National Gallery of Art, Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumincations from the J. Paul Getty Museum
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Image: Attributed to Frate Nebridio, Initial A: Saints Maurice and Theofredus, Cremona, c. 1460–1480, cutting from an antiphonal, Cutting: 11.5 x 11.5 cm (4 1/2 x 4 1/2), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 91, recto, 2005.21
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In 1983 the J. Paul Getty Museum took advantage of a rare opportunity to establish a major collection of European manuscript illumination. Such a collection formed a natural complement to the museum's European paintings, a holding begun by Mr. Getty himself. Assembled by Peter and Irene Ludwig in Aachen, Germany, the celebrated collection purchased by the Getty gave the museum a strong foundation, with more than one hundred manuscripts. These books represent the period from the ninth to the sixteenth century and include masterpieces from nearly every region of Europe, for example England, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, and Italy. In the area of Italian illumination, the Ludwig collection contained a small core of notable masterworks, but the achievement of Italian illuminators is so vast, reflecting many great schools and artists over more than six hundred years, that the Getty has consistently endeavored to enrich this group. Proceeding slowly at first, the Getty's pace of acquisition quickened in 2003 when a number of exceptional colletions—each strong in Italian manuscript leaves and miniatures—reached the market in quick succession. These are the collections of Robert Lehman of New York, created in the first half of the century; the Bernard Breslauer collection of London and New York, formed largely in the last quarter of the century; and that of Nella Longari of Milan, also developed in recent decades. By acquiring highlights from each, the Getty was able to expand its collection of Italian illumination into a more fully representative holding. The selection of forty-five manuscripts, leaves, and cuttings on view in this exhibition includes twenty-one works acquired in the past few years.

Regions: Southern Italy (1 of 2)image: forward arrow image: back arrowThe Getty Collection (1 of 2)

image: National Gallery of Art image: Manuscripts in Miniature: Italian Manuscripts Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum