FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 08, 2018

J. Paul Getty Museum Announces Gift of Rare Illuminated Manuscript Leaves from James E. and Elizabeth J. Ferrell

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Valerie Tate
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Getty Communications

J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM ANNOUNCES GIFT OF RARE ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT LEAVES FROM JAMES E. AND ELIZABETH J. FERRELL

 

Left: Detached Leaf from the Gradual of the Carthusian Monastery Santo Spirito near Lucca, about 1392–1402, Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna (Italian, active 1349 – 1403). Tempera and gold leaf. Leaf: 35.6 × 30.5 cm (14 × 12 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Elizabeth J. Ferrell, Ms. 115 (1) Right: Detached leaf from the Gradual of the Carthusian Monastery Santo Spirito near Lucca, about 1392–1402, Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna (Italian, active 1349 – 1403). Tempera and gold leaf. Leaf: 35.6 × 30.5 cm (14 × 12 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Elizabeth J. Ferrell, Ms. 115 (3)


LOS ANGELES –The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the gift of six rare Italian manuscript illuminations from collectors James E. and Elizabeth J. Ferrell. The donation has been made in Elizabeth’s name. The generous donation comprises large historiated initials from a group of twenty known leaves originally from a choir book made around 1400 for the Carthusian monastery of Santo Spirito in Farneta (Lucca), Italy. The book was commissioned by Niccolò di Lazzara, the archbishop of Lucca.

         “Jim and Zibbie Ferrell have been longtime supporters of the Museum, and we are deeply grateful for this important gift,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Over the past two decades, they have been very generous and enthusiastic lenders of manuscripts and other works from their collection to exhibitions at both the Getty Center and Getty Villa. A number of their objects are included in the reinstallation of the Villa that will be completed in April. The gift of these six spectacular objects assures Jim and Zibbie a permanent place in the growth and enhancement of our manuscripts collection, and in particular adds greatly to our representation of fourteenth-century art from Central Italy.”

          The Ferrells have been involved with the Museum’s manuscripts department for almost twenty years, frequently lending works from their collection and supporting exhibitions and scholarly projects. This is their first gift of works of art to the Getty. The leaves are from a gradual, a choir book that contains the sung portions of the Mass. The vibrant illuminations were painted by Niccolò da Bologna, known for his expressive figures and crowded, action-filled narrative scenes. The subjects featured within the historiated initials relate to important feast days of the church, including the Trinity, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and several related to individual saints (including two scenes of Saint Paul’s martyrdom, a stunning image of Saint Mary Magdalene’s ascent into Heaven, and one with the Twelve Apostles).

          “Niccolò da Bologna was the most prolific Bolognese illuminator of the late fourteenth century, and the Getty already owns two exceptional examples of his work,” says Elizabeth Morrison, senior curator in the Department of Manuscripts. “Each of the initials demonstrates Niccolò’s ability to render figures with a liveliness that seems to allow them to leap off the page. He is an artist whose rich and varied oeuvre deserves to be represented through multiple examples.”

          The six initials will make their debut in the upcoming exhibition, Artful Words: Calligraphy in Illuminated Manuscripts on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from December 18, 2018 through April 7, 2019. Learn more about this important donation and the work of Niccolò da Bologna on the Getty Iris.

 

 

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection of works of art.

 

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