North Pavilion exhibited medieval and Renaissance sculpture and decorative arts, and rotating exhibitions of illuminated manuscripts. The newly designed European sculpture and decorative arts galleries in the North Pavilion at the Getty Center are arranged according to period and theme, with different materials, including two-dimensional works of art, intermingled to visually and conceptually play off one another.
The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center includes pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs; contemporary and modern sculpture; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, designed specifically for the Getty Center.
The North Pavilion presents paintings dating up to 1600, as well as medieval and Renaissance sculpture and decorative arts, and rotating exhibitions of illuminated manuscripts. The North Pavilion contains a fascinating display of 15th century glass objects; a diverse range of illuminated manuscripts of German, French, Italian and British origin – mostly derived from the renowned Louis Collection from Aachen; Renaissance art, mostly religious paintings, including a huge altarpiece by Bartolomeo Vivarini, as well as an exquisite Venus & Adonis from Titian’s workshop.
Today we associate Renaissance arts with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Yet gem-studded goldwork and richly embellished armor; splendid tapestries, embroideries, and textiles; ephemeral multimedia spectacles; and other opulent creations were consistently more celebrated by contemporaries.
In the early 1300s, creativity was flourishing in Florence at a time of unprecedented prosperity, urban expansion, and intellectual innovation. The Renaissance was awakening. In this dynamic climate, master painter revolutionized painting with a new, more naturalistic approach to the human form.
Getty Center approach to this material, paintings, manuscript illumination, and stained glass are examined side by side, in concert with new scientific analysis and findings about artists’ techniques and workshops, to reveal a complex and nuanced picture of the beauty of Florentine art during this pivotal moment in history.
Renaissance Art in Italy and Northern Europe, 1450–1600 is designed to evoke the atmosphere of a studiolo, a room in which a Renaissance collector would have reveled in the study of classical antiquity.
Collecting in Northern Europe, 1450–1600 reflects an art refined taste and love of beautiful objects, which were often displayed in magnificent cabinets, like the room’s centerpiece from Augsburg, Germany. Interactive screens enable viewers to virtually explore its many facets.
Sacred Art, 1150–1600 evokes a late-medieval cathedral treasury at a time when religious devotion inspired the making of sacred objects to be placed on altars for use in holy mass. Stained-glass panels, on view for the first time as part of the permanent collection, take advantage of the gallery architecture’s vertical height.
European Glass and Ceramics, 1400–1700 showcases glass and maiolica, as works of art, transcend mere utility.
The Department of Manuscripts was established in 1983 with the acquisition of one of the finest private collections in the world, assembled by Peter and Irene Ludwig of Aachen, Germany. Since then, the Museum has built an expansive and balanced representation of the art form, with holdings totaling over 200 complete books and individual leaves that span the ninth to sixteenth centuries. Featuring exceptional European illuminations—including Ottonian, Romanesque, Gothic, International Style, and Renaissance examples—the collection also contains a small but important group of Byzantine, Armenian, and Ethiopian objects.
The manuscripts collections is light-sensitive artworks cannot be on permanent display. Changing exhibitions allow the Museum to rotate the works, and to provide new ways of looking at and interpreting them. The Getty Museum also presents large-scale international loan exhibitions of manuscripts as a part of their special exhibitions program.
J. Paul Getty Museum
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center features works of art dating from the eighth through the twenty-first century, showcased against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The collection includes European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, Asian, and American photographs.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as the Getty, is an art museum in California housed on two campuses: the Getty Center and Getty Villa. The Getty Center is in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and is the primary location of the museum. The collection features Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. Its estimated 1.3 million visitors annually make it one of the most visited museums in the United States. The museum’s second location, the Getty Villa, is in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood (though self-claims in the city of Malibu) and displays art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
In 1974, J. Paul Getty opened a museum in a re-creation of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum on his property in Pacific Palisades, California. In 1982, the museum became the richest in the world when it inherited US$1.2 billion. In 1983, after an economic downturn in what was then West Germany, the Getty Museum acquired 144 illuminated medieval manuscripts from the financially struggling Ludwig Collection in Aachen; John Russell, writing in The New York Times, said of the collection, “One of the finest holdings of its kind ever assembled, it is quite certainly the most important that was in private hands.” In 1997, the museum moved to its current location in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles; the Pacific Palisades museum, renamed the “Getty Villa”, was renovated and reopened in 2006.
One can see a large part of the collection on the website of the J. Paul Getty Museum. In addition to the paintings and manuscripts, which are discussed in more detail below, there are also important collections of drawings, sculptures and photographs that can be consulted online.
In the Getty Villa about 44,000 pieces are housed from a period of 6,500 BC. The collection includes sculptures, reliefs, mosaics, panel paintings and frescoes, vases, bottles, goblets and amforae, candles and oil lamps, jewelry, pins, bracelets, mirrors, combs, buckles and various ornaments, coins, monuments and votiefgiften and a collection of Most diverse items.