Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century abbess who went down in history as a saint and polymath. She was well versed in many disciplines and proved herself as a scientist, musician, poet and an artist. She authored many illuminated manuscripts, most notable of which is the Scivias that was illuminated with 34 illuminations based on her visions, among which are also numerous depictions of female figures.
The female figures are constructed as personifications of abstract ideas, carrying various themes and interpretations – one of the most common figures in Scivias is Ecclesia, to whom Hildegard commonly returned. She has depicted her in various contexts and used different symbols to present her in a completely different light. The state and mentality of 12th century society is thus revealed from her multi-dimensional treatment of female figures, giving us a unique insight into her own perception of the world and societal gender roles of the era.