Manuscripts and Books

Art in bound form, from medieval manuscripts adorned with jewel colors and gold to contemporary artist’s books

Also posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Talking the Global Middle Ages with Curator Bryan Keene

Bryan Keene

Curator Bryan Keene takes questions from inquiring Instagrammers More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum

Who’s More Gluttonous, the Rich or the Poor?

The Temperate and the Intemperate in The Memorable Deeds and Sayings of the Romans, about 1475–80, Master of the Dresden Prayer Book, artist, Valerius Maximus, author. Tempera colors and ink on parchment, 6 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 43, recto
The Temperate and the Intemperate in The Memorable Deeds and Sayings of the Romans, about 1475–80, Master of the Dresden Prayer Book, artist, Valerius Maximus, author. Tempera colors and ink on parchment, 6 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 43, recto

The worst sin? Illuminated manuscripts present two different perceptions of gluttony. More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Scholarship

Heraldry Illuminated: Deciphering Coats of Arms and other Manuscript Mysteries

A Young Knight in Armor Kneeling in Prayer before Saint Anthony, Dreux Jean, from The Invention and Translation of the Body of Saint Anthony, about 1465-70. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XI 8, fol. 50
A Young Knight in Armor Kneeling in Prayer before Saint Anthony, Dreux Jean, from The Invention and Translation of the Body of Saint Anthony, about 1465-70. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XI 8, fol. 50

Help us solve a heraldry mystery. More»

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Also posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

7 Things to Look for in Paintings of the Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1525–30, Simon Bening. Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment; 6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 83v
The Last Supper, about 1525–30, Simon Bening. Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment; 6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 83v

Things to know to decipher the images in one of the most depicted subjects in the history of art More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum

Star Wars and Medieval Manuscripts

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

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, 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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Also posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations

Why Aren’t People Eating in Medieval Depictions of Feasts?

Temperate and the Intemperate, Master of the Dresden Prayer Book, miniature from Valerius Maximus, The Memorable Deeds and Sayings of the Romans, Bruges, about 1470-80, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 43, recto
Temperate and the Intemperate, Master of the Dresden Prayer Book, miniature from Valerius Maximus, The Memorable Deeds and Sayings of the Romans, Bruges, about 1470-80, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 43, recto

The medieval struggle to resist sin. More»

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Also posted in Getty Research Institute

The Origins of Flavored Waters

Recipes for distilling peach, bitter orange, citron, and lemon flower waters / Walther Hermann Ryff
Recipes for distilling peach, bitter orange, citron, and lemon flower waters. Hand-colored woodcuts from Walther Hermann Ryff’s Das new groß Distiller Buch (Frankfurt: Heirs of Christian Egenolff, 1556). The Getty Research Institute

Expensive flavored waters predate Whole Foods by centuries. More»

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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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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum

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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      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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