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Chapter 12 - Picturing Hildegard of Bingen’s Sight: Illuminating Her Visions

from Part III - Music, Manuscripts, Illuminations, and Scribes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2021

Jennifer Bain
Affiliation:
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia
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Summary

This chapter explores the development and purpose of the illustrations in two manuscripts of Hildegard of Bingen’s works: one designed by Hildegard (the Rupertsberg Scivias), the other designed by a later generation of her monastery’s nuns (the Lucca Liber divinorum operum). An overview of her visionary experiences demonstrates the prophetic mission of their detailed images to communicate theological truths. The author argues that Hildegard designed the Scivias images to aid that communication and provide visual exegesis of her visions, serving as a teaching tool to guide the reader through the manuscript. The next generation of nuns followed Hildegard’s impulse to illustrate her visions with the later Liber divinorum operum manuscript, but its famous cosmological diagram diverges from the text because the designer did not understand its meaning. The chapter closes with an assessment of the very limited influence of Hildegard’s illustrations in the later Middle Ages, with one story from the preaching of Johannes Tauler demonstrating their liability to reinterpretation.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Primary Sources

Hildegard of Bingen. The Book of Divine Works, trans. Campbell, Nathaniel M.. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2018.Google Scholar
Hildegard of Bingen Liber divinorum operum, ed. Derolez, Albert and Dronke, Peter. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 92. Turnhout: Brepols, 1996.Google Scholar
Hildegard of Bingen Scivias., ed. Führkötter, Adelgundis and Carlevaris, Angela. 2 vols. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 43 and 43A. Turnhout: Brepols, 1978.Google Scholar
Hildegard of Bingen Scivias, trans. Hart, Mother Columba and Bishop, Jane. New York: Paulist Press, 1990.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

Black-and-white photographs of the original, Wiesbaden, Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek RheinMain, MS 1: www.kulturelles-erbe-koeln.de/documents/obj/00043147Google Scholar
Modern facsimile of the Rupertsberg manuscript at the Abbey of St. Hildegard, Eibingen, Germany: www.abtei-st-hildegard.de/die-scivias-miniaturen/Google Scholar
Salem Codex (Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, cod. Salem X, 16): http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/salX16Google Scholar
Biblioteca Statale di Lucca, MS 1942, fully digitized: www.wdl.org/en/item/21658/Google Scholar
Lucca illustrations, together with an English translation of the capitula (chapter summaries): www.hildegard-society.org/p/liber-divinorum-operum.htmlGoogle Scholar
Biblioteca Statale di Lucca, MS 1942, fully digitized: www.wdl.org/en/item/21658/Google Scholar
Lucca illustrations, together with an English translation of the capitula (chapter summaries): www.hildegard-society.org/p/liber-divinorum-operum.htmlGoogle Scholar
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Caviness, Madeline H.Gender Symbolism and Text Image Relationships: Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias.” In Beer, Jeanette, ed., Translation Theory and Practice in the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997, 71111.Google Scholar
Caviness, Madeline H.Hildegard As Designer of the Illustrations to Her Works.” In Burnett, Charles and Dronke, Peter, eds., Hildegard of Bingen: The Context of Her Thought and Art. London: The Warburg Institute, 1998, 2962.Google Scholar
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Hamburger, Jeffrey F. and Bouché, Anne-Marie, eds. The Mind’s Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.Google Scholar
Salvadori, Sara. Hildegard von Bingen: A Journey into the Images, trans. Cree, Sarah Elizabeth and White, Susan Ann. Milan: Skira, 2019.Google Scholar
Biblioteca Statale di Lucca, MS 1942, fully digitized: www.wdl.org/en/item/21658/Google Scholar
Lucca illustrations, together with an English translation of the capitula (chapter summaries): www.hildegard-society.org/p/liber-divinorum-operum.htmlGoogle Scholar

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