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Exhibition Overview

About Visiting the Getty Center

Exhibition Partners

Visit the Web sites of our exhibition partners:

The British Library, London:

Walk through the period covered by the exhibition with a timeline of major European events from 1400 to 1550. This Web site focuses on The British Library's collection.

British Library

The Royal Academy of Arts, London:


Learn about the creation and use of these books. Editorials discuss the uses and abuses of history in Flemish manuscripts in Medieval and Renaissance times, and today.

Royal Academy

Illuminating the Renaissance will be on view at the Royal Academy of the Arts, London from November 29, 2003 to February 22, 2004.

This exhibition was organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and The British Library, London. The exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

In conjunction with the exhibition, an in-depth catalogue presents the newest scholarship on these important works. See shop for more information.

Also on view at the Getty

The Making of a Medieval Book
May 20 - September 28, 2003
See how illuminated manuscripts were made in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Manuscripts selected from the Museum's permanent collection illustrate the materials and techniques of medieval manuscript production.

Picturing the Natural World
June 17 - September 7, 2003
One of the Museum's most popular manuscripts, the Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model book of calligraphy), with its dazzling depictions of flora and fauna, will be displayed with other nature studies, both artistic and scientific, from the Museum and the Getty Research Institute collections.

Illuminating the Renaissance

IlluminationFeaturing more than 130 works of art, this exhibition focuses on the finest and most ambitiously illuminated books produced in Flanders (parts of present day Belgium and France) between 1470 and 1560. During this period, illuminators radically transformed the appearance of the illustrated page, introducing the mastery of light, texture, and space achieved by the finest panel painters of the day.

Map of Flanders
Map of Flanders Audio: Curator Thomas Kren introduces the exhibition

The new style evolved under the patronage of the most powerful ruling families of Flanders. Manuscripts were a vehicle of politics, piety, and luxury, and their appeal quickly spread across Europe.

The illuminations on view reveal the glamour of the European courts. History books tell tales of mythology, brave heroes, and inspirational rulers, while devotional books set the tone for a pious Christian life. Above all, their exquisite naturalism places these Flemish manuscripts among the greatest artistic achievements of their time.

Despite their popularity, the invention of the printing press and changing patterns of patronage ultimately led to the demise of the hand-made book. By 1560, the great era of Flemish manuscript illumination would finally draw to a close.


The J. Paul Getty Trust
The J. Paul Getty Trust