Friday, 4 May 2007

Matthias Corvinus Library

The Library of Mathias Corvino, King of Hungary (1443-1490)

Matthias Corvino (1443-1490), crowned King of Hungary in 1458 upon the death of Ladislaus V and in 1469 king of Bohemia and ruler of Moravia, Silesia and Lusatia. Second son of the legendary Hungarian national hero János Hunyadi (c.1385-1456), leader of the resistance against the Turks, regent of Hungary after the disastrous Battle of Varna, and the victor of the Turks at the battle of Belgrade in 1458, which postponed the Turkish menace over central Europe for seven decades.
Apart from his military successes and conquests, Matthias formed one of the best Humanist Libraries of XVth. Century Europe, second only in number of volumes, to the Vatican Library. Many reputed scholars were called to Buda from Naples, Florence and other Italian cities.
His second marriage, in 1476, to Princess Beatrice of Aragon (1457-1508) daughter of Ferdinand King of Naples, who also had an important library, was a landmark in the development of the king’s library. She was to marry secondly, Wladyslaw / Ulaszlo II (b.1456), who succeeded as king of Hungary (1490-1516).
For a detailed account of the origins and development of this fabulous library see, the
Bibliotheca Corviniana Digitalis Website (in Hungarian and Italian) – an ambitious international project aiming to digitally rebuilt the former King Mathias Corvino Library.
For a scholarly analysis on the history of the Bibliotheca Corviniana see also, Csaba Csapodi’s paper at:
Bibliotheca Corviniana: The library of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, Shannon: Irish University Press (1969)
In 2002-2003 a major exhibition took place at the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, at Modena, Italy, with a catalogue that includes important papers on the subject, see,
NEL SEGNO DEL CORVO, libri e miniature della biblioteca di Mattia Corvino re d’Ungheria (1443-1490), Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitária, 15 novembre 2002 - 15 febbraio 2003, Modena, Il Bulino edizioni d’arte, 2002 (in .pdf).

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