Volume XXII (2016)

Emblematica: an Interdisciplinary Journal for Emblem Studies, 22
Edited by Mara R. Wade
ISSN 2571-5070
ISBN-13 978-2-600-05965-7
244 p.

Preface to Volume 22


David Graham
“Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts”: Lessons from the History of Emblem Studies

The “deep history” of emblem studies extends back in time to Alciato’s famous preface, but its progress has in recent years been spectacular. The emblem has moved from the margins to the mainstream of early modern scholarship. Emblem scholars have achieved huge advances in making a wealth of digitized emblem books publicly accessible. Great strides have been made in theoretical and methodological sophistication. This “golden age of emblem studies” may also have a darker side, however. This essay explores these issues and offers some thoughts about what may lie ahead.

Michael Bath and Theo Heijnsbergen
Paradin Politicized: Some New Sources for Scottish Paintings

Identification of the sources for two emblematic subjects used in decorative painting of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in Scotland suggests a political context for their interpretation. At two different sites to be discussed in this article—the Skelmorlie Aisle in Ayrshire with its decorative painting on boards, and Castle Ruthven, near Perth, where a fireplace once displayed a sententious inscription—emblems adapted from printed emblem books are shown to refer to issues of their day. Two clearly emblematic details in the Skelmorlie Aisle, showing the figures of Justice and Fortitude, have hitherto remained unsourced but can now be shown to copy prints by Jacob Matham after Hendrik Goltzius. These are represented on the painted ceiling in a way that corresponds closely to two half-panels at the opposite end of the aisle, which are known to copy Whitney’s emblem “In utrumque paratus” [Prepared for either]. The fact that this same emblem, which goes back to Paradin, was used most notably as the dedicatory frontispiece to Beza’s Icones, celebrating the founders of the reformed church, suggests the political context in which this emblem was being used at this period. That context also makes sense of the Latin distich that the Earl of Gowrie painted above his fireplace in Castle Ruthven, which can now be shown to have been extracted from La Perrière’s Morosophie, where it sums up the emblem “Veritas filia temporis” [Truth the daughter of Time]. Well-known studies of this topos in England have established its close association with both the defense of Catholicism by Mary I and its Reformation un- der Elizabeth, and this suggests a political context for its use in Castle Ruthven, where in 1582 the young King James VI was taken hostage by the “Ruthven Raiders” in an attempt to preserve and control the establishment of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland.execution of the emblems.

Alison Saunders
More French Emblematic Predecessors, Godly and Amorous

The animal world in particular provided a rich source of material for emblem writers—materials that could be used to reflect on the human condition in general, or could be more specifically angled toward a religious message. Indeed, as has been seen in the case of Aneau’s and Guéroult’s Decades de la description des animaux and Blason des oyseaux, the original text could be revamped in later versions to offer a religious interpretation quite different from the intent of the original authors. The purpose of this article is to take these instances as a starting point, from which to look backward and trace the ways in which earlier emblematic predecessors also exploited the world of birds and animals, not only for generally moralistic purposes, but also more specifically for religious purposes, and—particularly interestingly—for amorous purposes as well. The works discussed will include early sixteenth-century editions of the anonymous Dictz des bestes & aussi des oyseaulx and a section of Pierre Gringore’s 1521 Menus propos that deals specifically with the world of animals and birds.This article examines the distinctive form, function, and meaning of Goltzius’s scriptural allegories of the late 1570s, asking how they combine two species of hermeneutic machina-that of the biblical loci communes, as codified by Coornhert, and that of the biblical emblem.

Lucy Razzall
“Non intus ut extra”: The Emblematic Silenus in Early Modern Literature

This article explores the emblematic identity of the Silenus figure, a statue concealing beautiful images inside an ugly exterior, to which Alcibiades compares Socrates in Plato’s Symposium. In a letter to a fellow poet in the early seventeenth century, William Drummond refers to the Silenus as if it were an emblem, yet it has a curiously limited presence in emblem literature and is rarely illustrated, despite its usefulness as a literary archetype for the hiddenness of virtue. I trace depictions of the Silenus statue in Italian, English, and French sources, and offer some suggestions as to why it resists visual depiction in early modern literature.

