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Illuminating the Renaissance





The Getty Summer Premiere Presentation:
Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe


Illuminating the Renaissance is the first comprehensive look at the greatest epoch in Flemish manuscript illumination. It features some of the finest and most ambitiously illuminated manuscripts produced between 1470 and 1560 in the region of modern-day Belgium and northern France.

This international exhibition brings together more than 130 objects from a total of 49 lenders from 14 countries worldwide, including dazzling manuscripts, drawings, and paintings from the collections of the Getty in Los Angeles; the British Museum and the British Library, London; the Louvre and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Due to their fragile nature, most of the manuscripts have rarely been exhibited.

Dates and Venues:

Illuminating the Renaissance will debut at the Getty Center, in its only U.S. appearance, before traveling to the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

June 17 - September 7, 2003
The Getty Center, Los Angeles
For information: 310-440-7300,
November 25, 2003-February 22, 2004
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Recorded information line: 020 7300 5760

Credit line:

Supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, this exhibition has been organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and The British Library.


Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe. 600 pages, 232 color, 153 b&w illustrations. Published by the Getty. Hardcover: $125.00. Paperback: $55.00. Available June 2003 in the Getty Museum Bookstore, online at, or by calling 800-223-3431 or 310-440-7059.

This comprehensive and richly illustrated catalog will be the first monographic treatment of the subject. The catalog is written and edited by Thomas Kren, curator of manuscripts at the Getty, and Scot McKendrick, curator of manuscripts at the British Library, London. Contributors include Maryan W. Ainsworth, curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; independent scholar Catherine Reynolds; and Elizabeth Morrison, assistant curator of manuscripts at the Getty.

Web site:

Explore the intricate beauty and exquisite details of illuminated manuscripts at the specially created web site for the exhibition at With zooming technology, the web site draws you closer to the magnificent manuscripts, allowing you to see even the tiniest detail. Angels, flowers, and even the parchment's hair follicles are visible in stunning clarity. Examine the color and intricacy of these books up close, and learn how they were created and used. Find out more about the artists, patrons, and the fashions of the period from a user-friendly interface.

Related Exhibitions:

The Making of a Medieval Book
May 20, 2003 - September 28, 2003
Part of the popular "Making of" series, which explores the historical techniques behind various art forms, this installation examines the materials and methods used to create the lavishly illuminated manuscripts produced in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Examples from the Getty's collection of medieval manuscripts are used to illustrate the process, which begins with the preparation of animal skin to make parchment (or vellum), continues through the writing and often elaborate painting stages, and ends with the binding of the volume.

Picturing the Natural World
June 17, 2003 - September 7, 2003
The 16th-century manuscript Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) is a brilliant and inventive example of the period's interest in representing every detail of the natural world. This exhibition focuses on the manuscript and places it in the context of a number of other nature studies, both artistic and scientific. Featured are works that cover an extensive period of examination from 1450 to 1800. Included are paintings and drawings from the Museum's collections and printed books from the Getty Research Institute. One of the most popular manuscripts at the Getty, the Mira calligraphiae monumenta was written by Georg Bocskay and later illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel in the 16th century.

Related Events:

For the complete range of related programming, including performances and lectures, please see the "Related Exhibitions and Programs" sheet or visit

April 2003

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Media contact:

Thea M. Page
Getty Communications Dept.