National Gallery of Art, Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumincations from the J. Paul Getty Museum
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The Exhibition (2 of 2)

Image: Franco dei Russi, Initial E: The Adoration of the Magi, probably Ferrara or Mantua, 1470s, cutting from a choir book, Cutting: 15 x 15.7 cm (5 7/8 x 6 3/16), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 83, recto, 2003.114
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Starting with a rural monastic book illuminated largely with abstract imagery and concluding with an urban monastic book in which the artist melded pagan classical and devout Christian imagery, the history of Italian manuscript illumination from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, as represented by the Getty's collection, forms a crucial component of a larger cultural history of aesthetic, spiritual, and intellectual developments in Italy. After the Renaissance, manuscript illumination ceased to be a significant art form throughout Europe. About the same time, the first European art historians took up their pens and focused on the triumph of painting. Fueled in part by the influential writings of Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) and others, the study of painting has far exceeded that of manuscript illumination. The selection of miniatures included in this exhibition, however, demonstrates that manuscript illuminations are not only works of great beauty in their own right but, because of the variety of contexts in which they appear, they also contribute to a more complete understanding of the potent visual culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The Getty Collection (1 of 2)image: forward arrow image: back arrowThe Exhibition (1 of 2)

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