The J. Paul Getty Museum

Two miniatures from a Book of Old Testament Prophets

Object Details


Two miniatures from a Book of Old Testament Prophets






Sicily, Italy (Place Created)


about 1300


Tempera colors and gold on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 35

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Object Description

The two miniatures from a book of Old Testament Prophets were cut out of the original manuscript sometime after the book's manufacture about 1300. The subject matter of the two cuttings is unusual, illustrating rarely depicted episodes from the books of Isaiah and Zechariah. This iconography, along with the style of the miniatures, indicates that they may derive from lost Byzantine prototypes, most likely a Greek manuscript containing the writings of the major and minor prophets. Although the miniatures are closely related to contemporary Byzantine painting, the style of the remains of a decorative letter seen at the top of one of the miniatures suggests that the manuscript was written in Western Europe. The elongated proportions and small heads of the figures are characteristic of the Byzantine art of Sicily, where there was a large community of Greek artists, one of whom may have painted these miniatures.


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