1One area of the sensual environment that has received much scholarly treatment is the visual environment; the items and artifacts that were seen by cloistered women. One reason for this is that the extant art and images that constituted the visual culture and environment of medieval religious women are rich in variety and tradition.1 Images in later medieval monastic settings were often "intended to function as instruments of visionary experience, in other words, to induce, channel, and focus that experience,"2 and to serve "as instruments of affective piety."3 As such they were intermediary objects, stepping-stones to be used to achieve a higher goal, whether that was the inducement of visions or mystical union with God. This mediatory function of images in the lives of later medieval monastic women, however, was not the images' sole raison d'être. Like the lyrics of the Song of Songs, these images could be read or used in more than one way. Hand in hand with the utilization of visual images as a link to a higher spiritual state, they served their audience by means of their very material and physical form. They provided those who used them with an opportunity to interact with the object / subject of their devotions and prayers, as well as experience the immediacy of the persons or ideas that the images represented.

2The specific role of images in devotional activity has generated copious scholarship. In Germany this work has usually focused on the use of Andachtsbilder (devotional images or prayer pictures).4 The consideration of Andachtsbilder came to the forefront of art historical discussions when the connections between material culture and the writings of German female mystics were first noticed.5 Scholars have since developed disparate ideas about the use of images.6 In general, scholars think images were acceptable for private devotional use among women and the laity, and even encouraged in the thirteenth and most of the fourteenth century. But that attitude changed at the end of the fourteenth century, especially among the Dominicans, who attempted to manipulate and control the images to which women of the Order had access.7 By the fifteenth century the use of images by nuns was considered dangerous by Dominican authorities.8 In earlier centuries such individual use of images, as we will see, had been a hallmark of Dominican spirituality.

3 Christ and a praying Dominican nun.Christ and a praying Dominican nun. A nun may have used images to contemplate the relationship between herself and Christ, a relationship which is made visually clear in an illuminated letter in an early-fourteenth-century gradual [BVC, ms. 136] from Unterlinden.9 In this initial, Christ is enthroned above a Dominican nun in prayer. The emphasis on her rather large hands in prayer position may indicate the artist's assumption that this was the work of a nun—to pray—while the fact that Christ looks not at the nun or the viewer, but rather toward the text for the first Sunday in Advent, reemphasizes the other occupation of the nun—the formalized prayer of the Office or Opus Dei. Through these two activities, the nun could hope to reach Christ, or at least receive his blessing, as signified by his raised hand. Using devotional artwork a Dominican nun might achieve this goal. Other objects may have been used by the women to focus their prayers or meditations on the saints to whom they had a special devotion. The women used such images to organize their spiritual activities and behaviors. Prayer before such objects focused the women's attention on the spiritual elements that were portrayed before them, and often inspired mystical phenomena such as levitation, translucency, ecstatic trances, visions, and the ultimate goal: mystical union with God.

4As they are described in the Sister-Books, the scenes portrayed in the artwork that surrounded these religious women gave them a visual vocabulary, a language of religious expression steeped in Christian iconography. They then adopted and adapted these images in both their mundane and their spiritual lives. Other images reinforced the status of the women as members of specific religious communities. This chapter will explore the diverse possibilities that visual images gave Dominican women for spiritual expression as they interacted with this part of their sensual environment.

5The major elements of the monastic visual environment were sculptures and paintings. These were items that unlike manuscript illuminations were almost always visible. They usually remained in fixed locations, although they were in theory moveable objects that could be manipulated or even broken. Sculpture especially could be used in processions, dressed, and decorated. As explored in the previous chapter, several of the Sister-Books detail the architectural setting of the women's spiritual activities. In addition, they describe objects that were in situ within the communities' spaces. The Sister-Book of St. Katharinenthal is the most explicit of all in mentioning the location of devotional art objects and how they were used by the nuns and lay-sisters. St. Katharinenthal is also unique because of the number of surviving artifacts associated with the house.10 We even occasionally know who commissioned or provided the community of St. Katharinenthal with its art objects (information sorely lacking for many monasteries in this period). For example, one of St. Katharinenthal's chief patrons in its building efforts around 1300 was Martin of Stein, who also gave the house a crucifix, an image of the Virgin, and an image of Saint John.11

6Except in cases where imagery and iconography call for a cross-media comparison, this chapter focuses primarily on non-manuscript artwork from Dominican monasteries, especially from St. Katharinenthal. Extant manuscript illuminations from these houses will be considered in the chapter on the textual environment.


The Choir

7While we are aware of the architectural form that many female Dominican monastic churches took, we are less well informed about their decoration. From other thirteenth- and fourteenth-century churches used by religious men and women, we know that walls and ceilings, especially in the choir, were often covered with frescoes or other forms of paintings. At the Cistercian female house of Weinhausen in Saxony a very elaborate decoration program survives.12 The church of the male Dominican convent in Constance, located closer to the female Dominican houses of the Upper Rhine, contained friezes and medallions.13 Most choir spaces seem to have been decorated, but unfortunately few survive in their thirteenth- and fourteenth-century state. Hence we have little evidence of the iconographic schemes and picture cycles to which the women would have been exposed each day. A study of the walls of the Unterlinden church has revealed that the church had elaborate interior decoration, the dating of which is unclear. One small area survives but appears to have been repainted in the fifteenth or sixteenth century.14 The vita of Metzi of Adelhausen informs us that even though such decorative schemes existed, and excited the interest of the monastic inhabitants, they were sometimes viewed with trepidation by certain members of their intended audience. Her vita explains:

[O]ne time they had made new paintings in the choir, and she had such an overwhelming desire to see them. But then she firmly restrained herself, wanting never to see them. And God made her worthy concerning this wish, so that on the days when she went for communion, she saw the realm of heaven above her, the entire time that she walked through the choir to the high altar where she received God. And in this way Our Lord exchanged a little fleeting sight for an immensely worthy sight.15

Metzi renounced the sensual pleasure she would have received from viewing the new paintings, not because images were inherently evil, but because they were something she desired. In the author's opinion, they were worthless attempts at achieving a beauty that only God was capable of creating. They would have been pale imitations of God's handiwork. By denying herself the pleasure of viewing them, Metzi was rewarded with a view that brought even greater pleasure because it was in accordance with and obedient to God's wishes.

8Within these painted choirs were the altars enumerated in the previous chapter as well as the tombs of the community's patrons and sometimes the graves of deceased sisters. These structures were also part of the nuns' visual culture. At most nuns' churches there appears to have been more than one altar, most with more than one dedicatee. At St. Katharinenthal, the front altar and the one in the choir of the nuns' church are supposed to have been consecrated by Albertus Magnus in honor of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist. Later, the church contained a middle altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Dominic. Another altar, located against the wall of the cloister, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint James, Saint Peter Martyr, and Mary Magdalen.16 At Engelthal an altar was dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, while an additional altar was consecrated in the honor of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.

9None of the medieval stained glass from Unterlinden or St. Katharinenthal remains intact. From the Sister-Book of St. Katharinenthal we know that there was a window, depicting Christ in some manner, over the middle altar in the church. Their chief patron, Martin of Stein, donated another window for the church showing the Virgin Mary with twelve stars and Saint John, in addition to an image from the Apocalypse.17 Today just a few fragments of glass remain from this church.

10A surviving window from the choir of the male Dominican church in Freiburg gives us an idea of what the windows at the Freiburg female houses of Adelhausen, Maria Magdelena, St. Katharina, or even St. Agnes may have looked like.18 Installed around 1280, the predominately red glass window portrays a standing Virgin and Child within a white architectonic frame of airy pillars and pinnacles. The crowned Virgin, wearing a yellow-orange gown and a green cloak lined with white fur, holds an apple in her right hand and supports the Christ Child with her left while casting her eyes and turning her face to the right in the direction of her son. Her golden crown, studded with colored jewels, tops her white headscarf. The blue-robed Christ looks up towards his mother as his hands clasp a dove with outstretched wings. In the pointed arch above their heads is a golden eight-pointed star on a red field.


Christocentric Images

11Other objects from female Dominican houses cannot be placed with certainty within the choirs of these monastic churches or in any other location. Their exact context will forever remain a mystery to us, but the Sister-Books at least suggest how Dominican women may have used them in their spiritual practices. Many nuns had special devotion to specific events from Christ's Passion. It has been observed that "[c]hristocentric piety was an integral part of the fabric of thirteenth-century spirituality."19 This piety and devotion was often directed toward or guided by a material object.20 While there often exists no known sculptures or paintings of these scenes from the monasteries in question, similar depictions often occur in Psalter illuminations with miniature cycles of the Life of Christ. When elaborate, these cycles contain all the standard depictions of the events of Christ's Passion. Hence they convey the components of the specific scenes for which only verbal descriptions remain in the Sister-Books. There were many different aspects and scenes from Christ's Passion to choose from. One nun from the monastery of Töss was devoted to a depiction of Christ in Judgment before Pilate.21 She would pray before the image, asking that she be judged favorably at the Last Judgment. Once, she heard an answer from God that said, "You are now judged as you should be judged."22

12Hilti Brümsin of St. Katharinenthal prayed before a picture of the flagellation of Christ, and in the manner of Imitatio Christi she desired to experience the pain and the bitterness that He felt at that time.23 Her vita reports that Christ let her experience as much of the pain and bitterness as she could tolerate. This event left her in a state of grace for fourteen days, until she passed another nun who had been at the parlor window. This proximity to someone who had spoken to an outsider caused Hilti to fall out of this state of grace, and she was unable to achieve it again for a long time.24

13Mechthilt the Rittrin prayed in an interactive manner before a sculpture of the Holy Sepulcher. She took the sculpted hands and feet of the statue in her hands, perceiving them as flesh and blood, "as if a person's body were lying there."25 In her devotions she became one of the spectators at the grave, a witness to the death of Christ. But through her actions, she transformed this seemingly passive role into one that celebrated the human incarnation of Christ. In these examples, the corporeal and physical aspects of Christ's life, death, and suffering were made real and immediate for the women.

