Psalms of David. Third Volume of the Bible


This codex is the third volume of a three-volume Bible commissioned in Italy by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–90) for his library. The manuscripts were copied by Antonio Sinibaldi or his pupil Alessandro Verazzano, probably in 1489−90. All three volumes were left unfinished, at least as far as the illuminations are concerned. At Matthias Corvinus’s death, Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo il Magnifico, incorporated the books into the Medici collection. This volume, which is known as Corvinian Psalter, contains the complete New Testament, preceded by the Psalms of David and two prologues to the Proverbs of Solomon, in the Latin translation of Saint Jerome (the Vulgate). It was illuminated by Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni, probably in 1488. The Bible is part of the Plutei Collection, which consists of the approximately 3,000 manuscripts and books from the private holdings of the Medici family, which, bound in red leather with the Medici coat of arms, were arranged on the benches of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana when the library first opened to the public in 1571. Cosimo de’ Medici (1389−1464) is known to have owned 63 books in 1417−18, which grew to 150 by the time of his death. His sons Piero (1416−69) and Giovanni (1421−63) vied with each other in commissioning illuminated manuscripts. Lorenzo il Magnifico (1449−92), son of Piero, acquired a great number of Greek codices and, starting in the 1480s, ordered copies of all texts lacking in the library with the aim of transforming the Medici library into an important center of research. Following the expulsion of the Medici from Florence in 1494, the books were taken from the family. Giovanni de’ Medici, elected Pope Leo X in 1513, restored the collection to the Medici, and another Medici pope, Clement VII (Giulio de' Medici), organized the establishment of the Laurenziana.

Last updated: February 12, 2016