Manuscripts and Books

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

Also posted in Art, Publications

Illuminating the End of Time

Page from Illuminating the End of Time from Getty Publications

2012 was the year proclaimed as the end of time by Mayan hieroglyphs, extra-terrestrial communicators, and bad disaster movies. The Getty Apocalypse, a medieval manuscript of the biblical Book of Revelation recently published as a facsimile by Getty Publications, suggests… More»

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

Just Desserts – Gourmet Gothic Sweets

Dessert is served! Participants get ready to savor their Gothic treats

When you hear the word “Gothic,” what comes to mind? Black-lipstick-wearing teens? Cathedrals with flying buttresses? What about lavender pudding or torta bonissima? Students at the Getty learned what tickled the Gothic sweet tooth at a culinary course that featured… More»

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

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

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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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Philanthropy

Putting the Pieces Together: A Multicultural Undergraduate Internship

Erene Morcos at the entrance to the Getty Center manuscripts exhibition Gothic Grandeur

My relationship with the Getty began when I was still an undergrad studying architecture and the history of art. As a junior I applied for the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship offered by the Getty Foundation, and was thrilled to receive an… More»

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

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

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

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

The Manuscript Files: A Medieval Marilyn?

Detail of Saint John the Evangelist Writing / German
Saint John the Evangelist Writing, German, about 1340–50. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 17 7/8 x 12 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 108, verso

The luxuriant locks sported by this medieval figure might seem to say more “Marilyn Monroe” than “Saint John.” Both he and the movie star sport hairstyles from the glamorous ‘40s—in the saint’s case, the 1340s. In the Middle Ages, it… More»

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Also posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

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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