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HUMANITIES 187 Passion.' The potential for too literal a degree of imitation in terms of physical penance would be curbed by the picture's caption 'Not what I will but what thou wilt.' These words, resonating differently for the suffering Christ and the meditating nun, served to reinforce monastic obedience. Chapter 3 analyses two symbolic Crucifixions, deciphering the creative ways of enlisting the viewer's identification through imitation and vision. Thus in one drawing the viewer, witnessing the crucified and pierced body of Christ, is asked to identify with Mary - pierced by five swords and positioned over the cross. But in the second, construed by Hamburger as a kind of 'close-up' of the first, the enlarged heart-shaped wound in Christ's side opens up to reveal a nun (the viewer) happily enclosed within. The two images I epitomize an entire system of devotion, one predicated on the worshiper's ability to close the distance between herself and God through a step-by-step imitatio Christi.' Yet, while abetting prayer and meditation, suchimagery, however idiosyncratic, is stillexpressive ofa corporate ethos. This is especially apparent in chapter 4, which examines two representations of the soul enclosed within a heart. One envisions the soul merrily feasting at an eucharistic banquet within Christ's heart with the church, representing the entire community, framed in the background. A second presents the heart as a house enclosing the soul and the Trinity. But now the heart of the nun rather than the heart of Christ is being indicated, powerfully affirming the roles of both community and enclosure. Among the great strengths of the book are its enlistment of a wide set of sources to illuminate the meaning of the drawings in question and its deployment of the drawings themselves to interpret the piety of medieval women. Thus mystics such as Mechtild of Hackehurn or Lukardis of Oberweimar are invoked to shed light on the Christology of the images in question. By the same token, Hamburger also cites the advice of women such as Catherine of Siena to make the wounds of Christ Olle's home, implying possible elucidations of the visual component of Catherine,swords. This book wonderfully complements Caroline Walker Bynum's insights regarding woman's somatic spirituality and Chiara Frugoni's work on mental vision and meditation. Moreover, Hamburger's sensitive exploration of the calculated way images were intended to shape private prayer points to the continuum between ordinary female piety and the extraordinary experiences of the mystic. In short, Nuns as Artists is an invaluable bridge between 'vision' and 'visions.' (DYAN ELLIOTT) Victoria Dickenson. Drawn from Life: Science and Art in the Portrayal of the New World University of Toronto Press. xvi, 320,57 plates. $24ยท95 In the first three hundred years ofEuropean colonization ofNorth America, naturalists and curious travellers transported countless birds, fish, insects, mammals, trees, and plants back to European centres. The creatures went 188 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 sometimes alive (and often unhappy), orsuspended in spirits or stuffed; the plants went in pots and boxes, or as seeds and dried specimens enfolded in paper. These biota were described in tales of wonder, promotional tracts, catalogues, published travel letters, and taxonomic systems. And Victoria Dickenson shows her readers in her splendid and compendious new book that these novel natural things were pictured. In watercolour, hand-tinted copperplate etchings, and woodcuts, as figures in maps or as individual specimens in expensive folio'books, images ofNorth Americannature were copiously produced and avidly consumed. 'Emphasizing the Nearctic rather than tropical regions of the New World, Dickenson has gathered together into one rich volume images and related textual descriptions of North American, flora, fauna, and landscape produced by Europeans from the early sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Beginning with the appearance of animals on maps, she argues that rough types of familiar animals (bear, deer, and fox) used 'to mark the territory as part of God's creation' were gradually replaced in the late sixteenth century by 'caricatures' of exotic creatures (su, bison, and simivulpa) that became 'emblems of first-hand observation.' In contrast to this trend of caricature, some artists of the same period (especially eyewitnesses working in watercolour) were...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 187-189
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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