The J. Paul Getty Museum

Gospel Book

Object Details


Gospel Book







Lake Van, Turkey (Place Created)




Black ink and watercolors on paper bound between wood boards covered with dark brown kidskin

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig II 6 (83.MB.70)


Leaf: 24 × 16.5 cm (9 7/16 × 6 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

This Gospel book was written in 1386 by Armenian monk and scribe Petros, who identifies himself in an inscription at the end of the manuscript. A portrait of Petros is also found in the book showing him seated and holding pen and ink next to his student. The manuscript was made in the Lake Van region and the illuminations, like others from that area, are characterized by ornamentally curved lines, an elastic conception of the human figure, and spiraling drapery folds. The text is written in Armenian.

In the Armenian tradition, the Gospel book is the focal point during the mass and it remains on the altar from which it is elevated at various moments during the service. This particular book begins with seven canon tables, which function as an index to the Gospels, followed by twenty-three full-page miniatures mainly dedicated to the life of Christ. Author portraits of the four Evangelists open each of the Gospels.

This manuscript was made using paper, which had largely replaced parchment in Armenia as early as the thirteenth century.


Petros, Armenian
Note: Scribe and possibly illuminator.

- 1966/1979

Hans P. Kraus, Sr., American, born Austria, 1907 - 1988, sold to Dr. & Mrs. Peter Ludwig between 1966 and 1979.

1966/1979 - 1983

Dr. Peter Ludwig, German, 1925 - 1996 and Irene Ludwig, German, 1927 - 2010

Treasures in Heaven (May 4 to October 23, 1994) (fols. 11v-12; fols. 13v-14)
  • Pierpont Morgan Library (New York), May 4 to August 7, 1994
  • Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore), August 28 to October 23, 1994
The Armenian Gospels of Gladzor (September 11 to December 2, 2001) (cover)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 11 to December 2, 2001
Touching the Past: The Hand in the Medieval Book (July 7 to September 27, 2015) (fols. 13v-14)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 7 to September 27, 2015
Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016) (fols. 84v-85; fols. 197v-198)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016
Armenia (September 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019) (fols. 13v-14)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), September 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019
Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art (November 19, 2019 to February 16, 2020) (fols. 5v-6)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 19, 2019 to February 16, 2020

Euw, Anton von, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1979-1985), vol. 1 (1979), pp. 171-76.

"Manuscript Acquisitions: The Ludwig Collection." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12, 1984, p. 285.

Baroffio, Giacomo, ed. Iter Liturgicum Italicum (Padua: CLEUP Editrice, 1999), p. 109.

Keene, Bryan. "Il Medioevo Globale: Visioni del Mondo al Getty Museum." Alumina 14, no. 52 (January-March 2016), p. 50, ill.

Keene, Bryan C. "Il Medioevo Globale: Visioni del Mondo al Getty Museum." Alumina: Pagine Miniate 14, no. 52 (January - March 2016), 46-51, p. 50, ill.

Josenhans, Frauke V.  Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2017), p. 120, ill.

Evans, Helen, ed. Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), p. 192, cat.82.

Keene, Bryan C. Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2019, pp. 162, 162, 175.