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Document Type

Article

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

This paper compares the illuminations in two medieval apocalypses, the Cloisters Apocalypse and Hildegard von Bingen’s Scivias, to inspect their similar constructions of female sexuality, motherhood, and monstrosity. It first analyzes the monstrosity of female sexual organs found in Hildegard’s portrayal of the Church and the Mother of the Antichrist. The paper then goes on to consider the uncanny slippage between images of birth and death in the Cloisters’s depiction of John and the Woman of Revelation 12. Ultimately, the paper not only explores the monstrosity of female bodies in apocalyptic manuscripts, but also concludes that medieval women’s circular experience of time and memory corresponds with medieval conceptions of circular apocalyptic time, thereby making women’s bodies an apt metaphorical vehicle for apocalyptic narratives.

Keywords

apocalypse, women, hildegard, bingen, scivias, cloisters, monster, monstrosity, time, sexuality, birth

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McKellips_Figure1.jpg (3968 kB)
Figure 1: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book One, Vision One

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Figure 2: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book Three, Vision Eleven

McKellips_Figure3.jpg (3839 kB)
Figure 3: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book Two, Vision Three

McKellips_Figure4.jpg (425 kB)
Figure 4: Close-Up of Figure 3; The Church Balances on her Womb

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Figure 5: Close-Up of Figure 3; The Woman Purifies Souls

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Figure 6: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 20r.

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Figure 7: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 180, p. 43

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Figure 8: London, Lambeth Palace Library, Ms. 209, f. 15r.

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Figure 9: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 1v.

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Figure 10: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 27v.

McKellips_Figure11.jpg (941 kB)
Figure 11: London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 209 f.23v

McKellips_Figure12.jpg (76 kB)
Figure 12: London, British Library, Royal 2B VII, f. 22. v.

McKellips_Figure13.jpg (1068 kB)
Figure 13: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 21r.

McKellips_Figure14.jpg (1358 kB)
Figure 14: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 3r.

McKellips_Figure15.jpg (1307 kB)
Figure 15: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f.16v.

Additional Files

BodleianPermissions.pdf (181 kB)
Bodleian Library Image Permissions

BritishLibraryPermissions.pdf (138 kB)
British Library Image Permissions

LambethPermissions.pdf (145 kB)
Lambeth Library Image Permissions

MetMuseumPermissions.pdf (146 kB)
Met Museum of Art Image Permissions

SciviasPermissions.pdf (142 kB)
Benediktinerabtei St. Hildegard Image Permissions

McKellips_Figure1.jpg (3968 kB)
Figure 1: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book One, Vision One

McKellips_Figure2.jpg (3742 kB)
Figure 2: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book Three, Vision Eleven

McKellips_Figure3.jpg (3839 kB)
Figure 3: Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Book Two, Vision Three

McKellips_Figure4.jpg (425 kB)
Figure 4: Close-Up of Figure 3; The Church Balances on her Womb

McKellips_Figure5.jpg (355 kB)
Figure 5: Close-Up of Figure 3; The Woman Purifies Souls

McKellips_Figure6.jpg (480 kB)
Figure 6: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 20r.

McKellips_Figure7.jpg (213 kB)
Figure 7: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 180, p. 43

McKellips_Figure8.jpg (1038 kB)
Figure 8: London, Lambeth Palace Library, Ms. 209, f. 15r.

McKellips_Figure9.jpg (791 kB)
Figure 9: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 1v.

McKellips_Figure10.jpg (1021 kB)
Figure 10: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 27v.

McKellips_Figure11.jpg (941 kB)
Figure 11: London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 209 f.23v

McKellips_Figure12.jpg (76 kB)
Figure 12: London, British Library, Royal 2B VII, f. 22. v.

McKellips_Figure13.jpg (1068 kB)
Figure 13: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 21r.

McKellips_Figure14.jpg (1358 kB)
Figure 14: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f. 3r.

McKellips_Figure15.jpg (1307 kB)
Figure 15: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68.174, f.16v.

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