Schätze des J. Paul Getty Museum

A representative overview over book-painting.

Treasures from the J. Paul Getty Museum


The Ludwig Collection

One hundred and forty-four painted manuscripts purchased in 1983 from the Aachen-based spouses Peter and Irene Ludwig from the core of the Getty Museum´s magnificent library. The entrepreneur couple charged the most significant book dealer and manuscript antiquary of the 20th century, H.P. Kraus, to build up this collection in Germany. H.P. Kraus then moved to New York in 1939 where he also helped the Pierpont Morgan Library purchase many of its greatest treasures, such as the Hours of Catherine of Cleves.

European history of art and culture

The manuscript collection of the Getty Museum is distinguished by the fact that it provides us with a truly representative overview of the history of European book illumination and thus of medieval art as a whole, is also true for the book forms and book types that are all represented in the collection by outstanding exemplars.

Treasures from the J. Paul Getty Museum

A representative overview of book-painting.

Old images from the New World

Even though J. Paul Getty (1892 – 1976) originally collected only antique art and paintings of European Old Masters, the holdings of illuminated and richly illustrated manuscripts in the Getty Museum of Los Angeles pertain to the most important ones of their kind in the US and to the greatest in the world. This is due to the outstanding quality of the diligently illustrated codices of Western provenance rather than to the number of medieval manuscripts the library contains. These illuminated manuscripts distinctly represent the art of the Middle Ages in a relatively young institution, which nonetheless is one of the most important museums worldwide.

The motifs

The three Marys at the tomb: Sakramentary, Ms. Ludwig V 2, fol. 19v/ Mainz or Fulda  1025-1050

St. Matthew writing his gospel: Evangeliary, Ms. Ludwig II 3, fol. 9v/ 1120-1140

The creation of the world: Stammheim Missale, Ms. 64, fol. 10v/ 1170-1180

Announciation: Miniature from a Psalter, Ms. 4, Einzelblatt 1/ Deutsch, Würzburg, ca. 1240

Initiale C: Kind David Playing the bells: Psalter, Ms. 66, fol. 105v/ French, probably Noyon, after 1205

Two fishers on a sea monster: Bestiarium, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 89v/ 1270

The call to St. Peter and St. Andrew; Initiale D: Hl. Andreas; Initiale Q: St. Peter: Missale, Ms. 34, fol. 172a/ Italy, Bologna, 1389-1404

St. Michal fighting the demons: Book of Hours of Charles the Bold , Ms. 37, fol. 15v

The Moderate and the Immoderate: Fragment der »Faits et dits mémorables des romains«, Ms. 43/ Flemish, Brügge, ca. 1475-1480

Bathsheba at her Bath: Jean Bourdichon/ Miniature taken from Hours of Louis XII., Ms.79/ Französisch, Tours, 1498-1499

A one time limited facsimile box

Limited to 1995 copies, the facsimile box “Treasures of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles” fully meets the high standards of this collection, not only presenting the illuminated manuscripts of the Getty Museum in true-to-the-original facsimile plates as part of the series “Great Libraries of the World”, but also offering an impressive overview of the development of book art in the Middle Ages. The finest leaves taken from German, French, Italian, and Flemish volumes make this achievement possible.