14The crucifix was the visual object on which the women most often focused their paraliturgical activities. This central image of Christ's suffering and sacrifice served a pivotal function in the spirituality of Dominican nuns as evidenced by the numerous Passion prayers that survive in their manuscripts. Henry Suso began his treatise, "The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom," which was found frequently in the libraries of female Dominican houses, with these words: "[a] Dominican friar was once standing before a crucifix after matins and was complaining keenly that he was not able to meditate on his (Christ's) torment and suffering (as it deserved) . . . ."26 Many Dominican women could have identified with this. The vitae record many women staying in the choir after Matins to pray. They may even have followed Suso's spiritual exercises in which he laid out one hundred meditations on the Passion of Christ to be contemplated in front of the cross daily, each meditation accompanied by a full prostration of the body.27

15Suso's instructions follow on an already established tradition of mendicant Crucifixion-centered spirituality. The most well known of these is Francis of Assisi's stigmata and representation as alter Christi.28 More important for Dominican women, however, was the role that the Cross and Crucifixion played in the life and prayers of Saint Dominic. Dominic's nine ways of praying—all of which involved the Cross—were fundamental to the Order's attitude toward images of the Crucifixion.29

16Crucifixes were available to Dominican women in various forms and they were found throughout the monastery, although chiefly in the choir. A crucifix from Adelhausen survives today at the female Dominican house of Marienberg in Bregenz.30 It is probably a monumental altar cross as it measures 200 x 150 cm. It was made of linden wood in the Upper Rhine region sometime around 1300. A slender Christ figure hangs from the cross, his arms creating a slight Y-form. His torso, however, remains static.

17The St. Katharinenthal Sister-Book identifies three specific crucifixes in the monastery, as well as several unspecified ones. One was in the cloister arcade near the passageway to the monastery's outside door and the parlor,31 the second in the chapterhouse,32 and a third in the larger of the monastery's dormitories.33 There would also have been at least one in the nuns' choir. Elsbeth of Stoffeln of St. Katharinenthal had a painted tablet that depicted the crucifixion of Christ with Mary standing under the cross.34 It was probably not very large; her vita reports that she "placed the tablet in front of her."35 She addressed her spiritual concerns to the image and received a verbal response. While this painted crucifixion scene does not survive, we do have three St. Katharinenthal crucifixes from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The first is a painted crucifix from between 1250 and 1270.36 It is in an Italian style and is one of the few such crucifixes found north of the Alps.37 This almost life-sized crucifix (roughly 99 x 67 cm) most likely served as a monumental altar cross. It is made of wood and covered with parchment that was painted, appliquéd, and studded with glass, crystal, and stones to resemble a work of gold and precious jewels. Christ's upper body sags and his lower limbs seem to stand. His eyes are closed and his head falls to one side. His five wounds—the focus of the devotion of many fourteenth-century nuns—spurt with blood. These elements made real for the monastic viewer the torment that Christ's body experienced on the cross. Interestingly, the paint on Christ's body is somewhat worn, perhaps from the touch of worshipping nuns. Other communities possessed painted crucifixes like St. Katharinenthal. In the monastery of Gotteszell, they had a crucifix that depicted the pain and suffering of Christ.38

18The second St. Katharinenthal crucifix dates from 1300 and still hangs in the church. It is sculptural rather than painted, but has a very similar composition. The presentation of the crucified body is almost the same. The torso droops somewhat, while the legs still support the body's weight.39 Both even have the same hairstyle of wavy locks fanned out on the shoulders. This changes with the third crucifix from the monastery, which is also in the former community's church and dated to 1330. The entire body of Christ hangs on the Cross, pulled by the force of gravity. His ribs are visible, and it is clear that death has touched him. The head of Christ is adorned with the Crown of Thorns and drops of blood. Such depictions may have reminded the viewer of a fourteenth-century Passion prayer such as that found in a female Dominican manuscript that later found its way into the possession of Adelhausen: "Lord, I beg you for the sake of the thorny crown, and by the wounds upon your brow, and by the holy blood that ran over your human face, that you turn your godly face with grace toward me."40

19The vitae refer often to the use of the Crucifix in the devotional practices of the nuns. The crosses could serve as the focus for Passion prayers, like the one above, offered up with tears or prostrations of the body, or both. The lives frequently mention the women lying prostrate before the Crucifix or the altar during their devotions.

20A crucifix could also serve as an object of consolation and solace, as in the case of Adelheit of Stein. She was overwhelmed by a great period of despair, and, according to the St. Katharinenthal Sister-Book's author, the devil convinced her to do something against God (the exact nefarious deed or thought goes unmentioned). But when she prayed before a crucifix, she clearly saw Christ with his five bleeding wounds and her despair dissipated, never to return.41 A nun in Oetenbach was also tormented by the devil, and like Adelheit, the image of the Crucified Christ, albeit a visionary image, delivered her from temptation.42 Other women conversed with crucifixes in the dormitories, chapels, choirs, cloister arcades, and chapterhouses of their monasteries, often receiving responses from the cross itself, or from a disembodied voice. In these exchanges, they were forgiven their sins or reminded verbally of the torture and suffering that was visually portrayed before them with an explanation as to why it had happened.

21Crosses and crucifixes were not merely items to which one prayed, held visionary conversations, or offered up tears. The women also handled these objects. In her "Revelations," the Dominican mystic Margaret Ebner describes her personal relationship with the image of Christ's suffering and sacrifice. It is an interaction that could be described as "hands-on:"

Every cross I came upon I kissed ardently and frequently as possible. I pressed it forcefully against my heart constantly, so that I often thought I could not separate myself from it and remain alive. Such great desire and such sweet power so penetrated my heart and all my members that I could not withdraw myself from the cross. In addition, I possessed a little book in which there was a picture of the Lord on the cross. I shoved it secretly against my bosom, open to that place, and wherever I went I pressed it to my heart with great joy and with measureless grace. When I wanted to sleep, I took the picture of the Crucified Lord in the little book and laid it under my face. Also around my neck I wore a cross that hung down to my heart. In addition, I took a large cross whenever possible and laid it over my heart. I clung to it while lying down until I fell asleep in great grace. We had a large crucifix in the choir. I had the greatest desire to kiss it and to press it close to my heart like the others. But it was too high up for me and was too large in size.43

Since Margaret could not reach this large crucifix, and the only other person who knew of her wish refused to help her, her wish was granted by Christ while she slept: "It seemed as if I were standing before the cross filled with the desire that I usually had within me. As I stood before the image, my Lord Jesus Christ bent down from the cross and let me kiss His open heart and gave me to drink of the blood flowing from his heart."44 For Margaret, awake or asleep, the Crucifix was more than just an object for contemplation, it was the object of her desire, a desire that she expressed corporeally.

22Other women also interacted with the object of their desire, the Crucifix, although rarely with the intensity that Margaret did. Behte Vinchin of Adelhausen possessed a small crucifix, which she spoke to "as one friend speaks to another."45 One day as she was speaking to the object, Christ moved his head from the cross and laid it against her cheek and spoke to her. In St. Katharinenthal, Gerdrut of Horblingen was praying before a crucifix when Christ stretched out his right hand and placed it on her head.46 In the choir of Weiler, Adelheid of Weiblingen "saw our Lord hovering high above the altar. Immediately she was pulled up to the cross and sweetly embraced by God in body and soul. And he said to her: 'I will always be with you and you with me, and I will never be separated from you.'"47 Like Margaret Ebner who could not bear to withdraw from bodily contact with the Crucifix, Adelheit was also bodily embraced by Christ from the Crucifix and promised eternal union with Christ. Perhaps the most corporeal instance of a woman's devotion to the Cross appears in the vita of the Unterlinden nun Hedewig of Löfenberg. In remembrance of Christ's Passion, she engraved crosses on her chest with a piece of wood.48 The object of her desire was no longer a separate object, but rather a part of her, fused into her body just as she longed for her soul to be fused into Christ.

23Another Passion image found in Dominican houses is the Vesperbild or Pietà.49 This usually sculpted image isolates a scene from the Deposition or Descent from the Cross in which the Virgin Mary holds Christ's dead body in her lap. The imagery has no scriptural basis, but found authority in the apocryphal legends surrounding the Crucifixion.50 The image is called Vesperbild in German because the Deposition was celebrated at the Office of Vespers. Although the image can occasionally be found in thirteenth-century manuscript illumination, the topos did not gain widespread popularity until the fourteenth century. Especially in Germany and Italy, sculptural Vesperbilder became prominent during the fourteenth century and afterwards. These sculptures ranged in size, with the earliest tending to be monumental, and may have originated as a genre in the Middle Rhine and Swabian regions of Germany.51 The early examples are distinguished by the upright posture of the Virgin and the rather rigid step-like position of Christ on her lap. Pieces from the end of the fourteenth century and later progressively soften the arrangement of the two bodies, with Mary's posture becoming more and more slouched and her Son's position loosening and eventually draping, sliding, and spilling his body across the Virgin's legs.52

24Although some early-fourteenth-century Vesperbilder survive, those associated with female Dominican houses come from the middle to latter half of the century. One Upper Rhine example was located at Adelhausen and is now at the Augustinermuseum in Freiburg.53 Dating between 1360 and 1370, only the figure of Mary is original; a Christ figure from another Vesperbild has been substituted for the one that originally lay in the Virgin's lap. The carved and painted wood provides the Virgin with her draping garments, richly decorated with patterns on her mantel, bodice, and edges of her skirts. Her head bows slightly, almost as significantly as an earlier example from Radolfzell near Lake Constance, also housed at the Augustinermuseum.54 This Vesperbild from about the fourth decade of the fourteenth century has also lost its original body of Christ, but does retain much of its original paint. Like the Adelhausen Vesperbild it is sumptuously decorated. The border of the Virgin's mantel is carved to resemble brocade and painted gold, while the inside has been painted red. The mantel itself is white with a green and red foliage motif. She wears a blue gown with golden stars that is also trimmed and belted in gold brocade. Red tears run down the cheeks of the Mary in this earlier Vesperbild. The example is roughly half life-size (94 x 44 x 29.5 cm) and apart from the turn of the Virgin's head, very upright in position. In their intact state, both pieces may have resembled another Vesperbild created in the Upper Rhine region now at the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe (Figure 3.4).55 Although Christ's limbs are missing, as well as Mary's hands, this example from the third quarter of the fourteenth century provides a sense of the proportions between the two figures that probably reflect the original state of the two Vesperbilder in Freiburg. The cant of the Virgin's head and the positioning of Christ's body are consistent with the remains of the other examples.

