Marginalia is the general term for notes, scribbles, and editorial comments made in the margin of a book. The term is also used to describe drawings and flourishes in medieval illuminated manuscripts.
In the Middle Ages, some of the funniest artworks turned up in the margins of illuminated manuscripts, a topic explored in “Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Medieval Manuscripts” at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Sometimes satirical, sometimes serious, sometimes scatological, I wonder if they are meant to help illustrate a text by casting a provocative thought; or, simply the work of an irreverent monk with a good sense of humor who was bored copying psalm after psalm and religious texts, and decided to add a little levity.
The exhibition runs through November 8, 2009. Read more on “Out of Bounds” here.