The Illumination of the Worms Mahzor: Description and Iconographical Study
Bezalel Narkiss and Aliza Cohen-Mushlin
Mahzor Worms, edited by Malachi Beit-Arie (Vaduz, 1985)
The Illuminator of the Worms Mahzor worked in close collaboration with Simhah bar Judah, the scribe who copied it and left spaces in traditional places for the artist’s work. From an examination of the programme for the decoration, the lay-out of the pages and the relationship between text and
illustrations, it is obvious that the scribe was responsible, as was usual during the Middle Ages, for the production of the entire manuscript. The artist had to comply with this programme, but was left the choice of models, as well as freedom to use his imagination and his personal style. The decoration pro- gramme for large prayer books of this type was already well developed by 1272, when the Worms Mahzor was produced. Some earlier mahzorim have similar decoration programmes and have the same texts illustrated with similar subjects. These illustrations have been studied in part, some including the illustrations of the Worms Mahzor.