25 Page with miniature of Christ's Presentation.Page with miniature of Christ's Presentation. Vesperbilder also can be found in the manuscripts of German Dominican women. In one of the illustrated Processionals from a Strasbourg female house, [BLB, St. Peter perg. 22] a Vesperbild marks the opening of the Procession for Easter Sunday. The manuscript dates to the first half of the fourteenth century and was most likely created at an in-house scriptorium, where it was decorated and illustrated by the nuns. Of the eight small miniatures, six are Christocentric and portray the following scenes: Christ's Presentation in the Temple (sometimes also known as the Purification); the Vesperbild.Vesperbild. entry into Jerusalem; Christ's washing of the apostles' feet (with a Dominican nun observing the scene); the Vesperbild; the Resurrection; and the Ascension. The final two miniatures depict Mary's death and the death of a Dominican nun. In the miniature of the Vesperbild, Mary sits below a thin brown cross holding the bloody body of Christ in her arms. On the right Saint John watches in prayerful devotion, while the left-hand space is occupied by a haloed woman, perhaps Mary Magdalen, who likewise joins her hands in prayer. Like the sculptural representations of the Vesperbild, Mary's head is bowed down. And here we have Christ's body still intact. The five wounds are clearly visible on his blood-flecked body. A long white loincloth wraps most of his lower body, which is arranged in a step-like form much like the sculptural depictions. The fact that the Vesperbild gained popularity only later in the fourteenth century may explain why the Sister-Books do not mention this image in the nuns' devotional activities, for these images may have entered the houses only after the recording of the women's vitae. This is not to say that the women had no spiritual attachment to the events surrounding the Crucifixion. As seen above, there is ample evidence of Christocentric Passion piety, as well as, we will see, Passion piety directed towards Saint John and the Virgin Mary.56


The Beloved and the Baptist

26As Ruth Meyer in her edition of the St. Katharinenthal Sister-Book has noted, some pieces of devotional artwork mentioned in the Sister-Books can be identified with pieces that still survive today.57 Once such example found in the vita of Anne of Ramschwag records a mystical phenomena that occurred in connection with a devotional image. "She prayed once before the large image of Saint John resting on Our Lord's heart, and Saint Mie of Retherhoven stood behind her likewise praying. And Mie saw that Anne was as clear as crystal and that she shone with a light that came from within her. And Mie saw this the entire time that Anne prayed before the image."58 At the same house Adelheid Pfefferhartin prayed before the same or a similar image, which her vita locates with certainty in the choir. She too was observed by another nun at her devotions, but, instead of becoming translucent, Adelheid levitated.59 In the case of Anne of Ramschwag and Adelheid Pfefferhartin, the image they prayed before was one of the several Christus-Johannes-Gruppen figures known to have been possessed by St Katharinenthal in the fourteenth century.60

27 Last Supper.Last Supper. Christus-Johannes-Gruppen are a genre of images strongly associated with fourteenth-century female Dominican houses in the Upper Rhine. They are referred to several times within the various Sister-Books, even in monasteries where no such known image survives. These images isolate a scene from the Last Supper where the Apostle John sleeps or rests on the shoulder, chest, heart, or lap of Christ. This depiction, often sculptural as the Vesperbilder usually were but sometimes painted or illuminated, is based on the biblical passages describing the Last Supper. The Last Supper was a recurrent theme in miniature cycles of the Vita Christi and was often painted on the refectory walls in medieval monasteries.61 As such, it was a scene with which the women were well versed. The Gospel of John, assumed in the Middle Ages to have been written by the disciple John, describes Christ's revelation that one of the twelve apostles will betray him. "One of them, the disciple he loved, was reclining close beside Jesus. So Simon Peter nodded to him and said, 'Ask who it is he means.' That disciple, as he reclined, leaned back close to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, who is it?'"62 John is not named as the beloved disciple, but was understood as such. In depictions of the Last Supper, most of the apostles and Judas sit behind or around a table, but Christ and John are the central figures in the depiction.

28Of the roughly twenty-five sculptural exemplars of the Christus-Johannes-Gruppen that have been identified many can be attributed with certainty to female Dominican houses, including some of the six at the core of this study. A fifteenth-century sculpture housed currently in Strasbourg once belonged to Unterlinden. Another example now in Frankfurt, dating to about 1350, comes from Adelhausen.63 The Adelhausen example is rather small (about 33 cm) and could have been used for personal devotions, perhaps in a nun's cell, although use as a communal image cannot be ruled out. Most of its original predominantly red and blue paint survives. In the sculpture, Saint John the Evangelist rests against the heart of Christ, taking the position not only of the favored apostle but also of the Beloved who is nurtured on the heart of His Lover—the disciple He loved the most and with whom He shared friendship and special knowledge. The closeness between the two is interpreted as giving John a special understanding of Christ's love. Christ offers John protection by placing his hand on his shoulder and taking his hand in his. Nuns regarding this image could contemplate the relationship between the two, as well as to attempt an Imitatio Johannis—an imitation of John in his trusting, obedient, and boundless love for Christ and as the virginal recipient of Christ's love.

29A further example, now in Antwerp, belonged to the community of St. Katharinenthal. It is almost life-sized, measuring 141 cm high.64 It was created shortly after 1300 and could have adorned the altar dedicated to John the Evangelist in that monastery. This may have been the figure before which Anne of Ramschwag and Adelheid Pfefferhartin prayed. The composition is similar to that of the Adelhausen piece, although the size allows for more refinement in the features. Christ holds John's hand and rests his other hand on his shoulder. John's head is not so dramatically poised over Christ's heart, but rather falls more naturally into a sleeping position on Christ's chest, although still in the vicinity of the heart. This sculpture is most likely the one attributed to Master Heinrich of Constance.65 A later example belonging to the community of St. Katharinenthal was much smaller. Dating to the last half of the fourteenth century, it stands 31 cm high, even smaller than the sculpture from Adelhausen.66 It is gilded and depicts a small praying nun at the feet of Christ. St. Katharinenthal had yet another such image made of silver, but that one has disappeared. One of the house's manuscripts also contains an image of the Christus-Johannes-Gruppen.67

30The Christus-Johannes-Gruppe image was often used for devotional meditation and served as the locus of mystical phenomena as in the vitae of the two St. Katharinenthal nuns. For the author of these vitae, it was important that the women's signs of grace, translucency, and levitation occur in conjunction with their contemplation of the Christ and John image. The holiness of the two women is made clear through their devotion to the statue or more correctly what the statue represented: Christ's gentle love for one who puts herself in his hands in all matters. Christus-Johannes-Gruppe provided Dominican women with a model for their love and pious devotion to Christ, expressing a relationship or bond that they hoped to achieve by linking themselves to both Christ and John the Evangelist.

31The women did not focus only on Christ's depiction in these sculptural groups. As their vitae make clear, John also had a place in their spirituality. Perhaps most tellingly, Elsbeth of Villingen at St. Katharinenthal elaborated on the relationship of love between Christ and John, pointing out how John's place at Christ's side held special meaning for her and for all Christians (especially Dominican women) who venerated the saint for his link to Christ. Elsbeth retold the events surrounding the Passion to her sisters at St. Katharinenthal, but focused on John's role in them and his empathy for Christ's suffering.68 Beginning with a retelling of the Last Supper, she dwelt on the sweetness and love that John received more than all the other apostles because of both his proximity to Christ's heart and the special knowledge he had received directly from Christ.

32The sharing of love and knowledge between Christ and John at the Last Supper presaged their shared suffering at the foot of the cross.69 The Gospel passage, in which Christ commends the care of his Mother to his beloved discipline announcing that John should now be her son as Mary should now be John's mother, struck a cord in the Johannian spirituality of the nuns. While the Virgin's suffering at the foot of the cross was a well known medieval topos, Elsbeth describes John too as taking part in that suffering. This compassio is evident in many late medieval images and texts. When Elsbeth retold the story of the Crucifixion to her sisters, she had John embrace and support the grieving Mother of God, as depicted in many late medieval scenes of the event. But Elsbeth elaborated on the relationship and connected the suffering of the two. The Sword of Sorrows, which pierced Mary's breast, also pierced John's; what she felt, he felt.70 And as they embraced beneath the cross, run through by the Sword of Sorrows, the blood of Christ's wounds fell on them, and the water and blood from his heart flowed out onto them. The familial relationship extended by Christ to John brought with it a share of the suffering and compassio that Mary experienced.71 But not only did John share Mary's pain, he also experienced Christ's pain and death. Elsbeth says that God imprinted the seal of Christ's agony on the heart and soul of John, so that John also received the wounds of Christ.72 For Elsbeth, John is the perfect practitioner of the Imitatio Christi because he becomes an extension of both Christ's suffering and his love.

