Please email for price: email@example.com
Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 24" x 24" x 2"
In the biblical book of Proverbs, we find four poems dedicated to Lady Wisdom. My interest was piqued when I read in chapter eight that this mysterious figure was the artisan at the Creator’s side, personifying the wise blueprint by which the cosmos was created. We often think of wisdom as head knowledge, but in Jewish wisdom literature it is better understood as practical knowledge, extending even to botany and music. [i]
The 12th century Benedictine abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen lived out this embodied wisdom. With a deep respect for the Creator and creation, she was the first to study scientific natural history in Germany. [ii] Like the female artisan of Proverbs delighting in creation, Hildegard loved music and pioneered the first musical, allowing nuns under her care to perform moral plays, even letting down their hair and wearing colourful dresses.
I drew these strands of inspiration into my new muse, Sophíā (Greek for wisdom). Here she is accompanied by a Marvelous Spatuletail. This endangered hummingbird, which only lives in the Andean forest of northern Peru, dons costume-like iridescent plumage and extravagant long tail feathers tipped with purple discs. The American Bird Conservancy has partnered with local Peruvians to create the Huembo Reserve to protect this unique species.
In our modern technocratic society, both religious and secular people are prone to an “excarnate” existence, living life solely in our heads and not in our bodies, leading to an alienation from the physical world all around us. Sadly, children are largely growing up indoors on screens, and are not outside experiencing nature with their five senses––developing Nature-Deficit Disorder, as chronicled in Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods.
Throughout my painting series, Sophia’s adventures illustrate that now more than ever we must embody divine wisdom in our relations with one another and the earth.
[i] 1 Kings 4:31-34
[ii] Hildegard, Physica and Causae et Curae.
top of page
bottom of page