Although 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 count among the most significant of their kind in the United States and among the greatest in the world. This is due to the outstanding quality of the copiously 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 Ludwig Collection
One hundred and forty-four painted manuscripts purchased in 1983 from the Aachen-based spouses Peter and Irene Ludwig form 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.
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, from the early Middle Ages to the 16th century.
This is also true for the book forms and book types that are all represented in the collection by outstanding exemplars; beyond their significance for the history of art in general and of the book in particular, they convey a clear image of the development of intellectual history in medieval Europe.
Leaves included in the box
- The three Marys at the tomb Sakramentary, Ms. Ludwig V 2, fol. 19v
- St. Matthew writing his gospel Evangeliary, Ms. Ludwig II 3, fol. 9v
- The creation of the world Stammheim Missale, Ms. 64, fol. 10v
- Announciation Miniature taken from a Psalter, Ms.4, singleton 1
- Initiale C: King David playing the bells Psalter, Ms. 66, fol. 105v
- Two fishers on a sea monster Bestiary, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 89v
- The call to St. Peter and St. Andrew; Initial D: St. Andrew; Initial Q: St. Peter, Missal, Ms. 34, fol. 172a
- St. Michael fighting the demons Hours of Charles the Bold, Ms. 37, fol. 15v
- The Moderate and the Immoderate Fragment of the „faits et dits mémorables des romains“, Ms. 43
- Bathseba at her bath Miniature taken from Hours of Louis XII., Ms.79