33One of Elsbeth's fellow nuns, Luggi of Stein, experienced a vision with a similar emphasis. As she was praying to the martyrs, a voice told her that the Virgin Mary greatly loved the martyrs. Luggi then asked why John the Evangelist was the most dear to her, for he was not a martyr. The voice replied:

St. John is the greatest martyr, who was ever martyred. When he stood under the cross, he was so martyred with the endless compassion for our Lord's torment, that he is the greatest martyr in heaven. And because of that he could not thereafter endure a painful death.73

John the Evangelist was the perfect model of spirituality for Dominican women to emulate. An Imitatio Johannis allowed the women in an age that no longer had virgin martyrs to feel the embrace of Christ, share in the sorrow of the Virgin, and suffer Christ's agony on the cross. John was the Beloved of Christ, the virgin saint dedicated to Him, a witness to and participant in Christ's Passion, and one who suffered for Christ's love. Through images of John the Evangelist, the pious Dominican woman could approach Christ and see herself embraced as the Beloved.

34The other Saint John also captured the spiritual imagination of Dominican women. Saint John the Baptist occurred often in the altar dedications of their churches because he was the patron saint of the Dominican Order.74 He was usually portrayed in images as the essential wild man, the hermit in the wilderness. According to Luke's Gospel, "As the child [John] grew up he became strong in spirit; he lived in the wilds until the day when he appeared publicly before Israel."75 In Matthew the saint's appearance is described, "John's clothing was a rough coat of camel's hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he lived on locusts and wild honey."76 The Baptist appears on the late-thirteenth-century seal of Unterlinden, an apt representation for the community since the monastery was named after the saint. A fourteenth-century statue of the saint from St. Katharinenthal conveys a typical depiction of him with a hairy cloak draped around a naked and barefoot body. It is attributed to Master Heinrich of Constance, the same craftsman who made the large Christus-Johannes-Gruppe for the community. Some of the original paint survives, showing the detail used in rendering the pattern of the animal hair on his cloak. John holds his attribute the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God on his arm. The life-size piece, now in Karlsruhe, may have graced the altar dedicated to the saint in the nun's choir.

35Or perhaps the sculpture stood in the cloister, and served as the catalyst for devotional factions in the fifteenth century.77 During the fifteenth century, the nuns of St. Katharinenthal fiercely debated which of their two beloved saints was the more worthy, which had done a greater service to God and hence was more important and deserving of their veneration. The saints in question were the two Johns, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist and Apostle. This debate raged until one day two members of the opposing factions met in the cloister arcade in front of a depiction of John the Baptist. When a nun who favored the other John made fun of the image, God struck her to the ground, unable to cry out or understand what was said to her. When she came to herself, she understood that God held each of the saints in equal favor and valued to the same degree the contributions made by both. Therefore, all the sisters of St. Katharinenthal should honor and venerate equally both of the Johns.78

36 John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D.John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D. Other images of John the Baptist occur in female Dominican manuscripts. The saint is the only one to receive his own miniature in the two fourteenth-century illuminated graduals from Unterlinden. And the number of depictions of him in the manuscripts of St. Katharinenthal is only surpassed by those of John the Evangelist and Christ.79 Of course, Dominican nuns were not alone in their frequent depictions of the saint. He also appears in manuscripts associated with male Dominican houses, like the antiphonal / hymnal combination found in the Badische Landesbibliothek. [St. Peter perg. 49] These images portray his birth, his preaching, his recognition of Christ, and the Agnus Dei.

John the Baptist in initial D.John the Baptist in initial D. Birth of John the Baptist.Birth of John the Baptist. John the Baptist. John the Baptist.
John the Baptist preaching.John the Baptist preaching. John the Baptist with Agnus Dei.John the Baptist with Agnus Dei.

Dominican Women, the Virgin Mary, and Other Images

37Crucifixes and Christus-Johannes-Gruppen are not the sole devotional objects mentioned in the texts from these monasteries. Other images also had a place in the women's spirituality. The women prayed before images of the Virgin Mary, the Virgin and Child, and various saints. Sometimes we have no idea where within the monastery an object was situated, but occasionally a Sister-Book informs us of the location of a specific devotional image. At Töss, for instance, there seems to have been a statue or bust of Christ hanging over or near the door to the chapterhouse,80 an image of the Virgin Mary in the chapel that also housed an image of the three kings,81 and another Marian image in the choir.82

38As we have seen in the vita of Elsbeth of Villingen, the women placed great worth on the contemplation and veneration of the Virgin Mary, based on her role as the Mother of Christ. Similarly, Catherine of Unterlinden considered her community to have a special devotion to the Virgin. One section of Catherine's introduction to the monastery's Sister-Book discusses the importance of the Virgin for the nuns.83 Images of the Virgin could inspire mystical phenomena just as much as images of her son or the two Johns. In an event much like that recorded in the vita of Anne of Ramschwag, Elsbeth Schefflin of Töss "was also at one time at her prayers in the chapel, and there she saw that the holy sister Ellsy of Elgo knelt before the beautiful image of Our Lady. Ellsy's body above her belt was as clear as crystal."84 In the vita of another nun, Margaret Willin, this same Marian image is also referred to. Margaret regularly prayed before it.85 We do not know how Mary was depicted in this image, or even if it was a sculpture or a painting, but it was a popular site of contemplation in the monastery of Töss.

39While many women were passive recipients of visions and mystical phenomena other women interacted with what they saw. The first were mere spectators, observing a biblical scene played out before their interior or exterior eyes, levitating, or being made crystalline by divine grace. An example of the second can be found in the Unterlinden Sister-Book, which informs us that in the choir of Unterlinden there was a seated Madonna and Child statue from which Gerdrud of Brugge broke off the Christ Child's hand. Miraculously, the image would not allow itself to be repaired.86 In this case, one could say that the monastery had self-generating holy images; the statue continued to be venerated, but the community now also had the tiny Christ's hand as an object of devotion. Similarly at St. Katharinenthal, Adelheit Othwins was praying before a seated Madonna and Child and took the Christ Child's foot in her hand.87 Here the foot did not break off, but rather became flesh and blood, warm and alive in Adelheit's hand.88 The object of devotion had become real, alive in the presence of the devotée. It was no longer merely a symbol of the Virgin and Child; it was the Virgin and Child. If only for a moment, a small part of the image became actual. It was physically present and immediate to the woman, a reward for her piety and devotion.

40 Resurrection and Mary Magdalen in initial R.Resurrection and Mary Magdalen in initial R. Other holy personages were represented in images to which Dominican women had access. Among the earliest that we know of is a tall (140 cm) linden wood statue of Saint Mary Magdalen, which is currently in the Augustinermuseum, Freiburg, that may have been in the possession of the community of St. Maria Magdelena in Freiburg.89 It was carved sometime around 1260, so after the foundation of the community of Penitents, but before their incorporation into the Dominican Order. The sculpture presents a fashionably attired Mary Magdalen wearing a long gown that is belted low around her hip over which she wears a cloak that is thrown back and a headscarf. Her right hand is at her breast, in her left hand she holds her ointment jar up for presentation. This jar is often used to identify her. It signified her participation in the entombment of Resurrection with Mary Magdalen.Resurrection with Mary Magdalen.Christ—where she was thought to have been one of the women who prepared his body for burial—and her presence at the empty tomb after the Resurrection when she and the other women attempted to minister to Christ's corpse. The jar appears in other female Dominican images of Mary Magdalen as well, chiefly in the two resurrection miniatures in the illuminated Unterlinden graduals of the fourteenth century. The statue of the saint may have been intended to stand-alone or to have been part of a larger decorative program depicting the Holy Sepulcher, in which Mary Magdalen would attend the grave of Christ with other figures.90 Not surprisingly, this saint also appears several times in a fourteenth-century Psalter from St. Maria Magdelena.91

41There were other images too. We know from her vita that when a St. Katharinenthal nun died and her body was carried into the choir, her vita declares that one could hear the holy angels singing in two places.92 This may appear to be an acoustic incident reported in the life, rather than a visual one, and a literary topos rather than a visual one is probably at work here, for the angels would certainly sing upon receiving the soul of a holy and devout woman. Nonetheless, St. Katharinenthal possessed a pair of monumental candlesticks in the form of angels that could have reinforced the image. These angels may have flanked other artwork in the cloister church, or perhaps they stood in separate places where the bodies of the deceased were laid out.93 The two candlesticks, measuring between three and four feet, date to about 1330 and are similar but not mirror images of each other. And although the Sister-Book does not claim that anyone saw these singing angels, the visual, sculptural presence of these two figures may have been enough to suggest the proper acoustic event that could have taken place.


Connections with the Outside World

42Not all the elements of the female Dominican visual environment had overtly religious overtones. Many pieces of artwork served to focus the women's attention on their own spiritual development, but others could function as a means of uniting monastic women with others in medieval society, extending the women's spirituality to encompass the spiritual welfare and well-being of the larger community. Certain objects emphasized the bonds between the monastic inhabitants and the outside world, such as the connections and relationships of family and patronage. One medium where we can see this linkage is in textile work, the manual labor favored in many female Dominican houses.

