• Lecture

A Crucified Nun and an Amateur Iconographer

Denis Faucher’s Handbook for a Female Monastic (Ms. Codex 1620)

Nicholas Herman, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Curator


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September 24, 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, 6th Floor, Kislak Center
Illustration of a nun on a crucifix, surrounded by latin text.

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.

Event Series

Elzevier Collection duodecimos.

From the Kislak Stacks

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.

Image above: A nun on a crucifix from Ms. Codex 1620