The J. Paul Getty Museum

Leaf from the Morgan Picture Bible

Object Details


Leaf from the Morgan Picture Bible






Northern France, France (Place Created)


about 1250


Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig I 6 (83.MA.55)


Leaf: 32.5 × 29.1 cm (12 13/16 × 11 7/16 in.)

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Object Description

The Morgan Picture Bible stood over a foot tall and contained more than 380 scenes from the Old Testament, extending from the story of Creation to the reign of King David. Though it originally consisted exclusively of pictures with no accompanying text, three sets of captions were later added to the leaves, summarizing the contents of the images. Scribes in southern Italy added inscriptions in Latin around 1300, and inscriptions in Persian and Judeo-Persian--Persian written in the Hebrew alphabet--were added in the 1600s.

Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Bishop of Cracow, Poland, presented the Morgan Picture Bible to the Persian ruler of the early 1600s, Shah Abbas, centuries after it was made. The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York now owns the book, which is missing a number of folios including the Getty Museum's leaf. Who removed leaves from the book and for what reason? The answer may lie with the Shah. All of the missing leaves come from the part of the book that tells the story of Absalom's defiance of his father, King David. Scholars have suggested that Shah Abbas did not approve of that story and may have had the leaves cut out. Because these leaves were removed during the time of Shah Abbas, the later Judeo-Persian inscriptions are not found on them.

by 1604 - 1608

Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Polish, 1548 - 1608, presented as a gift to Shah Abbas, King of Persia, 1608.

1608 -

Shah Abbās I, Persian, 1571 - 1629
Source: Cockerell, A Book of Old Testament Illustrations, Cambridge, For the Roxburge Club, 1927, p. 58.
Note: It is believed that by Shah Abbas order three leaves were removed from the volume (leaves 43-44, now in the Bibl.Nat., and 45, the present leaf).

- 1910

Durlacher Brothers, sold to Sydney C. Cockerell, 1910.
Source: Euw, Anton von, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1979-1985), vol. 1 (1979), p. 72.

1910 - 1956

Sydney C. Cockerell, English, 1867 - 1962, sold to H.. Kraus, 1956.
Source: Munby, A.N.L. The Dispersal of the Phillipps Library: Phillipps Studies 5 (Cambridge: University Press, 1960), p. 69.

1956 -

Hans P. Kraus, Sr., American, born Austria, 1907 - 1988

- 1983

Dr. Peter Ludwig, German, 1925 - 1996 and Irene Ludwig, German, 1927 - 2010, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (July 1 to September 30, 1984) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 1 to September 30, 1984
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 20 to April 5, 1987
A Thousand Years of the Bible: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 15 to March 31, 1991) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 15 to March 31, 1991
Ludwigslust: Die Sammlung Irene und Peter Ludwig (June 19 to October 10, 1993) (recto or verso)
  • Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nuremberg), June 19 to October 10, 1993
Book Arts of Isfahan: Diversity and Identity in 17th Century Persia (October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996
Illuminating the Mind's Eye: Memory and Medieval Book Arts (July 23 to October 6, 1996) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 23 to October 6, 1996
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
Picturing the Medieval Family (May 4 to July 18, 1999) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 4 to July 18, 1999
The Art of Giving in the Middle Ages (November 21, 2000 to February 4, 2001) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 21, 2000 to February 4, 2001
The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library's Medieval Picture Bible (October 27 to December 29, 2002) (recto or verso)
  • Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), October 27 to December 29, 2002
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004) (verso)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004
Images of Violence in the Medieval World (December 21 2004 to March 13, 2005) (verso)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 21, 2004 to March 13, 2005
Medieval Beasts (May 1 to July 29, 2007) (verso)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 29, 2007
The Old Testament in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (June 1 to August 8, 2010) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 1 to August 8, 2010
Gifts of the Sultan: the Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts (June 5, 2011 to June 2, 2012) (verso)
  • Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, March 18 to June 2, 2012
Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016) (both)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016

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