Ruskin Hours

Object Details

Title:

Ruskin Hours

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Northeastern France, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1300

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment bound between wood boards covered with dark red leather (on inside covers, red morocco with ornament stamped in bold, from earlier 18th century binding)

Dimensions:

Leaf: 26.4 x 18.3 cm (10 3/8 x 7 3/16 in.)

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Made in northeastern France about 1300, this manuscript is a relatively early example of a book of hours. Later in the 1300s, books of hours superseded psalters as the principal texts for personal devotion.

The profusely decorated manuscript includes almost one hundred historiated initials, miniatures that illustrate the calendar, and a rare feature, an illustrated litany. Further illuminations called marginalia appear on many of the pages. Sometimes these scenes relate directly to a historiated initial on the same page; more often, the secular vignettes of humorous animals and figures are meant to provide a playful counterpart to the religious narratives. The illuminations, painted by an anonymous artist, exhibit vivacity and an attention to detail characteristic of the high Gothic style. In the 1800s the celebrated art critic and medieval enthusiast John Ruskin owned this book of hours, which has since taken his name. Ruskin was so fond of the book that he included designs from it in his own book, Modern Painters, helping to popularize medieval culture.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts (1908) (no. 141; fols. 37v-38)
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club (London), 1908
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985) (fols. 14v - 15)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
French Illuminated Manuscripts (July 17 to October 6, 1985) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 17 to October 6, 1985
Illuminated Books of Hours (July 22 to October 3, 1986) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 22 to October 3, 1986
Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987) (fols. 14v - 15)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 20 to April 5, 1987
Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours (April 22 to July 17, 1988) (fols. 102v - 103)
  • Walters Art Gallery, (Baltimore), April 22 to July 17, 1988
The Art of the Written Word: Medieval and Renaissance Calligraphy in Illuminated Manuscripts (January 16 to April 1, 1990) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 16 to April 1, 1990
Illuminated Devotional Manuscripts (October 16 to December 30, 1990) (fols. 102v - 103)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 16 to December 30, 1990
The Passion of Christ in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (April 11 to July 5, 1992) (fols. 28v - 29)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 11 to July 5, 1992
Manuscripts and Americans: An Exhibition in Honor of Franklin D. Murphy (July 21 to October 18, 1992) (fols. 75v - 76)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 18, 1992
The Cult of Saints in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (October 26, 1993 to January 9, 1994) (fols. 102v - 103)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 26, 1993 to January 9, 1994
Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Musicians and Instruments in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 25 to April 10, 1994) (fols. 88v - 89)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 25 to April 10, 1994
Ten Centuries of French Illumination (April 23 to July 7, 1996) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 23 to July 7, 1996
Illuminating the Mind's Eye: Memory and Medieval Book Arts (July 23 to October 6, 1996) (fols. 1v - 2)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 23 to October 6, 1996
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997) (fols. 88v - 89)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
Out-of-Bounds: Marginal Imagery in Illuminated Manuscripts (April 7, 1998 to July 5, 1998) (fols. 85v - 86)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 7 to July 5, 1998
Faces of Power and Piety: Portraits in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (February 2 to April 18, 1999) (fols. 52v - 53)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 2 to April 18, 1999
The Medieval Best Seller: Illuminated Books of Hours (October 29, 2002 to January 19, 2003) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 29, 2002 to January 19, 2003
Transforming Tradition: Ancient Motifs in Medieval Manuscripts (September 23 to November 30, 2003) (fol. 98v - 99)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 23 to November 30, 2003
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004) (fols. 63v - 64)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004
The Cult of Saints (April 25 to July 16, 2006) (fol. 104v - 105)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 25 to July 16, 2006
French Manuscript Illumination in the Middle Ages (January 23 to April 15, 2007) (fol. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 23 to April 15, 2007
Faces of Power and Piety: Portraiture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (August 12 to October 26, 2008) (fols. 105v - 106)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 12 to October 26, 2008
Temptation and Salvation: The Psalms of King David (June 9 to August 16, 2009) (fols. 28v - 29)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 9 to August 16, 2009
Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Illuminated Manuscripts (September 1 to November 8, 2009) (fol. 85v - 86)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 1 to November 8, 2009
Stories to Watch: Narrative in Medieval Manuscripts (February 22 to May 15, 2011) (fols. 37v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 22 to May 15, 2011
Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination 1200-1350 (December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012) (fols. 31v - 32; fols. 81v - 82)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012
Untold Stories: Collecting and Transforming Medieval Manuscripts (February 26 to May 12, 2013) (fols. 75v - 76)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 26 to May 12, 2013
Miracles and Martyrs: Saints in the Middle Ages (August 29, 2013 to March 2, 2014) (fols. 105v - 106)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 29, 2013 to March 2, 2014