of Metropolitan library are reaching into the 11th century, to the time
when Zagreb is becomnig a bishop town (1093/1094). In the time of the
first zagrebian bishop Duh, the first liturgy books were also obtained.
Some manuscripts from that period of time such as Evangeliarium,
Sacramentarium sanctae Margaretae, Agenda pontificalis
are kept in Metropolitan library today.
Gothic script, 14th century, France
CSA, Metropolitana library
Caroline, 11th century
CSA, Metropolitana library
This little group
of liturgy codexes is a foundation of today's Library. The oldest inventory
of the Zagrebian cathedral's treasury from 1349. testifies about the Metropolitan
as a library , there are 111 registered manuscripts in an index of books,
and 2 in an indeks of other liturgy subjects inside the trasury. Acording
to the inventory, the grounds of the library were juridical, biblical,
liturgical, filosophical and theological books. From codexes it's worth
to mention the Biblia sollemnis, Liber sententiarum, Passionale
and Benedictionale. During the time, Ivan Alben (1421 – 1433) perform
function as a bishop a new inventory was made , the last one that brings
such an indeks of books. Therefore it's very hard to keep track of the
condition in Library during over the next 250 years.
The Metropolitan library reaches the true renesance in the time of bishop
A. I. Mikulić (1688 – 1694), who builded the Library in 1692. and had
all the books from the cathedral transfered in it. He established a foundation
for it's work and bought of a very valuable book collection of known slovenian
polyhistor J.W. Valvasor (1641 – 1693).
S. Želiščević, an inheritor of A. J. Mikulić, published the first Constitutions
of the library in 1695., but great credits are due to two more bishops
for the advancement of the Metropolitan library. M. Vrhovac (1787 – 1827)
provided literature for Metropolitan library from different european states,
he listed books, enlarged the foundation for the functioning of the library,
and especially, took care of books being printed in Zagreb.
In 1846. bishop J. Haulik opened the Library to the zagrebian cultural
public, and he, himself, left a large number of books to the Library.
In the year 1914. a contract between the Archbishopric of Zagreb, Metropolitan
Chapter House (Kaptol) and Nacional and University Library was concluded
about temporarly storage of Metropolitan library in new building of Nacional
and University Library. The owner of the Metropolitan library continues
to be the Archbisopric of Zagreb. The contract about storaging with, today's
owner of the building, CSA, was concluded in 1996.
The Metropolitan library keeps books from, almost, every area of science
and culture. It possesses about 150 older manuscripts (11th -16th century),
amongst which are many richly illuminted and are world's rarities. Fifty
manuscripts from period of 17th till 19th century are included in rarities
of the Metropolitan library (label MR). This Library also keeps the biggest
collection of incunabulums in Croatia (252). It possesses around 300 «younger
manuscripts» (18th – 19th century), and especially valuable is collection
with nearly 1500 titles from the 16th century which, today, are counted
among rarities. From small but valuable atlas and geographical maps collection,
atlases from Ortelius and Janson stand out.
The Metropolitan library today, has around 60.000 volumes of books. Special
value represents, already mentioned, the Valvasor library, whose books
are from, almost, all scientific areas, mostly decorated with copperplates
of a familiar copperplate engraver M. Merian. During his lifetime J.W.
Valvasor gathered a valuable graphic collection with approximately 7.300
graphics and drawings created in period from 15th till 17th century.
He bought a smaller part as a collection from slovenian painter G. Wubitsch,
and a bigger part he collected on his journeys through Europe. At the
end of his lifetime, he sold the collection, through P. R. Vitezović,
to the Zagrebian bishop A. J. Mikulić.
All the significant graphic artists from 15th till 17th century like A.
Dürer, L. Cranach, M. Schöngauer, G. Penz, families Kilian, Sadeler and
Perelle are represented in the collection. The collection is thematically
diversified – except the religious themes, there are plenty of graphics
and drawings with themes from everyday life. Apart from artistic value,
this collection has a huge culturaly –historical significance as it is
the largest and the most significant collection of old graphics and drawings
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