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MUSEUM OFFERS EXHIBITS ON MEDIEVAL BOOKS

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A couple of new exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum regale visitors' eyes with rare examples of medieval illuminated books, and then give them an opportunity to literally get the feel of how they were made.

The refined art of the illuminated manuscripts themselves is on show in "Ars et Ingenium: The Illuminator's Craft and Genius," with 20 examples of works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that the museum says are among the finest in its collection. This exhibition, which includes three illuminators' instruction books dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries, will remain on display through Oct. 9."The Making of a Medieval Book" explains to present-day visitors the entire process of creating a manuscript - the techniques and tools used for preparing parchment and writing text, decorating pages and sewing and binding them. There are samples of parchment, quills and other materials for visitors to handle, and a museum teacher is available to answer questions. The exhibition will run through Feb. 12, 1995.

In conjunction with the exhibitions, the museum has published a new book, "Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms" ($12.95 at the museum bookstore or by mail order 800-223-3431).