The J. Paul Getty Museum

Gospel Book

Object Details


Gospel Book






Nicaea, Turkey; Nicomedia (or), Turkey (Place Created)


early–late 13th century


Tempera colors and gold leaf

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig II 5 (83.MB.69)


Leaf: 20.6 × 14.9 cm (8 1/8 × 5 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

This Tetraevangelion, the Greek term for a Gospel book, was made in Byzantium around the time the Crusaders invaded Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1204. The manuscript is luxuriously adorned with nineteen full-page miniatures, including author portraits and narrative scenes; decorated canon tables; ornamental headpieces; and many decorated initials.

The illuminators of this manuscript probably prepared the pages for the miniatures by coating the parchment with egg white. This originally gave the page an admired slick and glossy appearance, but it also led to extensive paint flaking. The flaking was so severe that thirteen of the miniatures were replaced by new pictures in the late 1200s. These later miniatures were painted in the Palaeologan style of Byzantine illumination, noted for its intense emotionalism and drama.

late 13th century

Laurentios, Greek,

early 14th century

Manuel, Greek,

- 1829

Fifth Earl of Guilford Frederick North, British, 1766 - 1827 [sold, The Valuable and Extensive Library of the Late Earl of Guilford Evans, Pall Mall, February 28, 1829, lot 663, to Bohn.]

1829 - 1830

Henry George Bohn, British, 1796 - 1884


John Thomas Payne, English, 1801 - 1874, sold to Thomas Phillipps, 1830.

1830 - 1872

Sir Thomas Phillipps, first Bart, British, 1792 - 1872, by inheritance to his son-in-law, Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick, 1872.

1872 - 1933
1933 - 1965

Private Collection [sale, Sotheby, London, November 30, 1965, lot 8, to H.P. Kraus.]

1965 -

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


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

Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985) (fols. 129v-130)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
The Apocalypse and Other Visions in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts (April 16 to June 30, 1991) (fols. 45v - 46)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1991
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997) (fols. 124v - 125)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998) (fols. 45v - 46)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Faces of Power and Piety: Portraits in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (February 2 to April 18, 1999) (fols. 45v - 46)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 2 to April 18, 1999
Illuminating Color (May 22 to August 26, 2001) (fols. 45v-46)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 22 to August 26, 2001
The Armenian Gospels of Gladzor (September 11 to December 2, 2001) (fols. 121v - 122)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 11 to December 2, 2001
Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261 - 1557) (March 15 to July 5, 2004) (fols. 45v - 46)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), March 15 to July 5, 2004
Byzantium and the West (September 14 to December 5, 2004) (fols. 191v-192)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 14 to December 5, 2004
Shrine and Shroud: Textiles in Illuminated Manuscripts (June 28 to October 2, 2005) (fols. 187v-188)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 28 to October 2, 2005
The Gospels in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007) (fols. 121v-122)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007
Imagining Christ (May 6 to July 27, 2008) (fols. 74v-75)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 6 to July 27, 2008
Heaven and Earth: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads (March 25 to June 22, 2014) (fols. 129v - 130)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 25 to June 22, 2014
Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016) (fols. 45v - 46)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016
Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India and Europe (May 1 to August 5, 2018) (fols. 187v-188)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to August 5, 2018

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Lazarev, Viktor. Storia della pittura bizantina (Turin: G. Einaudi, 1967), pp. 333, n. 30 and 335, n. 57.

Rice, David Talbot. "The Paintings of Hagia Sophia, Trebizond." In L'Art byzantin du XIIIe siècle. Symposium de Sopocani 1965 (Belgrade: Faculté de philosophie, Département de l'histoire de l'art, 1967), p. 89.

MacLean, Richard Hamann. "Der Berliner Codex graecus quarto 66 und seine nächsten Verwandten als Beispiele des Stilwandels im frühen 13. Jahrhundert." In Studien zur Buchmalerei und Goldschmiedekunst ... (Marburg an der Lahn: Verlag des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars der Universität, 1967), p. 225.

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Aland, Kurt. "Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments: Ergänzungen zur Kurzgefassten Liste (Forsetzungsliste VII)." In Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung, vol. 3: Materialien zur neutestamentlichen Handschriftenkunde I. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1969), p. 87 (n. 679).

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Kraus, Hans P., ed. Monumenta Codicum Manu Scriptorum, exh. cat. (New York: H.P. Kraus, 1974), n. 23, p. 57 and figs. on pp. 128-29.

Kraus, Hans P. In Retrospect: A Catalogue of 100 Outstanding Manuscripts sold in the last four decades by H. P Kraus (New York: H. P. Kraus, 1978), no. 23, pp. 66-69.

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Sciacca, Christine. "Raising the Curtain on the Use of Textiles in Manuscripts." In Weaving, Veiling, and Dressing: Textiles and their Metaphors in the Late Middle Ages. Kathryn M. Rudy and Barbara Baert, eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), pp. 169-70, fig. 52 (fol. 45v).

Gordon, Dillon, ed. National Gallery Catalogues: The Italian Paintings Before 1400 (London: National Gallery Company Limited, 2011), p. 172, under NG 1330, fig. 3.

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