Hildegard meets the AntiChrist!

Jessica will be our guide in this reading, one that questions the disparity between the revolutionary visual manifestation of Hildegard’s Apocalyptic vision of the Antichrist and her more traditional explanation of that vision. Here are a few questions to begin the discussion.
1. How does the author interpret Hildegard’s visionary experience? Does he find textual evidence to privilege the visual over the textual in his interpretation?
2. In Hildegard’s vision of the Last Days, what are the “traditional” symbols? What parts of the vision are peculiar to Hildegard’s vision?
3. What are the implications of the inclusion of corruption within the image of Ecclesia? Was Hildegard the bad girl of the 12thc.? How does her Ecclesia differ from Herrad’s image in the Hortus D.?
4. Why was Simon Magus compared to the Antichrist?
5. What is simony?
6. Why are the explanations for this vision so “according to the book” in Emmerson’s view?
7. How do the presence of Enoch and Elijah alter the impression of the Salem Scivias vis a vis the Rupertsberg manuscript? Which one would have been preferred by the Church?
8. How do you interpret the relationship between Hildegard and Volmar?
9. How do we in the last analysis assess Hildegard’s Apocalyptic vision of the Last Days?

Here are Jessica’s questions!

1.This article deals with the complex relationship between image and word. Do you see this as a recurring theme in any other women artists’ works?

2.Katherine Kerby-Fulton calls Hildegard a “ spiritual meliorist,” McGinn labels it “essentially conservative and pessimistic,” and Emmerson thinks she’s somewhere in between. What do you think?

3.We have heard/seen a lot about Hildegard in this class. What do you think her significance is in art herstory?


3 responses

  1. 4)Because the legend of Antichrist was developed with the influence of heretic figures like Simon Magnus. According to the legend Magnus tried to fly up to heaven but then he was cursed by Peter and died. Similar to this story they believed that Antichrist will imitate Christ’s life and will attempt to rise up to heaven, then will be destroyed by Michael.
    5) If I didn’t get it wrong simony is using money to gain spiritual authority.

  2. 1) The author seems to priveldge the visual based on the role Volmar may have had in the transcription of the visions. 2) The traditinal aspects of Hildegard’s apocolyptic vision are the geographic directions and the five beasts, which would have been/are associated with evil and apocolypticism in the Bible. The beast recall the four horsemen of the apocolyse from the Revelation of John, but her selection of beasts is unususal.

  3. I think Hildegard matters a lot in the traditional “cannon” of art history as well as art “herstory” She was an influential woman who was highly accomplished in her time. Though one reason I think there is a lot of focus on her is because there is a lot of available information about her, which one can study to get a better picture of life for women, and nuns in the Middle Ages. It was also a time when anonymity was the norm for artists both male and female.However, she is included in the art history “cannon” often as sort of the stand out female that is mentioned as the representative for women in Medieval art, like the token female mentioned in that chapter. Instead of further examining women artists, or the female artistic environment in greater detail, one focuses on the great women, who are like the exception to the rule that only male artists matter. As the discipline of art history evolves, hopefully there will be greater discussion of women in this world, prominent or not.

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