The Psalter (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 39 Aug. 4º) of Beatrice of Aragon, the wife of King Matthias Corvinus, often features in research literature on account of its title-page and ornate binding. The title-page (fol. 13r) was long attributed to Francesco del Cherico, but for some time now it has been ascribed to Francesco Rosselli and his collaborator, the Maestro dell'Iliade Medicea, while the binding is attributed – after Anthony Hobson – to Felice Feliciano. There are written documents to prove that both Francesco Rosselli and Felice Feliciano visited Hungary, both in the late 1470s, in1480 the latest. That Rosselli painted the Psalter title-page in Buda cannot be proven, although the arguments proposed by Edina Zsupán – the Hungarian saints in the calendar, the crudeness of the parchment – may suggest it. However, not only the title-page but six other pages of the Psalm-book are illumined (foll. 43r, 59v, 76v, 94r, 115v, 135v, 155v). These pages so far ignored by research literature are not Francesco Rosselli's works, being in completely different style. Their illuminator was presumably one of the North Italian masters who illumined for Hungarian clients several manuscripts in Buda around1480 and later, among whom only one is known by name(Franciscus Kastello Ithallico de Mediolano). He used cold, bright colours, the faces of the figures are markedly modelled, the drapery has a metallic hardness. One of the ruling motifs of the marginal decoration is the cornucopia. This hand cannot be identified at present in any manuscript whose provenience was Buda; its closest relative is a single Italian illumination in the Corvinus Gradual(National Széchényi Library, Cod. Lat. 424, fol. 7r). The master of the ornate binding of the Psalter – as Marianne Rozsondai has established – was the binder of the 14th century Bible kept in Erlangen (Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 6) which also features of portrait of King Matthias. Important roles are played on both bindings by the leather filigree arabesques and the embossed all'antica motifs. The hand of the master making the gilded Corvina bindings can also be discerned on the Bible binding. So it seems that these two luxurious manuscripts completed around 1480 had an important – maybe even model-giving – role in the history of the evolving royal library, the Bibliotheca Corvina.
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2020 Volume 69
Magyar Régészeti és Művészettörténeti Társulat
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