A Mátyás Graduálé
The Gradual of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

National Széchényi Library, Budapest, Hungary. Cod. Lat. 424
The Gradual (Latin: graduale or responsorium graduale) is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations.

Folio 3r, The scene of the Resurrection,
with sleeping guards


Click for a higher quality image (3.4 MB).



National Széchényi Library, Budapest

1480-1488. Probably made in Buda. Parchment.
The most richly illuminated manuscript in the Corvina collection is the second volume of a gradual containing the changing plainsong of the mass, probably used in the royal chapel. Besides the title-page, it was decorated with 46 large figural and numerous smaller initials. Some of the initials illustrate the passage of the Bible on which the liturgy is based, while others show scenes of secular life. Symbolical and emblematic images can also be found.
The initial on the title-page shows the resurrection of Christ with the biblical scenes following the resurrection in the background. At the bottom of the frame enlivened with figures, are the arms of Matthias and Beatrix. In the four corners are Old Testament prefigurations of the resurrection and in the field on the right there is a mediaeval symbol of Christ, a lion breathing life into its cubs. Differing opinions have been formed on the origin of the codex and the artists.
Bibliotheca Corviniana Digitalis Cod. Lat. 424



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