- Download (28.62 MB)
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.
Two Fishermen on an Aspidochelone
Thérouanne ?, France (formerly Flanders) (Place created)
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 19.1 x 14.3 cm (7 1/2 x 5 5/8 in.)
The description of the "aspidochelone," probably a whale, in this medieval bestiary is a fantastic concoction of nature and legend, all in the service of Christian teaching. One characteristic of the large sea creature noted in the bestiary is its propensity to remain motionless for long periods of time with its back just above the water line, fooling sailors into believing it is an island. Later, as the text relates, when the sailors pitch camp on its back and light their campfires, the monster feels the heat and plunges suddenly into the watery depths. The whale is thereby understood allegorically as the wily devil who deceives sinners, ultimately plunging them into the fires of Hell.
The artist of the
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
Ludwigslust: Die Sammlung Irene und Peter Ludwig (June 19 to October 10, 1993)
- Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nuremberg), June 19 to October 10, 1993
Illuminated Secular Manuscripts (January 24 to April 9, 1995)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 24 to April 9, 1995
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Landscape in the Renaissance (August 1 to October 15, 2006)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 1 to October 15, 2006
Stories to Watch: Narrative in Medieval Manuscripts (February 22 to May 15, 2011)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 22 to May 15, 2011