43Two wall hangings from the Freiburg monasteries of Adelhausen and St. Katharine illustrate this more secular element of the monastic environment.94 Both are linen decorated with wool embroidery. The first of these tapestries from Adelhausen dates from between 1320 and 1330.95 Known as the Wappen-Teppich, it survives in three pieces (about 51 x 180 cm) composed of three panels each, and portrays alternating panels of family shields and images from legendary stories.96 The families represented on the dark green ground of the first piece of the tapestry are the Munzingens (red shield with silver diagonal band topped by a blue flower) with four shields, and the Falkensteins (a gold shield with two red arches, between which is a dark-colored falcon with outstretched wings perched on a rock), likewise with four shields. Between these two panels on a light greenish-blue ground is a depiction of Alexander the Great with the Indian queen Candace and another woman riding a white elephant. Their heads are visible as they ride in a yellow-roofed structure with three red arches placed on the elephant's back.97 In the second piece of the tapestry, two scenes flank a red ground on which there are four shields from the Vorgassen family (a silver shield with a brown lance point facing up to the left). The scene to the left of the Vorgassen shields shows Samson wrestling a lion on a yellow field, while the scene on the right depicts Phyllis riding a bridled Aristotle through a garden on a yellow ground.98 The last panel on the tapestry has two red fields with two shields each flanking a yellow panel. The shields represent the Snewlin family (a shield with the upper half gold and the lower half green). Between the panels is a scene, probably portraying Hercules, of a man in front of a tree slaying a boar with a lance.99 Of the four families whose shields appear on the Wappen-Teppich, three (the Munzingens, Falkensteins, and Snewlins) can easily be found among the names of Adelhausen's patrons and member, but the Vorgassens do not appear in any of the surviving documents. There is a strong stylistic resemblance between the pictorial scenes of the Wappen-Teppich and the St. Gall Chronicle of 1320, suggesting that the tapestry was not designed in Adelhausen, but that the women produced it from a pattern created for them in the manuscript workshop for the St. Gall text.100

44The second tapestry, the Malterer-Teppich, comes from the Freiburg monastery of St. Katharine.101 It was created sometime between 1320 and 1330, in the same decade as the Adelhausen Wappen-Teppich. It consists of one long narrow panel (67.5 x 491 cm) with a total of eleven eight-sided blue medallions on a red ground scattered with white flowers. The entire panel is bordered in yellow, decorated with a chain of gold-centered white flowers with green leaves. Within each of the blue medallions is an embroidered scene. Nine of these depict episodes that are usually interpreted as Minnesklaven or Frauensklaven—anti-feminist stories "which catalog men who are humiliated by women."102 At either end of the panel, the medallions depict the shields and heraldry of the Freiburg Malterer family. The one on the left end is enclosed by the name Anna while the shield on the opposite end divides the name Johannes. The Malterer family was an important one in Freiburg, although not highly prominent. Johannes der Malterer, the only son of Friedrich Malterer and his wife Katherina, was born about 1295. His father Friedrich, who died in 1320, had two sisters, Anna and Gertrut, and Anna appears to have entered St. Katharine.103 If we hypothesize a date of 1325 for the work, Johannes would have been 30 years old when the embroidery was created and Anna was most likely a nun by that time. There is no way of knowing if both Johannes and Anna were the donors giving a gift together to the community, or if Johannes gave the embroidery to Anna in honor of their family connection, and then Anna presented the wall-hanging to St. Katharine (because as a nun she could not own such an item personally).

45In-between the names Johannes and Anna are the nine scenes of the supposed Minnesklaven. These "are not narrative but allusions, representations of well-known tales, the pictorial equivalent of literary allusions."104 These consist of four pairs of medallions and a single medallion at the end of the sequence. The first image in each pair depicts a man of strength known from legend, history, or literature. The second image shows his weakening at the hands of a woman. In the first pair, Samson wrestles a lion, then Delilah cuts off his hair.105 In the second pair, Aristotle sits in a room full of books, but reaches out a window to touch a woman under her chin. This is followed by a well-known depiction of Phyllis riding Aristotle like a beast of burden, with him wearing a bridle and the woman carrying a whip.106 The third pair portrays the author Virgil outside a tower, holding hands with a woman through an open window. This leads to Virgil in a basket being hauled up the side of the tower, with the window now closed, by a woman atop the structure.107 The last pair of medallions shows scenes from the Arthurian romance of Iwein. In the first, Iwein slays the knight Ascalon by the emerald fountain. In the next image a woman presents Iwein to Laudine, Ascalon's now widowed wife, a depiction which should be seen as Iwein's surrender to her.108 The ninth and final medallion of the Maltererteppich shows a Virgin with a unicorn resting its head in her lap. This can also be seen as a portrayal of Minnesklave, for "[t]he unicorn too can be seen as one more victim of woman—a powerful animal that can only be killed when it is lured to the lap of a maiden."109 However, given the existence of the wall hanging in the monastery, its original destination, it could also represent "the surrender of sexuality—embodied by the unicorn—to chastity— signified by the pure maiden."110

46What kind of meanings would medieval Dominican women have found in the anti-feminist images of the tapestry and would they have found the images particularly anti-feminist? The wall hanging does portray women in all stages of life, unmarried (the woman with Virgil and the virgin with the unicorn), married (Delilah and Phyllis), and widowed (if the eighth medallion does depict Laudine). The nuns may have identified most with the unicorn-virgin, seeing in the other pairs of images the life choices that they did not make, or that they made but now as nuns renounced. It is unclear whether the women would have seen the depiction of anti-feminist stories as negative.111 The stories may not have been viewed so much as fearful of the power of women as fearful of the secular world. Powerful women led themselves and others into sin unless they had the power of virginity—the ability to tame the unicorn.

47These two wall hangings—the Wappen-Teppich and the Malterer-Teppich—also served two social functions. First of all, they would have served as reminders of the stories that they represented. As the images were fairly well-known in the period, viewing the scenes on the tapestries may have prompted the women to retell the tales and legends pictured before them. The images visually connected the women with the literature of medieval society. Even more importantly, the two embroideries would have served as reminders of the bonds between the women and the larger secular society. Even for those women who were not members of the families denoted by the shields in the embroideries, the representations of these families would have had meaning for the nuns. These families were patrons of the house and the nuns would be constantly reminded of this connection each time they passed the wall hangings.

48In the St. Katharinenthal Zurich Gradual, one finds similar connections made between the nuns and their patrons. Small kneeling figures are depicted near the miniatures found throughout the manuscript.112 Many but not all of these are Dominican nuns. Katharine of Rannegge's name appears below most of the miniatures. But the figures also include men of the Dominican and other religious orders, as well as secular men and women. They may represent patrons or people who had other connections to the monastery, perhaps religious men such as chaplains. And like the two wall hangings discussed above, family arms are featured in the borders of the miniatures in the manuscript. In one case there is just a shield.113 In another, there is a kneeling nobleman wearing the shield for the family of von Stoffeln.114 While we cannot identify all the individuals portrayed, the nuns may have known who they were through stories and monastic traditions. But in the case of the families represented, it is not necessarily important to know the name of the individual. It is the family that is crucial, and after the death of the individual the family would remain in the memory and visual environment of the women. Prayers would be offered for them.

49 Grave marker for one of the founders of Unterlinden, Agnes Hergenheim. Grave marker for one of the founders of Unterlinden, Agnes Hergenheim. One other element of the visual environment made these connections between the inner monastic world and the larger secular community clear to the monastic inhabitants. This was the burial of patrons and members of the monastic familia in the church. These burial places where often marked with tombs or some form of gravestone. The Dominican General Chapter of 1245 had ruled that tombs adorned with sculptures were prohibited. This may explain the spare tombstone of Agnes of Hergenheim, one of the two foundresses of Unterlinden. The tomb of the nun survives although its original placement within the monastic church or cloister arcade is unknown. According to the constitutions, the dead of the community were to be buried in part of the cloister arcade on the range bordering the monastic church.115

50Like the prohibitions against excessive decoration in the church, the General Chapter's statute against the burial of patrons in the church did not remain in effect, as can be seen in a charter from about a century after Agnes of Hergenheim's burial. In this document, dated November 21, 1349, the Freiburg citizen Johans Salzmann granted the community of Maria Magdelena money in return for his burial in the monastery's church.116 Johans specified that he wanted to be buried under a tomb of well-cut stone, decorated with the painted images of those saints that he would decide on (but which are not listed in the document). Johans also requested that a flame be lit every night over his tomb.117 The presence of these tombs in a space often frequented by the nuns would keep these people in the forefront of the women's attention. They would see the tombs or the family shields on the wall hangings and remember to include them in their prayers.

51The visual environment served to connect the women to their patrons and to the objects of their spirituality. Artwork could connect them with those in their spiritual care, those who benefited from their prayers. Tombs and secular tapestries reminded the nuns of connections that transcended the cloister walls and the bonds of death, but the chief function of the visual environment remained: to connect Dominican women with the Divine. Contemplation of images like the Christus-Johannes-Gruppen allowed the women to consider their relationship with Christ. Crucifixes prodded them to meditate on Christ's suffering and Vesperbilder may have focused their attention on the sorrow of the Virgin Mary. All of these images, even those that were not Christocentric, allowed the women to position themselves within the wider Christian community, both on earth and in heaven.

52The objects within the monastic environment were not simply to be looked at. They were meditated on, touched, broken, caressed, and loved. Whether embracing the crucified body of the Lord, clasping the carved hands of the entombed Christ, or prostrating one's own body before a Crucifix, the spirituality of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century German Dominican women was active, physical, and tactile. It was a spirituality that interacted closely with the material elements of the monastic environment, utilizing the predominately Christocentric images that surrounded the cloistered inhabitants. And while God's grace was often carried out in these women—in events requiring a passive recipient who ideally had submitted her will to God's—it was often the initial activity of a nun or lay-sister that brought on this gift. The outward signs of received grace—whether levitations or light—revealed to the other nuns the benefits of employing objects in their devotions that could be seen with the outward eye. For even as the images could serve as a means of inducing visions, providing a conduit for the women's spiritual longings, they could also serve as objects of the women's desires, physically and corporeally present. Here we see that at the intersection of the visual environment and Dominican spirituality stood the immediate desire for God.


