Newest Doctor of the Church

Vanessa Redgrave St. Hildegard of Bingen!

  • Nathaniel M. Campbell

    That is a particularly terrible portrait, isn’t it? Why it is that we don’t default to using the portrait of Hildegard in the Rupertsberg manuscript of the Scivias–a manuscript that she most likely helped to design–is beyond me. You can see that image here.

    • Bob

      Umm… Perhaps this might be better?

      • Nathaniel M. Campbell

        The image you linked to is from the Lucca manuscript of the Liber Divinorum Operum. While some scholars (e.g. Madeline Caviness) have suggested that the Lucca manuscript might be based on designs made by Hildegard, the manuscript itself dates from early 12th century, several decades after Hildegard’s death.

        The Rupertsberg manuscript is the only illustrated manuscript of Hildegard’s works that was produced during her lifetime, and as I said, the images were probably designed under her direction. If you were going to choose a picture of Albrecht Dürer, would you use one of his famous self-portraits or a portrait produced by another artist decades after his death?

  • Jim PV

    Assuming that this was a portrait St. Hildegard sat for (i.e., it’s what she actually looked like), I *like* this portrait – a lot. I can see her as a real living, breathing person from this. The one you linked to, Nathaniel, is so iconographic (emphasis on “icon”) it just says “old, religious person” to me.

    • Jon W

      To me it says “old, religious person attacked by a squid.”

      I’m with you, Jim PV. I like the Vanessa Redgrave portrait. And I highly doubt either of them bear much naturalistic resemblance to the actual Hildegard.

      • Nathaniel M. Campbell

        The “squid” is the fire of the Holy Spirit infusing Hildegard with inspiration and grace.

  • Edgewise

    And she created her own alphabet/language too! (Although–IIRC–she claimed it came from angels, or somethin’….)

  • Steven P

    The portrait was lifted directly from a production of A Man for All Seasons that starred Ms. Redgrave as Lady Alice along with Charlton Heston and Sir John Gielgud. It appears on Amazon:

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    While I’m not sure St. Hildegard wasn’t something of a nut (as in her silly design of an arcane nomenclature, though maybe she did it just as a hobby), I’ve been gratified, since I first heard of her from Jacques Maritain’s citation (in note 2 to Chap. XIII) in his book On the Church of Christ, that in a century that was tending more and more to execute or otherwise kill heretics, she wrote, “Drive the heretics out of the Church: but do not kill them at all; for they are made as we are [*or* "as you are"] in the image of God.”