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, Paintings

A Call to Arms! Heraldry in Renaissance Florence (And a Mystery You Can Help Solve)

virgin_child
The Virgin and Child Surrounded by Saints, between 1350 and 1365, Follower of Bernardo Daddi (possibly Pietro Nelli). Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 37 ½ x 26 in. (95.3 x 66 cm). Portland Art Museum, 61.51

Heraldry is a fascinating and complex system by which coats of arms are devised and decoded.  My familial arms—yes, my family has a coat of arms, and yours may have too—are composed of an intricate grouping of objects, including a… More»

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Also posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Prints and Drawings

Lessons from the Romans on Getting the New Year Off to a Good Start

Janus-head flask / Roman
Janus-head flask, 1st century A.D., eastern Mediterranean. Glass, 3 7/16 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.474

We are in the territory of Janus, the ancient Roman god who gives us the name of our first month. Janus is the master of beginnings, as well as doors and archways (minus their hinges, a subspecialty deputized to the… More»

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Also posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

On the 12 Days of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

A Partridge (detail)/from a bestiary
A Partridge (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 ½ x 5 5/8 in. (19.1 x 14.3 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 38v

Illuminated manuscripts are one of my true loves, and as a treat for the 12 days of Christmas, I’d like to share just a few of the glorious things that my true love gave to me this year. On the… More»

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Also posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

Christmas Adventures, from Silver Screen to Gilded Page

Alistair Sim as Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol
Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol. Courtesy of United Artists

I love Christmas movies, from the moment when Natalie Wood is stunned by Santa Claus speaking Dutch in Miracle on 34th Street to Rudolph setting off with Hermey the dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of my other great… More»

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Also posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

Slaving Over a Hot Medieval Stove

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

If cooking for a crowd seems like hard work today, imagine what it must have been like in the Middle Ages, before the advent of electricity, indoor plumbing, or take-out. Two illuminations from a psalter (book of Psalms) offer a… More»

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

Meet the Artist Who Helped Launch the Renaissance in Florence

The Ascension of Christ from the Laudario of Sant’Agnese / Pacino di Bonaguida

In the early 1300s, 150 years before Leonardo and Michelangelo walked its streets, Florence was a hotbed of artistic production and creativity. Three works in the Getty Museum’s collection produced in the city at this dynamic moment—all by the same… More»

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

To Hell and Back: Dante’s Inferno in Art and Film

Filipo Argenti receiving his eternal torments in the River Styx (courtesy ©2007, Dante Film, LLC)

UPDATE: The screening of the 1911 film L’Inferno, scheduled for Saturday, June 23, at 3:00 p.m., has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience. The other two films will screen as planned. The Museum’s Department of Manuscripts recently opened the… More»

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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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      Mission style or “Spanish Colonial” architecture is a California signature. San Luis Rey de Francia was founded in 1798, yet shares many of the features of Los Angeles’ Union Station. Compare with The Huntington’s capture of the station to see just how similar in line and form these buildings really are. 

      We’re teaming up The Huntington’s tumblr to bring you historic Los Angeles images on Wednesdays through August 6 as part of No Further West.

      Mission, San Luis Rey de Francia, 1880, Carleton Watkins. J. Paul Getty Museum.

      07/30/14

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