Kutna Hora’s Gradual - Vienna
The gradual originated in the workshop of illuminator Matouš as well as Smisek’s Gradual. It was made around the year 1490 probably a bit earlier or partly contemporaneously with it. It represents a new generation of excellent book illuminations of the late Gothic. There is an apparent connection to Kutna Hora’s Antifonary of Valentine, from which he copied the medallions, for exemple. Besides Valentine, one of Valentine’s apprentices has probably participated in the work. Artistic aspects of this gradual have been subjected to in-depth examination [11, 19, 20, 21]. The source represents a unique collection of mining iconography.
It is an Utraquist gradual. The hint of it can be found in the depiction of the evangelists standing around a chalice with the inscription „hoc facite in meam memoriam“ (This do in remembrance of me). There are theories, that it was ordered as a gift for king Władysław Jagiełło . (Tha gradual finds 2 monograms with a W and a smaller L across it, which suggests that it might have been dedicated to Władysław Jagiełło. However, the king had not bee born before 1506, long after the completion of the gradual . There is no reason for adding the initials later .) Others assume that the gradual was ordered by a community of miners for St. James‘ Church. This assumption is supported by depiction of the church in the initial on folio 116b. In that time it was the cathedral church of the Utraquist church (the bishop resided here) and the gradual may have been designed for the episcopal service .
Polyphonic compositions are only represented by two songs: „Patrem“ (Credo) in black mensural notation on four lines. These compositions used to be very widespread in different variations in that time. The other composition has a character of a two-voice motet.