Getty Publications Virtual Library

Illuminating the Renaissance


Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe

Edited by Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick


592 pages

PDF file size: 83.9 MB


This comprehensive and richly illustrated catalogue focuses on the finest illustrated manuscripts produced in Europe during the great epoch in Flemish illumination. During this aesthetically fertile period—beginning in 1467 with the reign of the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold and ending in 1561 with the death of the artist Simon Bening—the art of book painting was raised to a new level of sophistication. Sharing inspiration with the celebrated panel painters of the time, illuminators achieved astonishing innovations in the handling of color, light, texture, and space, creating a naturalistic style that would dominate tastes throughout Europe for nearly a century.

Centering on the notable artists of the period—Simon Marmion, the Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy, Gerard David, Gerard Horenbout, Bening, and others—the catalogue examines both devotional and secular manuscript illumination within a broad context: the place of illuminators within the visual arts, including artistic exchange between book painters and panel painters; the role of court patronage and the emergence of personal libraries; and the international appeal of the new Flemish illumination style. Contributors to the catalogue 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 Museum.

Illuminating the Renaissance is published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Getty Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the British Library held at the Getty Museum from June 17 to September 7, 2003, and at the Royal Academy of Arts from November 25, 2003 to February 22, 2004.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    Deborah Gribbon, Professor Phillip King, C.B.E., Lynne Brindley
  • Lenders to the Exhibition
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes to the Reader
  • Introduction
    Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick
  • Illuminators and the Painters’ Guilds
    Catherine Reynolds
  • Illuminators and Painters: Artistic Exchanges and Interrelationships
    Thomas Kren and Maryan W. Ainsworth
  • Reviving the Past: Illustrated Manuscripts of Secular Vernacular Texts, 1467–1500
    Scot McKendrick
  • Catalogue
  • Part 1
    • From Panel to Parchment and Back: Painters as Illuminators before 1470
      Thomas Kren
      Flemish Artists of the Turin-Milan Hours · Rogier van der Weyden · Petrus Christus · Simon Marmion (A) · Willem Vrelant
  • Part 2
    • Revolution and Transformation: Painting in Devotional Manuscripts, circa 1467–1485
      Thomas Kren
      Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy (A) · Master of the Moral Treatises · Hugo van der Goes · Master of the Houghton Miniatures · Ghent Associates · Master of the First Prayer Book of Maximilian · Simon Marmion (B) · Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (A) · Dreux Jean (A) · Master of Margaret of York Group (A)
  • Part 3
    • Painting in Manuscripts of Vernacular Texts, circa 1467–1485
      Scot McKendrick
      Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy (B) · Loyset Liédet · Jean Hennecart · Dreux Jean (B) · Lieven van Lathem · Master of Margaret of York Group (B) · Rambures Master · Master of the Privileges of Ghent and Flanders · Master of the Harley Froissart · Master of Anthony of Burgundy · Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (B) ·Master of the London Wavrin · Master of the Getty Froissart · Master of the White Inscriptions · Master of the Soane Josephus · Master of Edward IV (A) · Master of the First Prayer Book of Maximilian (B) · Master of the Flemish Boethius
  • Part 4
    • Consolidation and Renewal: Manuscript Painting under the Hapsburgs, circa 1485–1510
      Thomas Kren
      Master of the First Prayer Book of Maximilian (C) · Simon Marmion (C) · Master of Edward IV (B) · Gerard David · Master of James IV of Scotland (A) · Master of the Lübeck Bible · Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary (A) · Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (C) · Master of the Prayer Books of around 1500 · Master of Antoine Rolin
  • Part 5
    • New Directions in Manuscript Painting, circa 1510–1561
      Thomas Kren
      Master of James IV of Scotland (B) · Gerard Horenbout · Lucas Hornebout · Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary (B) · Master of the Soane Hours · Simon Bening · Anonymous · Jan Gossaert · Cornelis Massys · Pieter Bruegel the Elder · Master of Charles V and Circle · Master of Cardinal Wolsey · Anonymous · Pieter Coecke van Aelst
  • Appendix
    • The Scribes
      Scot McKendrick
    • Selected Scribe Biographies
      Richard Gay
  • Bibliographies to the Catalogue Entries
  • References
  • Index of Names
  • Index of Works of Art
  • Illustration Credits
  • About the Authors

About the Authors

Maryan W. Ainsworth is curator of early Netherlandish, French, and German paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and adjunct professor at Barnard College and Columbia University. She specializes in the integration of technical examination of paintings with art-historical research. Among her many publications is Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition.

Mari-Tere Alvarez is senior project coordinator at the J. Paul Getty Museum and recently received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Southern California with a dissertation entitled “The Art Market in Renaissance Spain: From Flanders to Castile.” She has published on polychrome sculpture and is currently working on the Renaissance collection and patronage of Mencía de Mendoza.

Brigitte Dekeyzer is a member of the Study Centre of Flemish Miniaturists (Belgium, K. U. Leuven). She has published on Ghent-Bruges manuscript illumination, especially on the Mayer van den Bergh Breviary (Antwerp, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Inv. Nr. 946), the central topic of her Ph.D thesis.

Richard Gay, assistant curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specializes in French manuscript illumination. He has organized diverse exhibitions on medieval illumination at the Getty Museum, and has taught at Cornell University.

Thomas Kren is curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum and adjunct professor of art history at the University of Southern California. His publications on Flemish and French manuscript illumination include Simon Bening’s Flemish Calendar; Margaret of York, Simon Marmion, and the Visions of Tondal; and Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts: Treasures from the British Library.

Scot McKendrick is curator of manuscripts at the British Library and a Fellow of the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has lectured and published extensively on late-medieval illuminated manuscripts and art and is the author of The History of Alexander the Great.

Elizabeth Morrison is assistant curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is a specialist in French Gothic and Flemish Renaissance manuscript illumination and has curated various exhibitions at the Getty Museum.

Catherine Reynolds, formerly a lecturer in art history at the Universities of Reading and London, is currently a consultant on manuscripts for Christie’s, London. Her publications include contributions to Boccaccio Visualizzato and to volumes on Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, and Hans Memling.