Note 1: Jeffrey Hamburger has been the most prolific examiner of the connections between religious women and their visual environment, although his work focuses almost exclusively on illuminated manuscripts. He has explored the visual elements, which were at work in one Benedictine convent, and how these elements may have been employed by the women who created them. Jeffrey Hamburger, Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent (Berkeley: University of Californis, 1997). His earlier work on the Rothschild Canticles explored the possible links between an illuminated manuscripts and its female user. Jeffrey Hamburger, The Rothschild Canticles: Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland circa 1300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). Important articles by Hamburger include, Jeffrey Hamburger, "The Visual and the Visionary: The Image in Late Medieval Monastic Devotions," Viator 20 (1989): 161–82; Jeffrey Hamburger, "Art, Enclosure, and the Cura Monialium: Prolegomensa in the Guise of a Postscript," Gesta 31:2 (1992): 108–34; Jeffrey Hamburger, "A 'Liber precum' in Selestat and the Development of the Illustrated Prayer Book in Germany," Art Bulletin 73 (1991); and, especially concerning Dominican women, Jeffrey Hamburger, "The Use of Images in the Pastoral Care of Nuns: The Case of Heinrich Suso and the Dominicans," Art Bulletin 71:1 (1989): 20–46; and Jeffrey Hamburger, "The 'Liber miraculorum' of Unterlinden: An Icon in Its Convent Setting," in The Sacred Image East and West, ed. Robert Ousterhout and Leslie Brubaker (Chicago: University of Illinois, 1995), 147–90. Other scholars, such as Roberta Gilchrist, have scrutinized the relationship between women and the material culture of the monastery as represented by archeological remains, including architectural sculpture. Roberta Gilchrist, Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women (New York: Routledge, 1994). German scholars such as Walter Blank and Elizabeth Vavra have looked explicitly at some of the connections between German female mysticism and imagery. Walter Blank, "Dominikanische Frauenmystik und die Entstehung des Andachtsbildes um 1300," Alemannisches Jahrbuch (1964–65): 57–86; and Elizabeth Vavra, "Bildmotiv und Frauenmystik-Funktion und Rezeption," in Frauenmystik im Mittelalter, ed. Peter Dinzelbacher and Dieter R. Bauer (Ostfildern, 1985), 201–30. back

Note 2: Hamburger, "Visionary," 174. back

Note 3: Hamburger, Nuns, 177. back

Note 4: On Andachtsbilder, see, F. O. Büttner, "Andachtsbuch und Andachtsbild: Flämische Beispiele einer nichtnarrativen Ikonographie in Psalter, Stundenbuch und Gebetbuch," in Miscellanea Martin Wittek, ed. by Anny Raman and Eugène Manning (Paris: Peeters, 1993), 27–63; Josef Sauer, "Mystik und Kunst unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Oberrheins," Kunstwissenschäftliches Jahrbuch der Gœrres-Gesellschaft 1 (1928): 3–28; and most importantly, Walter Blank, "Dominikanische Frauenmystik und die Entstehung des Andachtsbildes um 1300," Alemannisches Jahrbuch (1964–65): 57–86. back

Note 5: Sixten Ringbom, "Devotional Images and Imaginative Devotions: Notes on the Place of Art in Late Medieval Private Piety," Gazette des Beaux-Arts 73 (1969), 161. back

Note 6: "Since the fourteenth-century artistic innovations known as Andachtsbilder are so intimately linked with late medieval mysticism, we should thus expect to find some kind of connexion between the theological and the artistic meanings of the term image. But here a difficulty arises at once. The Andachtsbild has not only been regarded as an outcome of mysticism, but indeed as a vehicle to kontemplative Versenkung. Yet the mental images accompanying prayer and devotion were, in theory at least, to be avoided by the true mystic; and the supreme ideal was imageless devotion. How, then, do the artificial images produced by art fit into this context?. . . scholars have tried to remove the apparent opposition between the devotional image and the imageless devotion by assuming that mysticism, when diffused outside the spiritual elite, tended to become more tangible. Other writers have suggested that, contrary to their professed rejection of "images", medieval visionaries were indeed influenced by works of art, and that iconographical innovations once thought reducible to accounts of visionary experiences, should instead be regarded as the result of a continuous iconographical development, or as a result of an intersection between art and mysticism." Ringbom, 159. back

Note 7: Hamburger, "Use of Images," 204 ff. back

Note 8: Jeffrey Hamburger, "The Reformation of Vision: Art and the Dominican Observance in Late Medieval Germany," in The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany (New York: Zone, 1998), 428 ff. back

Note 9: This image occurs in both of the house's illuminated graduals. The other one is Colmar, BVC, ms. 317, f. 5v. back

Note 10: Many of these surviving pieces were gathered together in Bonn, Germany, in 2005 for a two-part exhibition on art from medieval women's religious houses at the Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Bonn] and the Ruhrlandmuseum [Essen]. See Krone und Schleier: Kunst aus Mittelalterlichen Frauenklőstern, edited by Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, and the Ruhrlandmuseum, Essen (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2005). back

Note 11: KSB, 145. back

Note 12: See Hamburger, "Art, Enclosure." back

Note 13: Jürgen Michler, "Die Dominkanerkirche zu Konstanz und die Farbe in der Bettelordensarchitektur um 1300," Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 53 (1990): 253–76. back

Note 14: This is corroborated by the art historical remarks of the nineteenth-century organizers of the museum which became housed in the structure. Louis Kubler, "Les Fresques d'Unterlinden," Annuarie de Colmar 6 (1956): 124–26. back

Note 15: "Und zü einem male hatte man nüwe gemelde in dem core gemacht, und daruff was ir begirde also sere gerichtet, das si es als gerne hatte gesechen, das es ane masse was. Aber si widerstünd ir selber also vaste, das si es nie wolte gesechen, vnd darumb machte si Gott wirdig, das si eines tages, do si Gott enpfieng, den himmel offen sach, alle die wile, do si gie durch den cor vntz ze fronaltar, da si Gott enpfieng. Also ergaste si vnser Herre die kleinen zergenlichen gesichte mit einren so grossen wirdigen gesichte." ASB, 175–76. back

Note 16: KSB, 145. See also Chapter 1 on space. back

Note 17: KSB, 146. back

Note 18: AMF, Inv. Nr. 165/166 M. back

Note 19: Anne Derbes, Picturing the Passion in Late Medieval Italy: Narrative Painting, Franciscan Ideologies, and the Levant (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 18. back

Note 20: In the following examples, the Sister-Books appear to indicate a sculptural or pictorial image and not a manuscript illumination or miniature. back

Note 21: TSB, 27. back

Note 22: "Du bist ietzt gericht als du gericht solt werden." TSB, 27. back

Note 23: See for example the Psalter miniature of this scene in Hs. 56632 f. 56v, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. This Psalter belonged to an unidentified Dominican house. back

Note 24: KSB, 111. There are also sculptural examples of this image. A Swabian example from the mid-fourteenth century survives. Stuttgart, Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Inv. Nr. E 508. back

Note 25: ". . . als ob ein mentsch liplich da were gelegen." KSB, 133. A miniature of this scene can be found on f. 71r of Hs. 56632, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. back

Note 26: Henry Suso, The Exemplar with Two German Sermons, ed. and trans. Frank Tobin (New York: Paulist Press, 1989), 207. For more on this text in German Dominican female houses, see Chapter 4. back

Note 27: Suso, 294. back

Note 28: See Joanna Cannon, "Dominic alter Christi? Representations of the Founder in and after the Arca di San Domenico," in Christ Among the Medieval Dominicans, ed. Kent Emery Jr. and Joseph Wawrykow (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), 26–48. back

Note 29: See Jean-Claude Schmitt, "Between text and image: the prayer gestures of Saint Dominic," History and Anthropology 1:1 (1984), 127–62. back

Note 30: Mystik am Oberrhein und in benachbarten Gebieten, exhibition cat. (Freiburg: Augustinermuseum, 1978), 68–69. back

Note 31: "Die gieng nach einer metti vmb den crútzgand vnd do si für die port kam, do neig si einem crucifixus, das da ist. . . " KSB, 98. back

Note 32: "Die bettet ze einem mal vor dem crútz, das in dem capittel ist." KSB, 102, and "Vnd do prim zit ward, do gieng si vss dem kor für das capitel vnd knüwet da nider für das crucifixus. . . . Do gieng si in das capitel für das crucifixus. . . " KSB, 140. back

Note 33: "mit der redt das crucifixus, das in dem grossen dormiter ist, . . " KSB, 122. back

Note 34: KSB, 119. back

Note 35: "nam ein tauell für si, . . . " KSB, 119. back

Note 36: Basel, Historisches Museum, Inv. Nr. 1950/70. back

Note 37: Knoepfli, 205. back

Note 38: "das was gar peinlich und jemerlich gemalet." GSB, 143. back

Note 39: Stylistically, the body posture of Christ is very similar to the contemporary Adelhausen Crucifix described above. back

Note 40: "Herre ich bitte dich durch der durninen cronen willen, und durch der wunden ere dines holetes und durch des heilgen blütes ere di uber din mensliches antluz ran, das du din gotliches antluz gnedekliche gegen mir kerest." Zentralbibliothek, Zurich, Switzerland, Hs. C 76, f. 182r–182v. Hereafter cited in text as ZBZ. back

