This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.
Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.
Not currently on view
The Tree of Jesse
Würzburg, Germany (Place Created)
about 1240 - 1250
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and silver leaf on parchment
Ms. Ludwig VIII 2 (83.MK.93), fol. 7v
Leaf: 22.7 × 15.7 cm (8 15/16 × 6 3/16 in.)
In the Middle Ages, King David was considered to be the author of the psalms, leading to the frequent inclusion of the Tree of Jesse in psalters. In this manuscript, the tree is one of a series of full-page miniatures preceding the text of the psalms. The genealogical diagram of Christ's lineage from David's father Jesse was inspired by Isaiah's prophecy: "There will come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a flower will rise up out of his root." The rod (virga in Latin) was interpreted as the Virgin Mary (virge Maria in Latin) and the flower as Jesus. In this image, as was traditional in representations of this theme, Jesse appears as the root, from which sprouts a tree supporting the Virgin and Child. Above Jesse, two prophets hold scrolls with verses that were understood to refer to the Virgin. Along with two prophets whose scrolls were never filled in, they point towards the Virgin and Child. At the top of the tree, the Virgin presents an orb, symbol of the Messiah's dominion, while Jesus raises his hand in blessing.
Devotion and Desire: Views of Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (July 25 to October 8, 1995)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 25 to October 8, 1995
Illuminating the Mind's Eye: Memory and Medieval Book Arts (July 23 to October 6, 1996)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 23 to October 6, 1996
Temptation and Salvation: The Psalms of King David (June 9 to August 16, 2009)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 9 to August 16, 2009