This manuscript belongs to the group of Corvinas that had been decorated much earlier with white vine usually in Florence. The royal coat of arms was added later, in the last decade of King Matthias’s reign, during the conscious library enhancement. The artist who added the coat of arms to the Plautus Corvina was the “Second Heraldic Painter”. The items of this group entered the royal library either as new acquisitions from Italian book trade, or from the collections of previous Hungarian and foreign owners.
The Plautus Corvina in the first half of the 15th century was owned by the erudite humanist and Florentine government official Gianozzo Manetti whose coat of arms would later be painted over with King Matthias’s. The original coat of arms helps to date the manuscript as it was produced before Manetti’s death in 1459. And considering that in 1454‒5, Manetti departed permanently from Florence to Naples in a period when the political relations between the two towns were tense, the Florentine decoration of the codex must have been made before 1454.
Johannes Vitez’s autograph notes in the codex suggest that he was the last owner before the volume entered the royal library. This manuscript is one of the four Corvinas returned to Hungary in 1869 as a donation by Sultan Abdul Aziz (also Georgius Trapezuntius: Rhetorics, Saint Augustine: City of God, Polybius: History of Rome). (Ferenc Földesi)
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. 156
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Cod. Lat. 241.
Keeper location: National Széchényi Library
Content: Comoediae, quae supersunt, cum prologis et argumentis
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: 281 fol.
Sheet size: 337 × 228 mm
Place of writing: Florence
Date of writing: before 1459
Place of illumination: Florence
Date of illumination: before 1459
Crest: King Matthias' Hungarian and Bohemian royal coat-of-arms; "second" heraldic painter, Buda, late 1480s
Possessor, provenience: Gianozzo Manetti (####‒1459)
Binding: original (purple) velvet corvina binding; painted-gilded edge, made in Buda (probably in the late 1480s)
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: Restored: NSZL Emese Turi-Tugonyi, 1989
Hungarian translation(s) of work(s) included in the corvina: Titus Maccius Plautus vígjátékai / [fordította Devecseri Gábor] ; [... Devecseri Gábor kéziratából sajtó alá rendezte ... Szilágyi János György]; [Budapest] : M. Helikon : Európa, 1977 (Budapest : Kossuth Ny.)