Note 41: KSB, 137. back

Note 42: H. Zeller-Werdmüller and Jakob Bächtold, ed., "Die Stiftung des Klosters Oetenbach und das Leben der seligen Schwestern daselbst, aus der Nürnberger Handschrift," Zürcher Taschenbuch n.s. 12 (1889): 242. Hereafter cited in text as OSB. back

Note 43: Margaret Ebner, Major Works, ed. and trans. Leonard P. Hindsley (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), 96. back

Note 44: Ebner, 96. back

Note 45: "Also hatten si ein crucifix, für dz gie si gar dicke betten, vnd rette mit ime als ein frund mit dem andern. . . ." ASB, 174. back

Note 46: KSB, 115. back

Note 47: Lewis, 109; and WSB, 77. back

Note 498 USB, 449–50. back

Note 49: On the Vesperbild/Pieta in medieval Germany, see Walter Passarge, Das Deutsche Vesperbild im Mittelalter (Cologne: F. J. Marcan, 1924). An exhaustive study of these images in the context of later medieval Belgian Beguines can be found in Joanna E. Ziegler, Sculpture of Compassion: The Pietà and the Beguines in the Southern Low Countries, c.1300– c.1600 (Brussels: Institut Historique Belge de Rome, 1992). back

Note 50: Among contemporary literary examples of Vesperbild imagery is Suso's Meditations found in his Little Book of Eternal Wisdom. "O delightful Splendor of eternal light, as my soul in mourning and gratitude embraces you under the cross, dead on the lap of your sorrowful Mother . . . " Suso, 301. back

Note 51: "Die frühesten noch erhaltenen Vesperbilder stammen, abgesehen von Mitteldeutschland, aus Schwaben und vom Mittelrhein. Die frühe Darstellung ist gekennzeichnet durch die aufrecht sitzende Muttergottes mit dem diagonal gelagerten, treppenartig abgewinkelten Leib Christi auf den Knien. Charakteristisch ist die naturalistisch krasse Darstellung des Leichnams im Kontrast zur liebevollen Hingabe der Mutter, die sich vor allem in ihrer geneigten Kopfhaltung und den kummervollen Gesichtszügen ausdrückt. Die schwäbischen Vesperbilder heben sich durch ihre eher milde und lyrische Darstellung. . . von denjenigen aus dem nordfränkisch-thüringischen Kreis ab, die in überlebensgrossem Format und mächtigem Pathos das Leiden betonen. . . . In der 2. Hälfte des 14. Jh. wird die monumentale Form reduziert. Christus wird kindhaft klein, die Mutter wieder jung und lieblich dargestellt." Mystik am Oberrhein und in benachbarten Gebieten, exhibition cat. (Freiburg: Augustinermuseum, 1978), 58–59. back

Note 52: This change can be seen over the course of the period 1350 to 1430. A Vesperbild (1350) from the Münster at Mittelzell, Reichenau depicts an almost erect Christ within the embrace of his seated Mother who slightly dips her upper body sideways to balance the slight angle of his body. An example from the monastery of Seeon, produced in Salzburg (1400) and now in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich depicts Mary's body in a more prominent slouching S-form, while Christ's upper body falls backwards over the Virgin's outstretched arm, although his entire body retains some of the step-like form. A Swabian Vesperbild from Steinberg near Ulm (1420/30), now in the Liebieghaus in Frankfurt, continues the progression. Made of clay, it displays a large amount of flowing drapery. Mary's head and shoulders are bent, not merely tilted, and Christ lies fully outstretched on Mary's knees with only his legs bent. Frankfurt, Liebieghaus-Museum alter Plastik, Inv. No. 1450. back

Note 53: AMF, Inv. Nr. 11437. Description in D. Zinke, "Kirchenraum (I): Skulpturen" [exhibit guide] (Freiburg: Augustinermuseum, 1994), item 4. back

Note 54: AMF, Inv. Nr. S. 34/D. Description in Mittelalterliche Kunst im Augustinermuseum Freiburg im Breisgau (Freiburg, 1965), n.p. back

Note 55: Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, #56/2. back

Note 56: The Vesperbild, although illustrating an event in Christ's life, is essentially a Marian, not Christocentric image. It is the Virgin's suffering that invokes the compassion of the viewer, her emotions and situation that the viewer is called upon to contemplate. back

Note 57: KSB, 223. back

Note 58: "Si bettet ze einem mal vor dem grossen bilde, da sant Johannes rüwet vff vnsers herren hertzen, vnd stünd sant Mie von Rethershouen hinder ir öch an ir gebett vnd sah, das si als luter ward als ein cristalle vnd das reht ein schin eins liechtes von in gie. Das sah si all die wil, do si bettet vor dem bild." KSB, 130. back

Note 59: KSB, 152. back

Note 60: KSB, 261. On Christus-Johannes-Gruppen, see Die Christus-Johannes-Gruppen des 14. Jahrhunderts, Kunstbrief 41 (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1947); Hans Wentzel, "Christus-Johannes-Gruppe" in Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte, Stuttgart: Alfred Druckenmüller, 1937 ff, 658–669. Hereafter cited in text as RDK ; Hans Wentzel, "Unbekannte Christus-Johannes-Gruppen," Zeitschrift für Kunstwissenschaft 13 (1958): 155–176; Hans Wentzel, "Zum Thema der schwäbischen Christus-Johannes-Gruppen an Hand nichtschwäbischer Beispiele," in Beiträge zur Schwäbischen Kunstgeschichte: Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Werner Fleischhauer (Stuttgart: Jan Thorbecke, 1964), 35–48; and Reiner Haussherr, "Über die Christus-Johannes-Gruppen. Zum Problem 'Andachtsbilder' und deutsche Mystik ," in Beiträge zur Kunst des Mittelalters: Festschrift für Hans Wentzel zum 60. Geburtstag (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1975), 79–103. back

Note 61: The Last Supper can be found in many iconographic programs of refectories, especially among later medieval mendicants. "In the case of Florence, we discover the 'Last Supper' no less than fifteen times in the refectories of various religious houses (sometimes in a wider iconographic context), from the earliest representation of about 1340 in Santa Croce, up to the middle of the sixteenth century. . . " Wolfgang Braunfels, Monasteries of Western Europe: The Architecture of the Orders (London: Thames and Hudson, 1972), 145. back

Note 62: John 13:23-26 back

Note 63: Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie Liebieghaus, Inv. Nr. 1447. back

Note 64: Antwerp, Museum Mayer van der Bergh. back

Note 65: Hans Wentzel suggests that this "St. Johannesbild uss einem nussbom von meister Heinrich zue Constantz" refers to a sculpture that is no longer extant and does not refer to the piece in the Museum Mayer van der Bergh, Antwerp. Hans Wentzel, "Christus-Johannes-Gruppe" in RDK, 664. I, however, agree with Kneopfli that the passage refers to the piece currently in Antwerp. back

Note 66: Knoepfli dates the sculpture to 1400. The Historisches Museum in Basel, where the example is housed, dates it to 1350. back

Note 67: This image is in the sequence of small illuminations for the Proper of St. John in the Zurich gradual, [SNM LM, 26117]. One of them depicts John in the embrace of Christ [161r]. For more on this sequence of illuminations, see Chapter 4. back

Note 68: The entire passage reads, "Vnd rett do gar mineklich vnd gar süsseklich von sant Johannes, von der gnad, die er enpfieng vff gottes hertzen, vnd sprach: >Won sant Johannes ain rainy, luttry magt was vnd ain süsses hertz hat vnd me erfùllet was mit götlicher min denn die andren iunger alle, da von ward im die red als süss vnd als mineklich, die vnser her rett, das sin gaist also durchgossen ward von min vnd süssekait, das er sich legen mûst vff gottes hertzen, vnd mocht in jn der stund nichtes enthalten won der edel zart lib vnsers heren. Vnd trank er den hochen sin vnd den edlen ziper win der götlichen süssykait vnd der himelschlichen wunnsamykait, anders er möchty nit gestanden sin mornent vnder dem crútz, won da starb er mit got. Er starb mit got, won er stünd by vnser lieben frowen vnder dem hailgen crútz vnd hat sy vnder sinem armen. Vnd do vnser lieben frowen das schwert her Symyonis durch Jr hertz vnd sel gieng, do trukt er sy an sich. Vnd mit dem antruken do gieng das schwert durch sy baydy vnd durchschnaid och sant Johannes hertz vnd sin sel. Vnd wurdent also durchwundet vnd durchsert, vnd hety sy die göttlich kraft nit vff enthalten vnd gesterket, sy müsstind an der selben stund tod sin aines liplichen todes. Won das blüt, das von sinen wunden floss, vnd das wasser vnd das blüt, das von sinem hertzen floss, das goss nider vff sy. Vnd got drukt das jnsigel siner hailigen marter jn sy jn jr hertz vnd sel also, das sy ainer ietlichen wunden sunderlichen entpfundent. Vnd also starb sant Johannes mit got. Er starb och von got, won got der hat sich samenthaft gesenket jn sin sel vnd jn sin hertz, vnd das da geschach, das wurkt got jn jm. Er starb och in got, won got der zoch jn wider vff jn sich selb mit vollkomner gnad. Da von sond jr jn dik anrüffen jn vwren hertzen vnd sond ermanen, das er mit got vnd jn got starb vnder dem hailgen crútz, won also gestarb nie kain hailig me. Vnd wolt och got nit, das er kaines andren todes sturb. Vnd wenn jr jn des ermanent, so ist vnmuglich, das er vch iemer kaines dinges verziche vnd sunderlich jn der stund vwers todes." KSB, 176–77. back

Note 69: Most standard Crucifixion scenes from this period show John and Mary flanking the cross. back

