CIRCLE OF THE PRAGUE HEXAMERON WORKSHOP
Circumcision of Christ, initial ‘Q’ from a Choir Book (112 x 114 mm.)
Bohemia, probably Prague, c. 1400-1420
This colorful initial depicts the Circumcision of Christ, with Mary holding the baby Jesus on a golden altar and with Joseph grasping a blade (as mohel), with two other figures standing behind, all set within the apse of small chapel. The initial, most likely a ‘Q’ (but possibly ‘O’ or ‘D’), is decorated with leafy acanthus in shades of green and set in a square border with gold ground. Taken from a choir book illuminated around 1400 to 1420, this miniature can be attributed to the circle of the Prague Hexameron workshop, named for a copy of Ambrose’s Hexameron from 1420 in the cathedral library of St. Vitus in Prague (A 131). However, the style and heavily modeled drapery of the present miniature suggest it is more likely from a choir book illuminated in Prague in the decades before 1420.