The J. Paul Getty Museum

Miniatures from Boethius, Consolation de philosophie

Object Details


Miniatures from Boethius, Consolation de philosophie


Coëtivy Master (Henri de Vulcop?) (French, active about 1450 - 1485)

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius (called Boethius) (Italian, about 480 - 524/526)

Jean de Meun (French, about 1240/1260 - 1305)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1460–1470


Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink

Object Number:

Ms. 42 (91.MS.11)

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Object Description

After the Bible, the Consolation of Philosophy by the Roman philosopher and statesman Boethius was the most widely read book in the Middle Ages. Boethius wrote the work, a dialogue between its author and the personification of Philosophy, in prison while awaiting trial for treason. Discussing the problem of evil and the conflict between free will and divine providence, Philosophy explains the changeable nature of Fortune and consoles Boethius in his adversity.

The Getty Museum owns a series of cuttings from a luxurious French copy of the text (Consolation de philosophie), which the Coëtivy Master illuminated in Paris around the 1460s. The miniatures give concrete visual expression to the philosophical ideas, assuring their place in the reader's memory.

1985 - 1991

Ratton & Ladrière, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991.

The Medieval Bookshelf: From Romance to Astronomy (January 24 to April 9, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 9, 2006

"Acquisitions/1991." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 20 (1992), pp. 6, no. 33, 148-49, ill.

Avril, François, and Nicole Reynaud, eds. Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520, exh. cat. (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1993), p. 63, under no. 25, entry by Nicole Reynaud.

Todoroki, Yoshiaki. An Addition to Miniatures of Goddess Fortune in Mediaeval Manuscripts (Tokyo: Seibido, 2000), pp. 29, 61, fig. 32.

Lilly, Melinda. Princess (Vero Beach: Rourke Publishing LLC, 2003), pp. 6-7, ill.

McMahon, Darrin M. Happiness: A History (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005), p. 137, ill.

Kren, Thomas. French Illuminated Manuscripts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), pp. xxiii, xxv, 95, ill.

Inglis, Erik. Faces of Power & Piety (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; London: The British Library, 2008), pp. 44-45, 52, fig. 41.

Turner, Nancy K. "Cases in reconstructing the fragment: The conservation treatment of single leaves and cuttings." In Care and conservation of manuscripts 11: Proceedings of the eleventh international seminar held at the University of Copenhagen 24th-25th April 2008. Matthew James Driscoll and Ragnheiður Mósesdóttir, eds. (Denmark: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009), pp. 228-232, figs. 156, 157, 158.

Scott, Margaret. Fashion in the Middle Ages (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 108-109, figs. 82-83, frontispiece ill.