Note 70: Although not a common depiction, the Sword of Sorrows or Simeon's Sword is iconographically based on Luke 2:34–35, "Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'This child is destined to be a sign which men reject; and you too shall be pierced to the heart.'" In his study of religious art in thirteenth-century France, Emile Mâle's discussion of Marian iconography includes this observation, "their presentation of the Virgin, a woman old before her time, who weeps over the bleeding face of her Son, became even more purely human, but the figure of the 'Mater dolorosa" which inspired so many masterpieces in the fifteenth century does not belong to the period of our study. On this point art is a little behind literature, for the faithful had long sung the StabatMater, had commemorated the seven sorrows of Our Lady, and had repeated with the doctors that she was 'martyr of martyrs.' Art had not yet dared to express this poignant grief, though here and there some isolated window shows the symbolic sword piercing her heart as she stands at the foot of the Cross, or some carved ivory shows the lance reaching from the side of Christ to the heart of His mother." Emile Mâle, The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), 237. Occasionally, multiple or seven swords are shown, representing the individual seven sorrows that the Virgin experienced at the Crucifixion. The "isolated window" that Male refers to is in the Upper Rhine at the heart of this study. In the Freiburg Münster, the Maler window located on the northside of the nave shows Mary with a sword piercing her heart. The stained glass window, completed between 1320 and 1330, depicts a typical Crucifixion scene with a Crucified Christ flanked by Mary on the left and John on the right. Out of Mary's chest protrudes a sword. Konrad Kunze, Himmel in Stein: Das Freiburger Münster (Freiburg: Herder, 1995), 40–41. Although larger scale Crucifixion scenes sometimes place John on the left with Mary, where he can support and embrace her as she collapses in anguish, I know of no depictions of John embracing Mary with the Sword of Sorrows. back

Note 71: Twenty-five of Suso's one hundred meditations in The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom focus on the suffering of Mary at the foot of the Cross. First describing Christ's perceptions of his mother's suffering before his death, Suso instructs the penitent to dwell on "6. How your [Christ's] gentle heart suffered when you alone recognized the depths of sorrow your Mother's heart was enduring! 7. You saw her gestures of longing. 8. You heard her words of grief. 9. And in this separation by death you entrusted her to your disciple to be his mother. 10. And you entrusted him to her as a son." Suso, 298. Suso then turns to the Virgin's experiences before Christ's death. "1. O pure, tender Mother, I recall to you today the profound suffering of your heart at that first sight of your dear Child hanging there in his death agony. 2. You could not come to his aid. 3. You had to look in anguish upon the murderers of your Child. 4. You grieved for him most sorrowfully. 5. And he consoled you with great kindness. 6. His kind words wounded your heart. 7. Your gestures of grief softened hard hearts. 8. Your motherly hands and arms were raised in vain. 9. Your weakened body sank helplessly. 10. Your tender mouth lovingly kissed his blood as it ran down." Suso, 298. In meditating on the Virgin's suffering after Christ's death, Suso provided a further ten points to be contemplated. "1. O exquisite Comfort for all sinners, sweet Queen, let me remind you today - when you stood beneath the cross and your Child had departed and was hanging dead in front of you - how often you looked up helplessly. 2. How his arms were taken by you, his Mother. 3. With what devotion he was pressed to your bloodstained face. 4. How his open wounds and his lifeless countenance were all kissed. 5. How often your heart was wounded. 6. How many times you deeply groaned. 7. How many bitter and desolate tears you shed. 8. Your words of grief were so very mournful. 9. Your attractive appearance was so very sad. 10. But your desolate heart could not be comforted by anyone." Suso, 300. back

Note 72: KSB, 175. back

Note 73: "Sant Johannes ist der gröst martrer, der ie gemartret ward, won do er vnder dem crútz stünd, do ward er also gemartrot mit dem grundlosen mitliden von vnsers herren marter, das er der gröst martrer ist in dem himelrich. Vnd da von maht er enkeines pinlichen todes me sterben." KSB, 125. back

Note 74: John the Baptist was the Order's patron saint because of his preaching. back

Note 75: Luke 1:80. back

Note 76: Matthew 3:4. back

Note 77: The piece is on loan from the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, Inv. Nr. Pe 484. The fifteenth-century argument about venerating the two Johns can be found in KSB, 180, although the story seems to have originated with Johannes Meyer, and not the nuns of St. Katharinenthal. Just because this sculpture survives does not mean it must be one of those described in the Sister-Book. The fact that most of the original paint is visible and the piece is in good condition leads me to believe that the statue spent most of its existence in a place more sheltered than the cloister arcade. back

Note 78: KSB, 180. This may be an addition made to the text by Johannes Meyer. back

Note 79: See Chapter 4 for more on these examples. back

Note 80: "Nun hat sy die gewonhait das sy gar dik bettet vor dem antlút das vor dem capitelhus hanget . . . " TSB, 46. back

Note 81: "Sy bettet och gewonlich vor únser frowen bild in der capell da die dry kúng stant." TSB, 27. back

Note 82: "Sy hatt sunderlich die gewonhait das sy sich in dem kor naigt fúr únser frowen bild, . . " TSB, 28. back

Note 83: USB, 346. back

Note 84: "Sy was och ze ainem zit uff der kapell an ir gebett, und do sach sy das die sälig S. Ellsy von Elgö vor dem schönen bild únser frowen knúwet und das ir lib oben dem gúrtel als lutter was als ain kristall . . . " TSB, 24. back

Note 85: TSB, 27. back

Note 86: USB, 414. back

Note 87: KSB, 139. back

Note 88: This is similar to the incident in the life of Mechthilt die Rittrin, which describes her interaction with a sculpture of the Holy Sepulcher mentioned earlier. KSB, 133. back

Note 89: AMF, Inv. Nr. 11, 441. Two other Mary figures (100 cm x 18 cm) dating to the third quarter of the thirteenth century survive from the Freiburg. They are more columnar than the Maria Magdelena example. One carries an ointment jar. AMF, Inv. Nr. S 36a,b/D. back

Note 90: Perhaps one similar to the focus of Mechthilt the Rittrin of St. Katharinenthal's devotion. KSB, 133. back

Note 91: AM, Codex St. Katharina A. back

Note 92: "Vnd do si verschied vnd man si in den kor trüg, do hort man in dem closter an zwein stetten die heiligen engel singen." KSB, 104. The angels singing in two places may also reflect the nuns' expectation for the angelic choirs to sing in a divided, double choir, much as the women did during Divine Office. A similar occurrence is described in KSB, 101. For more on singing angels, see Chapter 3. back

Note 93: Frankfurt, Stätische Galerie Leibieghaus - Museum alten Plastik, Inv. Nr. 803 and 804. back

Note 94: In a similar vein, the Cistercian female community of Wienhausen housed a series of Tristan tapestries. Marie Schuette and Sigrid Müller-Christensen, Das Stickereiwerk, (Tübingen, 1963), 38; and Norbert H. Ott, "Katalog der Tristan-Bildzeugnisse," in Text und Illustration im Mittelalter: Aufsätze zu den Wechselbeziehungen zwischen Literatur und bildender Kunst, ed. Hella Frühmorgen-Voss (Munich, 1975), 148–50. back

Note 95: This and the following wall-hanging are described with historical and stylistic consideration in Jutta Eißengarthen, Mittelalterliche Textilien aus Kloster Adelhausen im Augustinermuseum Freiburg (Freiburg: Adelhausenstiftung, 1985), 11–30. back

Note 96: AMF, Inv. Nr. 11507, 11506 and Basel, Historisches Museum, Inv. Nr.1901-134. back

Note 97: See Eißengarthen, 19–21, for the Alexander legend. back

Note 98: See below for Phyllis and Aristotle. back

Note 99: Eißengarthen, 11, 21. back

Note 100: Eißengarthen, 22. back

Note 101: AMF, Inv. Nr. 11508. back

Note 102: James A. Rushing, "Iwein as Slave of Woman: the Maltererteppich in Freiburg," Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 55 (1992), 126. back

Note 103: An Anna Malterer is listed under April in the 1354 Anniversary book of St. Katharine's. SAF B1 152, f. 10v. back

Note 104: Rushing, 129. back

Note 105: See Eißengarthen, 19. back

Note 106: See Eißengarthen, 18–19, and Rushing, 129, n.24 for a bibliography on Aristotle and Phyllis. back

Note 107: See Rushing, 128–29, n. 23 for a bibliography on Virgil in the basket. back

Note 108: This is Rushing's interpretation of the sequence, which is more plausible and in keeping with the other medallions than earlier theories. Rushing, 130. back

Note 109: Rushing, 132. back

Note 110: Rushing, 132, n. 42. back

Note 111: Rushing interprets the place of the wall-hanging in the monastery as follows: "establishing that the wall-hanging was probably made for the convent does not prove that it was intended as a visual sermon against cupidity or femininity, although the probability that the meaning was serious certainly increases with the probability that the context was religious. It thus may be impossible to say with certainty how the makers, patrons, and earliest users of the Malterer embroidery felt about the "slave of love" topos - whether they took it as a sort of joke, a lighthearted invocation of literary themes, or as a serious warning against the wiles of woman or against carnal love." Rushing, 134. back

Note 112: SNM, MS LM 26117. back

Note 113: SNM, MS LM 26117 f. 184v. back

Note 114: SNM, MS LM 26117 f. 177v. back

Note 115: Const., 16; Lat. Const., 341. back

Note 116: SAF A1/XVI A q (Reuerinnen), 21. November 1349. The word malen is used for the medium of the saints, so they appear to have been painting instead of sculptures. back

Note 117: "ein ewig naht lieht dar vber machen das alle naht brinne." SAF A1/XVI A q (Reuerinnen), 21. November 1349. back