On the chronologising possibilities of a woodcut depicting St. George in Polish Hortulus books from the first half of the 16th century
The present article is an attempt to date the Polish edition of the Hortulus animae prayer book, printed at the Kraków printing house of Maciej Szarfenberg (1527-1546), two fragments of which are now held at the Jagiellonian Library. The studies of this rare publication have led so far to several very different suggestions as to its chronology, with 1527 given as terminus post quem and 1540s given as terminus ante quem. Significantly, previous dating attempts have been based mainly on historical evidence (1537 as the date on which Szarfenberg was granted the royal privilege to print the Polish Hortulus books), typographic evidence (analyses of the typeface used in the prayer book) or on – not very convincing – conservation evidence (traces of woodworm seen in one of the fragments). However, so far scholars have failed to notice and thus use the chronologising possibilities of one woodcut illustration from the surviving fragment. Its analysis, presented in this article, is to indicate and use these possibilities to make the current dating of the Szarfenberg edition of Horhulus more precise.