Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts and Incunabula of the Upper Austrian State Library in Linz

Project lead: Katharina Hranitzky

Co-worker: Michaela Schuller-Juckes


The aim of the present project is to draw up a catalogue of the illuminated late gothic manuscripts and theilluminated incunabula kept at the Upper Austrian State Library in Linz, which is constituted mainly of the librariesof secularized Upper Austrian monasteries. In the planned catalogue the main emphasis will be put on thedescription and the art-historical analysis of the decoration, but the non decorated items, especially the manuscripts,will also be taken into consideration in order to draw a more precise image of the book-production in eachmonastery. The only existing descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts of the Upper Austrian State Library, drawnup in 1935 by Konrad Schiffmann, was never published and does naturally not meet the requirements of a moderncatalogue following generally recognized international guidelines.Of the incunabula no descriptive inventory existsat all. On the one hand, a catalogue of the Linz holdings will be of great practical use to the library itself, for whicha renewed interest is to be expected.

On the other hand, the planned project is scientifically of great relevanceinasmuch as it will continue the large-scale under-taking concerned with the description and publishing of theilluminated holdings in Austria-Hungary which was called into life at the beginning of the 20th century byHermann J. Hermann and resumed in 1974, when Otto Pächt began cataloguing those of the illuminated stocks ofthe Austrian National Library which had not yet been described. While in the "Katalog der illuminiertenHandschriften und Inkunabeln der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek" research on the manuscripts of the MiddleEuropean Schools has meanwhile, under the supervision of Gerhard Schmidt, advanced to the middle of the 15thcentury, a similar project concerned with the cataloguing of the late gothic illuminated manuscripts of theUniversity Library at Graz was begun in 2001. It seems coherent, from a scientific point of view, to treat theilluminated manuscripts and incunabula from the 15th and the 16th centuries in Linz in parallel with the holdings ofthe same period in Vienna and Graz.

Methodologically, the planned project will follow the current undertakings.Indeed, an intensive scientific cooperation is planned with all the current projects concerned with the cataloguing ofmanuscripts kept or made in Austria as well as with other analogous projects. In a general way, the result of theplanned research will provide additional material for comparison and other valuable information for all scholarswho deal with mediaeval art history, history, philology, codicology, palaeography, bookbinding or watermarks.