Similarly to the contemporaneous collections of Italian rulers, there were only few printed volumes in the Corvina Library. It was probably the requirements of royal splendor that prevented the collectors from choosing the first modest books printed on paper often in a poor aesthetical quality instead of the highly valued manuscripts. The Aristotle Corvina, however, evokes the world of decorated codices. Beside the renowned author, the size and the extents, also the parchment made the volume worthy of rich illumination.
In terms of decoration, the volume is classified into the Cassianus group. As obviously reflected by the ornamental elements, the work began upon the order of King Matthias and was completed under the reign of Vladislaus II. King Matthias’s sigla M[atthias] is well discernible underneath the W of the sigla W[ladislaus] R[ex] next to the coat of arms.
In the purple-colored upper column of the text within the border decoration, there is a brief title and a dedication to Vladislaus II. The grammar of the text, with a wrong usage of Latin, is surprising. The two-line dedication, including misspellings and grammatical errors would read as follows: “for the divine Ulalo, from the king of Hungaary and Boheemia”. In the first lines of the title, Italian and Latin words are mingled: “New translations [in Italian] of the books on Metaphysics [in Latin]”. The phenomenon is the same as in the Corvina bindings: the craftsmen’s knowledge of Classical languages left a lot to be desired. (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.108
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Vélins 474-478
Keeper location: Bibliothèque Nationale
Digitized corvina: Vélins 474, Vélins 475, Vélins 476, Vélins 477, Vélins 478