National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Image: Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination from The J. Paul Getty Museum, September 25, 2005-January 02, 2006

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.

Related Resources

Exhibition Overview

Exhibition Feature
with Music

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Notable Lecture
The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art: Illuminated Choral Manuscripts of the Italian Renaissance
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Italian Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art since 1941

Press Materials

Image: 	Master of Gerona, Bolognese, active c. 1260 - 1300, Initial A: Christ in Majesty, Bologna, late 13th c., antiphonal, Leaf: 58.3 x 40.2 cm (22 15/16 x 15 13/16 in.), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig VI 6, fols. 1v-2, 83.MH.89

Painting in books was a major art form in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The artistic achievements of Italian manuscript illuminators from six regions in Italy from the 12th to the 16th centuries are explored through more than forty-five exquisite volumes, individual leaves, and miniatures from the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as a select number of related medals and panel paintings from the Gallery's own collection, a seven-minute video on the complex process of creating a manuscript, and listening stations of recorded Gregorian chants that appear in two of the choir books on display.

The exhibition focuses on six cities or geographic regions that were important for making manuscripts, each with its own artistic traditions and circumstances of production. The exhibition begins in southern Italy with a Breviary from Montecassino, the cradle of Benedictine monasticism, and then proceeds to Bologna, the site of the first medieval university, and on to Siena, Florence, and the Renaissance courts of northern Italy. It ends in Rome, the seat of papal power and home to some of the greatest High Renaissance works of art.