This talk will introduce a forgotten spiritual advisor and amateur painter who was responsible for producing a fascinating hybrid book now housed at the Kislak Center (Ms. Codex 1620). The item in question consists of a 1524 edition of Hendrik Herp’s Mirror of Perfection, bookended by two manuscript sections written and illustrated by Denis Faucher (1487–1562), a mystical poet and Benedictine monk from Provence who spent much of his career on the remote island monastery of Lérins. The sections by Faucher are mostly addressed to a nun in training, and are accompanied by a pair of highly unusual didactic images, one of which shows a skull surrounded by symbols of mortality, and the other of which depicts a Crucified nun. Recently, a second intriguing manuscript signed by Faucher has resurfaced, and by considering it alongside the Kislak Center sammelband we can begin to reconstruct the trajectory of this unusual author-painter who oversaw the religious education of many prominent women in the late-Renaissance Mediterranean world.
These monthly lunchtime presentations by Kislak curators, faculty, and students focus on individual works or small archives and collections found among the holdings of the Kislak Center.