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- Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library was dispersed and much of the collection destroyed, with the surviving volumes scattered all over Europe. This codex, one of eight manuscripts originally in the Corvinus Library and now preserved in the Bavarian State Library, contains a text produced in Ferrara, Italy, in 1460. Its binding, made in Buda, where the king had set up his own workshop, is decorated with the royal arms. The binding reflects a blend of local Gothic style and Eastern-inspired elements from the Italian Renaissance, based on oriental models that are thought to have originated in North Africa, particularly in Egypt. The volume is believed to have been presented by Georg Hörmann, who was in the service of the Fugger family, to Johann Jacob Fugger, with whose library it came to the Munich court library of the dukes of Bavaria in 1571. The Bibliotheca Corviniana Collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2005.
Title in Original Language
Historiae Bononiensis libri IV. Carmina ad Galeatium Marescottum
Type of Item
- 64 leaves, vellum : illustrations ; 24.6 x 17.4 centimeters