During the Middle Ages the geographical region occupied today by Belgium and the Netherlands flourished economically and artistically. While widely known as the era of Jan van Eyck―the great painter in oil on panel―the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries also witnessed one of the greatest flowering of the art of illumination anywhere in Europe. The region's colorful, naturalistically painted books were eagerly sought after across the continent.
This volume, the fourth in the series on the J. Paul Getty Museum's collection of European illuminated manuscripts organized by region, includes works by the finest and most original artists for the most discerning patrons: The Prayer Book of Charles the Bold, illuminated by Lievin van Lathem for the Duke of Burgundy, 1469; The Visions of Tondal, illuminated by Simon Marmion for Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, 1475; The Spinola Hours, 1510–20, considered by some to be the most important Flemish manuscript of the sixteenth century; and The Brandenburg Prayer Book, illuminated by Simon Bening for Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, 1525–30. These manuscripts were on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from August 24, 2010, through February 6, 2011.
Thomas Kren is senior curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.