Manuscripts and Books

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

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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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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      chivalry-project:

      The Chivalry Project in Person

      Join us Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, for the first two installments of our free manuscript-making workshops with artist Becca Lofchie at the Getty Center. Create and illustrate your own rule of chivalry, be it newly invented or tried and true! Handmade rules will be featured here on The Chivalry Project tumblr.

      11am to 3:30pm both days.

      Also to see: Chivalry in the Middle Ages, which inspired the project.

      The Fourth Trumpet (detail), about 1255. (Text 2014.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig III 1, fol. 12v

      07/24/14

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