Beasts Factual and Fantastic is the first in the Medieval Imagination series of small, affordable books that will draw on manuscript illuminations from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Each volume will focus on a particular theme or subject as represented by medieval artists. Often, as in the case of the imaginary beasts that readers will encounter in this volume, artists depicted that which they did not see or know but which was nonetheless shaped by the prevailing beliefs, fears, and rudimentary science of the time. In other cases, manuscript illuminators recorded what they indeed did seewhich, centuries later, reveals much about the world in which they lived.
This inaugural volume features vivid and charming details from the wealth of manuscripts in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library, along with a lively text; together both word and image provide an accessible and delightful introduction to the imagination of the medieval world. Future volumes in this series will cover such topics as costumes, portraiture, and marginalia, among others.
Elizabeth Morrison is associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Not for sale in Commonwealth and Europe except Canada.
Series: Medieval Imagination