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Leaf from Ms. Ludwig II 7
Mesrop of Khizan (Armenian, active 1605 - 1651)
Isfahan, Persia (Place Created)
Tempera on glazed paper
Ms. Ludwig II 7a (85.MS.282)
Leaf: 22.9 × 17.1 cm (9 × 6 3/4 in.)
This illuminated leaf shows a painting of the baptism of Christ. At the left side of the page, John the Baptist sprinkles the water of the Jordan River on Christ’s head. The dove of the holy spirt descends from the heavens, and an angel attends at right, its wings breaking dramatically through the picture frame. A smaller, partially cropped figure on the image’s lower right probably personifies the River Jordan, where the baptism took place. An Armenian dragon called a vishap swims at his feet. The painting’s style is characterized by bold colors, wavy, segmented patterns, and dynamic figures.
The leaf was once part of the illustrated prefatory cycle of a Gospel book that was made in 1615 in Isfahan, Persia, and illustrated by the famous Armenian artist, Mesrop of Khizan, and that now belongs to the Getty. The manuscript’s prefatory images were removed over fifty years before it came to the museum. This leaf was acquired later, and its connection to the manuscript is affirmed by photographs taken before the book was dismembered. The museum holds a second leaf from the same manuscript, this one with an image of the Nativity of Christ.
Commissioned by Lord Martiros, the husband of Mariam, Armenian,
Note: in honor of [his] parent, Khumarmam, Omet.
Ust'ay Martiros, Armenian,
1737 - 1897/1913
Private Collection (New Julfa (Isfahan, Iran)), purchased by Jean-Jacques Marie de Morgan in Isfahan, after 1897.
1897/1913 - 1924
Jean-Jacques Marie de Morgan, French, 1857 - 1924, sold to Charles Ratton, by 1924.
Charles Ratton, French, 1895 - 1986
Note: The leaf was removed from its parent manuscript after 1924.
Jean Félix Anne Pozzi, French, 1884 - 1967
Source: sale, Hôtel Druout, Paris, April 30, 1971, lot 102
Private Collection (New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.
Treasures in Heaven (May 4 to October 23, 1994) (recto)
- Pierpont Morgan Library (New York), May 4 to August 7, 1994
- Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore), August 28 to October 23, 1994
Book Arts of Isfahan: Diversity and Identity in 17th Century Persia (October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996) (recto)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996
The Gospels in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007) (recto)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007
Macler, Frédéric. (1913). Notices manuscrits arméniens vus dans quelques bibliothèques de l'Europe centrale (Vol. II). Paris: Imprimerie nationale, p. 645.
Macler, Frédéric. Miniatures Arméniennes: Vies du Christ, Peintures ornamentales (Xe aux XVIIe siècle), Paris, 1913, pp. 29-30, pl. XXXIV, fig. 84.
Nersessian, Sirapie Der. The Chester Beatty Library. A Catalogue of the Armenian Manuscripts (Dublin: Hodges Figgis, 1958)s, pp. 88-90, pl. 51.
Arakelyan, Mikayel. Mesrop of Xizan: An Armenian Master of the Seventeenth Century (London: Sam Fogg, with Paul Holberton Publishing, 2012), pp. 19, 30-31, 56-62, 83, 143-44, fig. 8.
Evans, Helen, ed. Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), pp. 274-275, cat. 125.