John Mulryan
Captioned Images of Venus in Vincenzo Cartari’s Imagini

Vincenzo Cartari’s Imagini was the first Italian mythography composed in the vernacular. While not an emblem book per se, the Imagini shares many features of the emblem books, including images, captions, material in foreign tongues, and references to proverbial literature. Six of the Cartari editions contain captions framing the images, editions that create a more user-friendly and comprehensive synthesis of word and image than ordinarily found in the emblem books. Unlike many of the emblem books, the Cartari images (drawn from Bolignino Zaltieri and Filippo Ferroverde) are very much in dialogue with Cartari’s text. In fact, Cartari himself praised Zaltieri’s images and commented on their significant illumination of the text of the Imagini. The eleven captioned images of Venus presented here (her birth, her androgyny, her associations with Cupid, her militaristic nature, her relationship with Amonian Jupiter, and her connection with childbirth and marriage) are intimately fused with Cartari’s text, with the captions acting as pointers toward those portions of the text explored in the images (analogues with emblem books by a variety of authors are also provided). The result is a marvelous synthesis of text, image, and caption, creating a synchrony of the visual and written traditions unmatched in other visual forms.

Simon McKeown
“Imitation” and “Idea” in Eighteenth-Century English Painting: William Hoare of Bath, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the Emblematic Inheritance

Studies of the English emblem have often regarded the eighteenth century as an era in which the emblem lost cultural status and was acknowledged only as a vehicle for low-church piety or children’s literature. This article presents two paintings from the latter part of the century that problematize such a view. These pictures, by leading figures of England’s fledgling Royal Academy, are seemingly indebted to emblems by the Flemish master Otto Vaenius, and present evidence of the form and “idea” of his emblems being carried through both conspicuous and concealed channels of imitation to the highest social milieux of their age.

Michael Bath
Books and Buildings: Recursive Emblems in the Applied Art

Emblems and epigraphic inscriptions both have an inherent capacity to sum up the mentality, ideology, or values of the building itself and its owner. The ways they do this in three particular buildings are analysed in the present article. In the decoration of the bunte Kammer at Ludwigsburg, Schleswig, several of the emblem picturæ borrowed from printed emblem books are adapted to represent the building itself, and, in one case, the actual room that contains them. Equally self-referential are several of the inscriptions painted above groups of related emblems in the painted closet of Anne Drury at Hardwick, Suffolk, where “Parva sed apta mihi” [Small but fit for me] sums up the modest pretensions of the room, while “Nunquam minus sola quam cum sola” [Never less alone than when alone] has been shown to change the gender of the adjectives to correspond to that of its female owner. A similarly self-reflective grammatical change to a borrowed emblem motto is that which accompanies the Horatian emblem, “Nihil amplius opto” [I choose nothing more], in Alexander Seton’s neo-Stoic long gallery at Pinkie House, Musselburgh, where the ending of Vaenius’s verb optat is changed from third- to first-person singular, thus attributing its utterance to the figure beneath it, in which Vaenius’s pictura has been altered to show a portrait of Seton himself. Such recursive moments of self-reflection may be rare, but they nevertheless underline the fundamental role that applied emblems tend to play in defining the functions of the buildings that contain them.


Anne Rolet and Stéphane Rolet, eds.
André Alciat (1492–1550) Un humaniste au confluent des savoirs dans l’Europe de la
by Valérie Hayaert

Aleksandr Makhov.
Emblematika: Makrokosm [Emblematica: Macrocosm],
by Tatiana Artemyeva

Nicholas J. Crowe.
Jeremias Drexel’s ‘Christian Zodiac.’ Seventeenth-Century Publishing Sensation. A Critical Edition, Translated and with an Introduction & Notes,
by Peter Daly

Hanna Pahl, ed.
Emblematic Strategies in Contemporary Art, Selected Papers from the Workshop Emblematic Strategies at the University of Kiel, July 29–31, 2014
by Valérie Hayaert

Christine McCall Probes and Sabine Mödersheim, eds.
The Art of Persuasion. Emblems and Propaganda,
by Nathalie Carré

Francesco Lucioli,
Amore punito e disarmato. Parola e immagine da Petrarca all’ Arcadia,
by Alexandre Vanautgaerden

Valérie Hayaert and Antoine Garapon.
Allégories de Justice. La grand’chambre du Parlement de Flandre,
by Jean Michel Massing

Volume Index