ST. HILDEGARD of BINGEN
DRAWING by DANIEL MITSUI
St. Hildegard of Bingen was one of the outstanding intellectual, spiritual, and creative personalities of the Middle Ages. Born near the very end of the eleventh century, she was from childhood frail and sickly, yet gifted with extraordinary spiritual vision and supersensitivity. She saw the world illuminated by a supernatural brightness, at all times and with no impairment to her natural senses. She described it as a light far brighter than a lucent cloud through which the sun shines, the reflection of the Living Light that is God.
Entrusted at a young age to the monastery at Disibodenberg, she rose to the rank of magistra and later founded monasteries at Rupertsberg and Eibingen, over which she presided as abbess.
She recorded her mystical experiences in three books: Scivias, Liber Vitæ Meritorum, and Liber Divinorum Operum. A polymath, she wrote extensively on medicine; invented her own language and alphabet as a spiritual exercise; and composed poetry and music for liturgical antiphons, proses, and hymns. Her mystery play Ordo Virtutum is the oldest known dramatic work with surviving music.
Hildegard’s theology of beauty, best expressed in her epistle on music to the prelates of Mainz, has profoundly influenced my artwork. She proposed that delight in beauty is essentially a longing for the dimly remembered experience of Eden.
Here, I drew the saint wearing a golden crown adorned with an Agnus Dei and three crosses; rings; and a white veil. These items were worn on feast days by the sisters at Rupertsberg, a realization of one of Hildegard’s visions recorded in Scivias.
I drew her wearing a green habit; this refers to the concept of viriditas, a spiritual greenness that she constantly evoked in both her theological and scientific writings.
The inscription in my drawing includes several words in her invented language (lingua ignota): it reads Ziuienz Hildegardis Vrizoil Falschin, or Saint Hildegard, Virgin and Seer.
Medium: Drawing, color ink on goatskin parchment
Dimensions: 5 1/3" × 12 1/2"
The original drawing was made on private commission.
An open-edition giclée print of this drawing is available for $63. You may use the button below to pay via PayPal, debit card or credit card. Be sure to confirm the shipping address.
See this page for additional ordering instructions and general information. If you want to pay via a check or money order, please e-mail me at danielmitsuiartist at gmail dot com.