Apollo Magazine

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 7

The Getty has acquired one of Lieven van Lathem's most important illuminated manuscripts, 'The Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies'

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies illuminated manuscript, after 1464
Lieven van Lathem (c. 1430–93)
Tempera colours, gold, and ink on parchment
Acquired with museum funds

The Getty already holds the only documented manuscript by Lieven van Lathem – the Prayer Book of Charles the Bold, a primary reference for all attributions – and now adds one of his most important secular works to its collection. This epic romance, which chronicles the hero Gillion de Trazegnies’ eventful pilgrimage to Egypt from his family seat in Hainaut, was commissioned by Louis de Gruuthuse, an advisor to the Duke of Burgundy. The exotic scenes of a Flemish knight battling Saracen enemies would have thrilled the Flemish court as well as having

a timely political significance. A highlight of the Getty’s 2003 exhibition ‘Illuminating the Renaissance’, the manuscript features eight half-page miniatures and 44 historiated initials, and is a superb example of Burgundian manuscript illumination of the period.

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