The Gradual belongs to the group of codices that are called Corvinas by the experts although they have never been part of the collections of the royal library. They are liturgical manuscripts that served for performing the rites in a church or monastery, but as they were made upon the order of King Matthias or occasionally the royal couple, were representative pieces of the book culture of the court. The Matthias Gradual is the most richly decorated Corvina which was made for the chapel of the royal castle of Buda. Out of a choirbook series of three or four volumes, this is the only one that has been preserved; it contains the changing songs of the Holy Mass from Holy Saturday until the end of the ecclesiastical year. The miniature on the open page (March into the Promised Land) (See the digitized corvina!) and four smaller initials are the works of an Italian master of Lombardian style whose hand also appears in the psalter of Queen Beatrice. As this latter can be located to Buda, the master must have worked in Buda on the Gradual, too. The other 45 illuminated miniatures of the codex are entirely different: they were made by another anonymous master from the Low Countries. Previously, two theories had been formulated by the experts for the location of the manuscript’s production. The first presumes that it was made in the Low Countries and then given to the king as a present. However, its resemblance to the above-mentioned psalter, as well as the presence of the hand of the master from the Low Countries in an incunabulum illuminated in Klosterneuburg (Klosterneuburg, Augustiner-Chorherrenstift, Bibliothek, Cod. Typ. 814) prove that not only the Italian master but also this one worked for a certain period in Central Europe. Based upon other details, we can specify the place of his activity: it had to be the Buda of the early 1480s rather than the Vienna of the years after the Hungarian occupation (1485). (Ferenc Földesi. The entry written for the guide to the exhibition was made on the basis of Eszter Nagy’s description below: The CORVINA LIBRARY and the Buda Workshop. Exhibition Catalog. (Publication in progress.) Budapest: NSZL, 2019, Cat. A2)
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. 24
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Cod. Lat. 424.
Keeper location: National Széchényi Library
Writing medium: parchment (type differs from the Italian fine parchment)
Number of sheets: II + 201 + I* fol.
Sheet size: 503 × 370 mm
Place of writing: Probably Buda
Date of writing: ca. 1480
Scriptor: Certainly Italian, who was also involved in the creation of the choirbooks of the Bishop of Lodi, Carlo Pallavicino (ca. 1427–1497).
Illuminator: 1. Flemish master of the Graduale; 2. f. 1r, f. 7r Italian (Milan-based) master of the Graduale who is identical with the master of the internal initials of Beatrix Psalterium (Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. 39 Aug. 4o)
Place of illumination: Buda
Date of illumination: ca. 1480 (The Italian layer – ff. 1r, 7r – could has been made even in the late 1480s)
Possessor, provenience: King Matthias Hunyadi and Queen Beatrix; Imperial Court Library, Vienna; in line with the Venice Agreement (signed on November 27, 1932), it was returned to National Széchényi Library.
Binding: modern binding
Language of corvina: Latin
Hungarian translation(s) of work(s) included in the corvina: None