Agnes of Quedlinburg (1184–1203)

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Agnes of Quedlinburg (1184–1203)

German abbess and artist. Name variations: Agnes of Meissen. Born in 1184 in Meissen, Germany; died in 1203 at the abbey of Quedlinburg.

It is not clear if Agnes of Quedlinburg felt a strong religious calling or if her parents could not afford a wedding dowry and so sent her to be cloistered, but she entered the large, wealthy convent of Quedlinburg at a young age. At the convent, Agnes received an exceptional education as well as artistic training. Quedlinburg housed a major scriptorium (where manuscripts were copied and illustrated), and so its abbess ensured that many of its nuns learned calligraphy, miniature painting, and other aspects of manuscript production. Agnes' artistic abilities garnered her much attention. Not only was she a talented writer familiar with the works of the ancient pagan philosophers as well as those of contemporary writers, but she painted both miniatures and scenes from Greek mythology for the abbey, as well as contributing to the abbey's tapestry production. Her deep piety led her to be chosen abbess of Quedlinburg before she was 20, a very rare occurrence, though she died only a short time later.

Laura York , Anza, California

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Agnes of Quedlinburg (1184–1203)

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