Psalterium Davidis

The Beatrice Psalter was a volume of main importance of the royal library of Buda. Its bindery of marked Oriental character for which probably the parts of an original Persian binding were used, could inspire the composition of the decoration of the gilded leather Corvina bindings. The title-page is an excellent work of Francesco Rosselli where the Florentine master used several Northern Italian elements (golden filigree border, shape of the initial letter). Around the coat of arms, the emblems of the Aragons of Naples, Queen Beatrice’s family can be seen, including the weasel that symbolizes purity.

As opposed to the unanimous view of previous research that located the manuscript to Italy (Naples, Rome, Florence), now it is for certain that the volume was made in Buda. That is supported by the quality of the parchment, Francesco Rosselli’s presence in Buda between 1478 and 1481, and certain features of the binding (painted and gilded Buda-style fore-edge). It is especially relevant that the Lombardian illuminator who painted the inner initials of the manuscript is identical to the master of the Italian initial of the Matthias Gradual. But there also elements of content that point towards Buda: the calendar of the Psalter follows in its entirety the rite order of the Zagreb diocese, although with some modifications that may be Paulite characteristics. The Hungarian saints are highlighted with red ink. In this manuscript it is especially well noticeable that originally there was a crown on the lion’s head that a later intervention tried to erase. (Edina Zsupán)

Source: The Corvina Library and the Buda Worskhop: [National Széchényi Library, November 6, 2018 –February 9, 2019] A Guide to the Exhibition; introduction and summary tables: Edina Zsupán; object descriptions: Edina Zsupán, Ferenc Földesi; English translation: Ágnes Latorre, Budapest: NSZL, 2018, p. 26

The data sheet below is partly based on: ZSUPÁN, Edina, “Beschreibung der Corvinen der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel”, in ZSUPÁN, Edina, Hrsg., unter Mitarbeit von HEITZMANN, Christian, Corvina Augusta. Die Handschriften des Königs Matthias Corvinus in der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Ex Bibliotheca Corviniana. Supplementum Corvinianum 3. (Budapest: Bibliotheca Nationalis Hungariae, 2004.), 27–121., 114–121.


Shelfmark: Cod. Guelf. 39. Aug. 4°
Country: Germany
City: Wolfenbüttel
Keeper location: Herzog August Bibliothek
Digitized corvina: at the keeper location
Content: Psalterium (Calendarium, Psalterium, Cantica, Te Deum, Litania, Orationes)
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: I + 224
Sheet size: 195 × 130 mm
Place of writing: Buda
Date of writing: 1479–1481
Scriptor: Gundisalvus Hispanus
Illuminator: Francesco Rosselli (1445–between 1508/1513) (decorated initial page, fol. 13. r.), Lombard miniaturist in Buda (historicizing initials at the beginning of the matutinums of the seven days of the week and at the beginning of the Sunday vespers psalms: fol. 43. r., fol. 59. v., fol. 76. v., fol. 94. r., fol. 115. v., fol. 135. v., fol. 155. v.)
Place of illumination: Buda
Date of illumination: 1479–1481 (Rosselli, fol. 13. r.), 1480s (Lombard miniaturist, fol. 43. r., fol. 59. v., fol. 76. v., fol. 94. r., fol. 115. v., fol. 135. v., fol. 155. v.)
Crest: the united coat-of-arms of Matthias Corvinus (King of Hungary 1458–1490, King of Bohemia 1469–1490) and queen consort Beatrix of Aragon (1457–1508)
Possessor, provenience: the manuscript was probably written in its entirety in Buda for Beatrix, queen consort; it was deposited in the library of Augustus II, Duke of Brunswick (d. 1635–1666) sometime between 1623 and 1627
Binding: partly the original leather binding, gauffered-gilded-painted edge
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: restored (1959)