The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Destruction of Jerusalem

Object Details


The Destruction of Jerusalem


Boucicaut Master or workshop (French, active about 1390 - 1430)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1413–1415


Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink

Object Number:

Ms. 63 (96.MR.17), fol. 237


Leaf: 42 × 29.6 cm (16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

In the miniature depicting the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman Emperor Titus, who directed the battle, sits enthroned in a tent while his soldiers storm the city. As is typical for the art of this period, the scene is anachronistic: the figures wear armor of the 1400s, and the city of Jerusalem is a medieval walled city with battlements, wood-and-plaster houses, and even a Gothic church. To give the illusion of recessed space, the artist used an intuitive rather than a mathematical perspective, stacking the farther buildings on top of those in the front. Despite this innovative method for representing space, he also used an un-naturalistic background of checkered squares for the sky, instead of blue paint. This miniature complements the only other full-page miniature in the manuscript, "Adam and Eve," implying a parallel between The Fall and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem. Just as Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying God, medieval Christians believed that the destruction of Jerusalem resulted from the Jews' failure to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

French Manuscript Illumination in the Middle Ages (January 23 to April 15, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 23 to April 15, 2007
Medieval Beasts (May 1 to July 29, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 29, 2007