coming eventsComing Events

September 6

PBA

September 13

Heritage

September 18-19

Sotheby’s 

September 20

Swann Galleries 

September 21

Skinner 

September 25

Bonhams 

September 27

Forum 

Find More Events in the FB&C Calendar

In the News

Howard Greenberg Gallery Presents "Vivian Maier: The Color Work"

New York - The color work of street photographer Vivian Maier will be the... read more

Bonhams Introduces the Griffith J. Davis Photography and Archives

New York − On October 2, Bonhams sale of Photographs will offer over 130... read more

Modern African-American Art Shines in Oct 4 Sale at Swann

New York—African-American Fine Art sales at Swann Galleries offer the opportunity to see marketplace... read more

The First Book Published and Printed in Antarctica at Bonhams NY

New York− On September 25, Bonhams sale of Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana will... read more

The First Western Book on Cosmetics & Scents will be Sold in Paris

Published for the first time in Venice in 1555, it was a precious asset... read more

Printed Matter Presents the NY Art Book Fair Sept. 21-23

Printed Matter, Inc. presents THE NY ART BOOK FAIR, September 21-23, 2018 Preview:... read more

Rarities Reach Six Figures at Heritage Auctions' Rare Books & Maps Auction

Dallas, TX - An extremely rare first edition considered one of the most significant... read more

Winners of the 2018 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Announced

Dayton, OH - Salt Houses, Hala Alyan's debut novel about a displaced Palestinian family,... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Digest

The Getty Goes Gothic

Illuminated Bestiaries and Bibles on Exhibit By Nate PedersenNate Pedersen is a contributing writer at Fine Books & Collections.

“Adam Naming the Animals” dates to the mid-thirteenth century and is of English origin.Photos Courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 100, fol. 5v.

When asked what excites her most about Gothic illuminated manuscripts, Elizabeth Morrison, curator of manuscripts at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, laughed as she responded, “Can’t you tell that it’s everything?”

And there’s a lot to be excited about in Gothic Grandeur, the new exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the Getty, on display through May 13, 2012. Exhibition highlights include such medieval manuscript rarities as the “Northumberland Bestiary,” the “Abbey Bible,” the “Noyon Psalter,” and a German Apocalypse leaf, all of which demonstrate the heightened naturalism that characterized manuscript illumination in the High Middle Ages.

Morrison said one of the best examples in this exhibition of this new naturalism is the “Noyon Psalter,” one of the “absolute gems” of the Getty’s collection. The French psalter, from the Noyon region in the early thirteenth century, is richly decorated. “In the image [from the psalter] on display, you have seated figures who actually look like they’re sittingthey have a sense of weight and volume. The drapery flows naturally over their figures. Then there’s also a depiction of a demon whispering in a man’s ear, and a look of concern on his face. So there’s a sense of naturalism both in terms of form and in terms of psychology.”

“The Dragon Pursues the Woman Clothed in the Sun Who Receives the Wings of an Eagle” dates to around 12551260. It is a prime example of English manuscript illumination. Photos Courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig III 1, fol. 21v.
“Initial I: Saint James with Christ above” is an example of Italian illumination from 12801290, currently on exhibit at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles through May. Courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig I 11, fol. 527v.

“Scenes from the Life of Jacob,” about 1250-1260, is an example of French illumination from the Getty’s exhibit, Gothic Grandeur

. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig VIII 4, fol. 13v.

Several other manuscripts from the Getty collection will be on display, with the exhibition highlighting two recent acquisitions in particular. The first, a previously unknown leaf from an Apocalypse manuscript, offers a rare glimpse into German Gothic illumination. The second, the “Abbey Bible,” commissioned for a Dominican friary near Bologna, is in turn a superb example of the Byzantine style that played such a dominant role in Italian painting and manuscript illumination in the second half of the thirteenth century.

“The main thing that makes [the “Abbey Bible”] so extraordinary is the absolute exquisiteness of the illumination,” said Morrison. “When you see it, it’s so spectacular. The fineness of the drawing technique, the absolute way the artist conveyed a sense of volume. You can feel these people standing and sitting and moving and gesturing in a way to me that’s absolutely incredible.”

But Morrison’s favorite manuscript on display is the “Northumberland Bestiary,” an “extremely important” example of English Gothic illumination from midthirteenth century London. “The illuminations of these animals are so lively that you literally think they’re going to jump off the pages. It’s a manuscript that has a sense of lightness and liveliness to it that’s really unlike anything else in our collection,” she said.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Getty will also be publishing a facsimile of the “Dyson Perrin Apocalypse,” now called the “Getty Apocalypse,” with commentary by noted illumination scholar Nigel Morgan. The “Getty Apocalypse” is a unique example of a complete Apocalypse manuscript, offering a vivid insight into the fears of medieval England.

Nate Pedersen is a contributing writer at Fine Books & Collections. His website is natepedersen.com.
comments powered by Disqus