nuns artists

This section is devoted to nuns, who, in the spirit of Hildegard, are/were also practicing, professional artists.

A work-in-progress. We welcome your suggestions.


Suor Plautilla Nelli TOSD (1524–1588) was a self-taught artist—the first-known female Renaissance painter of Florence, Italy. She was a nun of the Dominican convent of Santa Caterina da Siena, and was heavily influenced by the teachings of Savonarola and by the artwork of Fra Bartolomeo.

Born into a wealthy family, she became a nun at the age of fourteen, eventually elected prioress three times. The convent was managed by the Dominican friars, led by Savonarola, whose preachings promoted devotional painting and drawing by religious women to avoid sloth, thus the convent became a center for nun-artists. Her sister, also a nun, Costanza, (Suor Petronilla) wrote a life history of Savonrola.

Nelli enjoyed the esteemed favor of many patrons (including women), executing large pieces and miniatures and is given credit for designing the initial capital letter, used in manuscripts…(click to read more…)

-Images & info gleaned from wikipedia 

In the course of researching Sour Plautilla Nelli,
I came across a wonderful site:
Invisible Women
…a part of the
Advancing Women Artists Foundation

“Our quest is engendered by curiosity; our mission is fed by conviction. Women artists must be celebrated and their work must be seen. Both their past and their future must be fully reclaimed—a single artwork at a time.” -Dr. Jane Fortune, author, art collector, philanthropist, Advancing Women Artists Foundation, Founder and Chair 

Corita Kent’s art reflects her spirituality, her commitment to social justice, her hope for peace, and her delight in the world around us. 

Corita kent Love Stamp

Sister Mary Corita Kent (1918 – 1986), was born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa. An artist and an educator, she worked almost exclusively with silkscreen and serigraphy, helping to establish it as a fine art medium. Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. (She designed the 1985 USA “love” stamp.)

Corita Kent 2After high school, she entered the order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles. She took classes at Otis College of Art and Design and Chouinard Art Institute and earned her BA from Immaculate Heart College in 1941. She earned her MA at the University of Southern California in Art History in 1951.  She taught in the Immaculate Heart College and was the chairman of its art department. She left the order in 1968 and moved to Boston, where she devoted herself to making art. She died of cancer in 1986.

Her work may be purchased at the Corita Art Center which supports the ongoing charitable programs of the Immaculate Heart Community.
-gleaned from wikipedia


arrowAmong her friends were Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, Saul Bass, Buckminster Fuller, and Charles and Ray Eames.

Connections: This image is of my father in the ’50s, sitting in one of two Eames chairs (designed as “his” and “hers”). My son Justin, now an industrial designer with a focus on furniture, is in possession of them. The photo was taken by my Aunt Jane, a photographer.   My father also knew Bucky Fuller (barely), and for a long time we had a portable geodesic dome stored in our garage. Though, honestly, at the time I had no idea who she was, Corita Kent had an enormous influence on my art and philosophy. My Aunt Marie, loved her work and often gave me her cards and posters.me3


Sister Gabriele Uhlein, OSF, Ph.D. is dedicated to the recovery of the Christian mystical tradition and the honoring of intuition and creativity in spiritual deepening. She is well known for her Franciscan approach to contemplative ecological consciousness and conducts workshops grounded in the wisdom of the Christian mystics as well as contemporary spiritual thought, both East and West. staff for spiritual retreatsHer mandala making and intuitive painting sessions are creative personal growth opportunities and she also offers individual intuition training and creativity coaching sessions. In 1983 Gabriele authored a small book: Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen. She has been sharing her love of Hildegard ever since. Every September she hosts a Hildegard Fest at the Christine Center and a “Hilde-garden” is newly evolving.


The Christine Center

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