The J. Paul Getty Museum

Initial T: Isaac and Esau

Object Details


Initial T: Isaac and Esau


Attributed to Franco dei Russi (Italian, active about 1453 - 1482)




Ferrara, Italy (Place Created)


about 1455 - 1461


Tempera and gold leaf on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 98 (2005.38), recto


Leaf: 58.1 × 41.5 cm (22 7/8 × 16 5/16 in.)

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Object Description

Elderly and bedridden, the Old Testament patriarch Isaac directs his eldest son, Esau, to hunt for venison. Isaac promises to give Esau his final blessing when he returns with the meal, but Esau's brother, Jacob, arrives first, dressed as a hunter, and steals the blessing. The biblical story from the book of Genesis that inspired this scene, and the chant that follows on this page, are read and sung during the Christian penitential season of Lent. The figures' brightly colored garments and the delicate gold highlights on the trees and grass are characteristic of Franco dei Russi's manuscript illumination.

Treasures of a Lost Art: Italian Manuscript Painting of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (June 7 to August 31, 2003)
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco), June 7 to August 31, 2003
Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum (September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006
Music for the Masses: Illuminated Choir Books (August 14 to October 28, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 14 to October 28, 2007
Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016