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Guda (fl. late 12th c.)

Guda (fl. late 12th c.)

German nun and artist. Flourished in the late 12th century in Westphalia, Germany; never married; no children.

A German nun, Guda worked in the scriptoria of her convent at Westphalia. Few of her works have been identified, but she left her mark on one particular manuscript. It is a homiliary (book of sermons) for which she prepared the miniatures and decorated the ornate capital letters. Eager to be remembered by the book's readers, Guda painted a charming portrait of herself standing within a capital D. It is a simple image of a woman in a nun's habit, solemnly holding up one hand in the traditional gesture of an oath. With her other hand, Guda grasps a curve in the middle of the letter, along which she painted the words Guda peccatrix mulier scripsit et pinxit hunc librum ("The sinful woman Guda wrote and painted this book"). Nothing else is known about Sister Guda.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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