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Leaf from the Morgan Picture Bible
Northern France, France (Place Created)
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
Ms. Ludwig I 6 (83.MA.55)
Leaf: 32.5 × 29.1 cm (12 13/16 × 11 7/16 in.)
The Morgan Picture Bible stood over a foot tall and contained more than 380 scenes from the Old Testament, extending from the story of Creation to the reign of King David. Though it originally consisted exclusively of pictures with no accompanying text, three sets of captions were later added to the leaves, summarizing the contents of the images. Scribes in southern Italy added inscriptions in Latin around 1300, and inscriptions in Persian and Judeo-Persian--Persian written in the Hebrew alphabet--were added in the 1600s.
Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Bishop of Cracow, Poland, presented the Morgan Picture Bible to the Persian ruler of the early 1600s, Shah Abbas, centuries after it was made. The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York now owns the book, which is missing a number of folios including the Getty Museum's leaf. Who removed leaves from the book and for what reason? The answer may lie with the Shah. All of the missing leaves come from the part of the book that tells the story of Absalom's defiance of his father, King David. Scholars have suggested that Shah Abbas did not approve of that story and may have had the leaves cut out. Because these leaves were removed during the time of Shah Abbas, the later Judeo-Persian inscriptions are not found on them.
Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Polish, 1548 - 1608
Shah Abbās I, Persian,
late 19th/early 20th century
Source: Euw, Anton von, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1979-1985), vol. 1 (1979), p. 72.
by 1910 - 1957
Sydney C. Cockerell, English, 1867 - 1962, sold to H.. Kraus, 1957.
Source: Munby, A.N.L. The Dispersal of the Phillipps Library: Phillipps Studies 5 (Cambridge: University Press, 1960), p. 69.
Hans P. Kraus, Sr., American, born Austria, 1907 - 1988
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (July 1 to September 30, 1984) (recto and verso)
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Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985) (recto and verso)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987) (recto and verso)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 20 to April 5, 1987
A Thousand Years of the Bible: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 15 to March 31, 1991) (recto)
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Ludwigslust: Die Sammlung Irene und Peter Ludwig (June 19 to October 10, 1993) (recto or verso)
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Book Arts of Isfahan: Diversity and Identity in 17th Century Persia (October 24, 1995 to January 14, 1996) (recto and verso)
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Illuminating the Mind's Eye: Memory and Medieval Book Arts (July 23 to October 6, 1996) (recto and verso)
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Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997) (recto and verso)
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Picturing the Medieval Family (May 4 to July 18, 1999) (recto)
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The Art of Giving in the Middle Ages (November 21, 2000 to February 4, 2001) (recto)
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The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library's Medieval Picture Bible (October 27 to December 29, 2002) (recto or verso)
- Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), October 27 to December 29, 2002
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004) (verso)
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Images of Violence in the Middle Ages (December 21 2004 to March 13, 2005) (verso)
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Gifts of the Sultan: the Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts (June 5, 2011 to June 2, 2012) (verso)
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Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (January 22 to June 26, 2016) (recto and verso)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 22 to June 26, 2016
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