From the extreme edge of the firmament, Hildegard contemplates the wheel of creation that springs from the heart of God, a cosmological instrument in which mankind resides, described in size and proportions, and in the internal movements of the soul and the body. This is the scenario in the Book of Divine Works. It is a long sequence of ten scenes that invites human beings to climb the road of virginitas, towards the re-composition of their own selves in union with the divine Caritas.
The refined miniatures in the Lucca manuscript – reproduced in the central plates of the book with a simple key illustrating their symbolic significance – were produced about twenty years after Hildegard’s death, and provide a masterful illustration of the architecture of her vision. The dialogue with the images from her first work Scivias (A Journey into the Images, Skira 2019) has cast light on the unifying design that connects them, activating a process of figurative re-transcription of the work.
Following the sapiential instructions on dimensions and proportions, and inserting the shapes and colours taken from the Scivias miniatures, constructed according to Hildegard’s own instructions, the individual elements described have been redrawn. The use of three-dimensional design has produced vibrant visions of a spherical cosmos, a luminous heavenly vault, a precise anatomy of the human body and the plasticity of the civitas dei (city of God), revealed in the large plates at the end of each chapter. The analysis of the construction lines of the miniatures in the Lucca manuscript and the subtle constructive syllogism of the visions enable us to perceive, outlined in a few brief strokes, the eternal presence of mankind in the heart of God.