Beasts Factual and Fantastic is the first in a series of small, affordable books that draw on manuscript illuminations from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Each volume focuses on a particular theme or subject as represented by medieval artists. Often, as in the case of the imaginary beasts that readers will encounter in this volume, artists depicted that which they did not see or know but which was nonetheless shaped by the prevailing beliefs, fears, and rudimentary science of the time. In other cases, manuscript illuminators recorded what they indeed did see—which, centuries later, reveals much about the world in which they lived.
This volume features vivid and charming details from the wealth of manuscripts in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library, along with a lively text; together both word and image provide an accessible and delightful introduction to the imagination of the medieval world.
Elizabeth Morrison is associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.112 pages
7 x 9 inches
95 color illustrations
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum
Series: Medieval Imagination