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The Hval Manuscript

Written 10.04.2010. 13:37
The Hval Manuscript

Hval's codex, a handwriting from the beginning of the 15th century. It was written on 353 papers of parchment by "bosancica" (Bosnian or Croat Cyrillic script) with Glagolitic introduction: "Hval Krstyanin/Bosnian Christian", "in honour of praised sir Hrvoje, duke of Split and the knight of Lower Country and others." The codex is one of the most famous manuscripts belonging to the Bosnian Church in which there are even iconographic elements which are not in concordance with the supposed theological doctrine of Bosnian Christians ( Annunciation, Crucifixion and Ascension); found in the University library in Bologna ( MS 3575,B). It is decorated with miniatures, initials, ornaments and individual figures and compositions. It was considered for a long time that miniatures were made by Hval who says for himself: "I am writing this in gold and ink." New analyses of style and painting techniques show that they were inscribed by two miniaturists.


One painter is painting on the blue background; figures are expressively plastic with black contours, situated in rectangular frame; thick colour is partly restored by gold. He was influenced by Gothic painting on the wood. To him are assigned miniatures as : Apostle\'s procession with Christ Crucifixion, Holy Mary on the throne, the Ascension, Stoning of Archdeacon Stephen, King David and Moses.

The other painter paints on the gold background and miniatures are situated in a rich architectonic frame. His drawing is more beautiful and colours are lighter, the quality of his work higher than his assistant\'s on the codex. He is assigned as the author of : Annunciation, Evangelists (except John), Christ is giving blessing to his Apostles, initials with people\'s figures and some others decorations.

These miniatures belong , according to their iconographic and artistic values, to the Gothic art emanating from the circle of Dalmatian painters in the 15th century. Probably they were made by native painters. This is confirmed by the fact that some figures and decorations are found in the Glagolitic Hrvoje\'s Missal (between 1403. and 1404.).

Miniatures from Hval's codex

Hval 1Hval 2

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