Medieval Mystics: Artistic Inquiry and Printmaking

Spring 2019
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Sweet square
printmaking, drawing

Mysticism is intuitive, interior vision; a complex spiritual gift accompanied by paradisiacal visions or wracking pain, ecstasy, or torment. Visions experienced by Christian women were particularly empowering in the 12th through 16th centuries. Hildegard of Bingen's visions were published as Scivias ; Joan of Arc’s voices prompted her to lead the French army against British occupiers; Julian of Norwich described her visions as “showings;" Catherine of Siena became a Doctor of the Church; and the Rhineland Dominican mystics created their own devotional images to cultivate mystical experience. All experienced mystical visions or heard voices they perceived as divinely inspired. While possessing little or none of the education or status of men, their unique way of experiencing and communicating with God catapulted mystics and visionaries to acclaim and authority that women rarely held in the middle ages.

Half of this program will be devoted to humanities-based research of women saints and mystics. The other half will explore research-based artistic practice. We will study the writings, visions, and lives of a select group of women mystics. Reading and writing will be central as we synthesize research for artistic expression through printmaking. Students will learn basic intaglio printmaking and woodcut printmaking (black and white), with an emphasis on collaborative production, and developing basic skills to design and create a small series of printed images based upon research.

This will be an intensive inquiry requiring impeccable time-management and tolerance and respect for text-based research, Christian/religious beliefs, and the ways those beliefs have been experiences and described. Plan for a minimum of 40 hours of work each week completing readings and writing assignments, and engaging in seminars and studio practice. This program is an advanced art-and-humanities program; experience with close reading of academic and primary texts will be beneficial. Students with no prior artistic experience are welcome.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: visual arts and the humanities.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Approximately $100 for printing paper and copper plates.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia