Hildegard von Bingen

German, 1098-1179

As an abbess and Christian mystic Hildegard held one of the few positions of power available to women in the Middle Ages. This enabled her to research natural history and oversee the production of several illuminated manuscripts. Her portrait materializes on the right side of the canvas and morphs into one of Hildegard’s visions, the wheel-like Cosmic Tree. This circle turns between the portrait of Hildegard and an image of her receiving inspiration from one of her first illuminated manuscripts, The Scivias (also known as Know the Ways of the Lord). Here we see Hildegard with the monk Volmar, her mentor and promoter, and she is portrayed as a vessel into which inspiration pours.

Original Works Referenced

Scivias
f. 1 r
1142-52

Cultivating the Cosmic Tree
Liber Divinorum Operum
1163-1173