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  • 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

Join us for these monthly lunchtime presentations (noon – 1 pm) by Kislak curators, faculty, and students focusing on specific works or small archives/collections found among the holdings of the Kislak Center.

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