This is a stunning tour through eight centuries of manuscript illumination. Known for their stunning displays of artistry and technique, Italian illuminated manuscripts have long been coveted by collection around the world. The J. Paul Getty Museum holds the most recently formed institutional collection of its kind in the United States, yet it spans more than eight centuries and reflects many of the extraordinary achievements of the Italian tradition. Made up of whole manuscripts as well as leaves and cuttings, the Getty collection of Italian illumination contains nearly sixty works and includes the Montecassino Breviary, the Ferrarese Gualenghi-d'Este Hours, and the Roman gradual illuminated by Antonio da Monza for Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Other important acquisitions are one of the finest Bolognese Bibles of the thirteenth century; three leaves from the Laudario of Sant'Agnese, the most ambitious Florentine manuscript from the first half of the fourteenth century; and a missal once owned by the antipope John XXIII. This beautifully illustrated volume presents many splendid examples of Italian painting and illumination.
Some are by noted artists such as Girolamo da Cremona, Pacino de Bonaguida, and Pisanello; others are attributed to artists known only by their works, such as the Master of Gerona, who is credited with one of the finest miniatures in the collection.
Thomas Kren is associate director for collections and former senior curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author of French Illuminated Manuscripts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 2007) and Illuminated Manuscripts of Germany and Central Europe in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 2009). Kurt Barstow is former associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the author of The Gualenghi d'Este Hours: Art and Devotion in Renaissance Ferrara (Getty Publications, 2000).