The Chronicon Pictum (Latin for illustrated chronicle, English: Illuminated Chronicle or Vienna Illuminated Chronicle, Hungarian: Képes Krónika also referred to as Chronica Hungarorum, Chronicon (Hungariae) Pictum, Chronica Picta or Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum) is a medieval illustrated chronicle from the Kingdom of Hungary from the second half of fourteenth century. It represents the international artistic style of the royal courts in the court of Louis I of Hungary.
Its full name is: Chronicon pictum, Marci de Kalt, Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, that is Illustrated Chronicle, Mark of Kalt's Chronicle About the Deeds of the Hungarians.
History of the chronicle
The chronicle was written by Márk Kálti (lat. Marci de Kalt) shortly after the year 1358, with the last of the illuminations being finished between 1370 and 1373. The chronicle was given by the Hungarian king Louis I to the French king Charles V, when the daughter of Louis, Catherine, was engaged to Charles's son Louis I, Duke of Orléans.
The chronicle reappears in the first half of the 17th century in royal archives of Vienna by unknown means, which is why it is also referred as the Vienna Illuminated Chronicle. The manuscript is now kept in the National Széchényi Library in Budapest (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest).
The 147 pictures of the chronicle are great sources of information on medieval Hungarian cultural history, costume, and court life in the 14th century. Many miniatures seen inside this chronicle are painted with gold. The artistic value of the miniatures are quite high, if we compare similar miniatures from other parts of Western Europe from the same time. The characters are drawn with detail and with knowledge of anatomy; for example, even the eyeballs are painted, a fact which can only be ascertained by using a microscope on the miniature.
All miniatures showing Attila the Hun are disrupted or even rubbed out (especially the last miniature depicting Attila's death); this cannot be due to the time as all other miniatures and text are preserved well. The miniatures make use of symbolism, i.e. "primus ingressus" ('first incoming') is with a camel, while the "secundus ingressus" ('second incoming') is with a white horse, probably meaning that entering the Carpathian Basin the first time was not a successful or was a culturally diverted act (as the camel is a "diverted" horse and white horse is the "pure quality"). The text of Latin is without error and is representing a high quality.
- Pražák, Nechutová, Bartoňková (1988). Legendy a kroniky koruny Uherské (Legends and chronicles of Hungarian crown). Prague: Nakladatelství Vyšehrad. pp. 340–346.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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- A digitized version of the Chronicon itself at the Wayback Machine (archived March 4, 2012)
- Podhradczky József (1838) . Chronicon Budense (in Latin). Buda. – A more readable Latin text, with notes in Latin
- Geréb László (1993). Képes Krónika (in Hungarian). Magyar Hírlap and Maecenas. ISBN 963 8164 07 7. – Hungarian translation at the Hungarian Electronic Library