Initial H: Saint Stephen

Object Details


Initial H: Saint Stephen


Circle of the Master of the Golden Bull (Bohemian, active about 1400 - 1405)




Prague, Bohemia (Place created)


about 1405


Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment


Leaf: 56.5 x 39.7 cm (22 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.)

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This initial H features Saint Stephen, dressed as a church deacon, holding and contemplating the stones with which he was martyred. Golden birds writhe in the background behind Stephen, echoing the saint's gently swaying posture, as well as the leafy foliage sprouting from the corners of the initial. The text that the letter introduces, Hesterna die dominus natus(Yesterday the Lord was born) is the chant sung on the feast day of Saint Stephen on December 26, the day after Christmas.

Related Works
Prague, The Crown of Bohemia (1347-1437) (September 19, 2005 to May 21, 2006) (116.c)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), September 19, 2005 to January 3, 2006
Rare Finds: Ten Years of Collecting Manuscripts (February 12 to April 20, 2008) (116.c)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 12 to April 20, 2008
German and Central European Manuscript Illumination (February 24 to May 24, 2009) (116.c)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 24 to May 24, 2009