripts

A Star Wars-inspired tour of celestial images in our manuscripts collection. More»

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

Noodles Fit for the Mother of God

Detail of Joseph cooking in a Renaissance manuscript

A food historian recreates a dish that Mother Mary may have been served. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Medieval Mysteries: Considering a Recent Acquisition

The Rejection of Joachim and Anna’s Offering, leaf from a book of hours, about 1410–30, attributed to the Rohan Master or immediate circle. Tempera colors and gold on parchment, 10 ¼ x 7 5/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 112, recto
The Rejection of Joachim and Anna’s Offering, leaf from a book of hours, about 1410–30, attributed to the Rohan Master or immediate circle. Tempera colors and gold on parchment, 10 ¼ x 7 5/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 112, recto

A manuscript page bursting with art historical mysteries. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Medieval Manuscripts and Digital Curation

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry virtual exhibition

From tasty to terrifying, three virtual exhibits explore the wealth of illuminated manuscripts. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Reconstructing Medieval Bread

Baking Bread / Unknown illuminator, Belgium
Baking Bread (detail) in a psalter by an unknown illuminator, Belgium, mid-1200s. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, each leaf 9 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 14, fol. 8v

A food historian sleuths the reality of medieval bread-baking. More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Dogs at the Medieval Banquet

A Hunter and Dogs Pursuing a Hare, about 1430–1440, Unknown. Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment, 10 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 27, fol. 85
A Hunter and Dogs Pursuing a Hare, about 1430–1440, Unknown. Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment, 10 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 27, fol. 85

Who let the dogs in? More»

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Posted in Manuscripts and Books

The Allure of Gems and Jewelry, from Medieval to Modern

Don’t miss the bear cubs, representing the Orsini (Italian for “Little Bears”) family, patiently holding up a gold cross. Initial A: King David, Matteo da Milano, about 1520. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 87, fol. 52v
Don’t miss the bear cubs, representing the Orsini (Italian for “Little Bears”) family, patiently holding up a gold cross. Initial A: King David, Matteo da Milano, about 1520. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 87, fol. 52v

The allure of gems, from medieval manuscripts to 21st-century style pages. More»

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

A Hero’s Journey and the Dance of Dragons

Alexander the Great Under Water
Alexander the Great Under Water (detail), about 1400–10, unknown artist, in the World Chronicle. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 33, fol. 220v

Over-the-top tales of Alexander the Great from the pages of medieval manuscripts. More»

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Deathly Meditations in Medieval Manuscripts

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Master of Sir John Fastolf, about 1430-40. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 5, fol. 36v
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Master of Sir John Fastolf, about 1430-40. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 5, fol. 36v

Death is coming. Prepare with these images from illuminated manuscripts. More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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