|Frontispiece of the Didymus Corvina|
(New York, Pierpont Morgan Library)
In 2005, the Bibliotheca Corviniana was added to the list of the UNESCO Memory of the World heritage. Perhaps not coincidentally, there has been a renewed interest in the library during the last decade, resulting in a number of exhibitions as well as popular and scholarly publications. These include among other the following:
- The exhibition
- The exhibition and publication of the 8 Corvinian manuscripts held at the Bayerische Staatsblibliothek in Munich (Ex Bibliotheca Corviniana. Die acht Münchener Handschriften aus dem Besitz von König Matthias Corvinus. Hrsg. von Claudia Fabian und Edina Zsupán. Budapest, Bibliotheca Nationalis Hungariae, BSB, UIM, 2008. (Bavarica et Hungarica 1–Supplementum Corvinianum 1, available in a PDF format).
- (Matthias Corvin, les bibliothèques princières et la genèse de l'État moderne / publiè par Jean-François Maillard, István Monok, Donatella Nebbiai. Budapest: OSZK, 2009 («Supplementum Corvinianum», 2). Available in a PDF format.)
- An exhibition and its catalogue dedicated to the court Matthias: Matthias Corvinus, the king: tradition and renewal in the Hungarian royal court, 1458-1490. Budapest History Museum, 2008 [ed. Péter Farbaky et al.]
- A couple of studies on the library: Katharina Rogowski: "Matthias Corvinus und die Bibliotheca Corviniana," in Concilium medii aevi 12 (2009) - Read the pdf; and Zita Agota Pataki: "Rex doctus - rex augustus. Herrscherbild und Herrscherreprasentation am Hof des Konigs Matthias Corvinus" in Ars (41), 2008/1, 29-54.
- An accessible overview of the library and the fate of the books after the death of Matthias, provided in the new book by Marcus Tanner: The Raven King. Matthias Corvinus and the Fate of His Lost Library. Yale University Press, 2008.
An ambitious project aimed at the virtual reconstruction of the library has been started by the Széchényi National Library (Budapest). The Digital Corvina Library aims to gather all information and digital facsimiles of all of the surviving volumes from the library of King Matthias. So far the site is only in Hungarian, with some content in Italian, but clicking on "Corvinák" on the menu on the main page will take you to digital facsimiles of a number of manuscripts. The site also includes a number of full-text publications, in PDF format (click on "Tanulmányok" - several of them are in Italian, English or German). Unfortunately, the site apparently has not been updated in several years. It now includes the digital facsimiles of all 36 Corvinian manuscripts held at the National Library, and also includes a link to the digital edition of Ludovicus Carbo's dialogue on the deeds of King Matthias (Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) - a wonderful and multi-lingual edition.
However, the database does not refer to a number of freely available digital facsimiles of Corvinian manuscripts. Of these, first the volumes held in German libraries must be mentioned. All 9 Corvinian manuscripts held at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel have been digitised. Similarly, 8 volumes at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich are available online. There are also two volumes in Dresden, both in need of restoration, and therefore not fully digitized (see this PDF brochure). Some volumes in American collections are also available online, such as the Yale Tacitus (Tacitus: Annalium libri XI-XVII; New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms 145). Another beautiful manuscript which can be studied online is the beautiful Missal of King Matthias at the Royal Library Albert I in Brussels. The library also provides some literature on the manuscript.
Hopefully, the BCD project will continue in the near future.