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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art


Flourished circa 600, Poitiers, France

Baudonivia was a nun and scholar at the convent of Poitiers who, between 600 and 602, was asked by the other nuns to compose a memoir of their founder, Radegund. Relying on memory (Baudonivia knew Radegund as a child), an earlier biography written by the bishop and poet Venantius Fortunatus, and hagiographical sources, Baudovinia created a portrait of a deeply devout but politically shrewd woman who used her worldly power to sustain the monastery. Scholars have noted the thematic differences between Fortunatus’ and Baudonivia’s biographies: whereas the former focuses on Radegund’s deference to authority, the latter highlights her role as diplomat and protector of her community of nuns.