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date: 26 February 2021

Emblem booklocked

  • Jochen Becker

Extract

Artistic genre that flourished in Europe particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, though it continued beyond this. An emblem (Gr. emblema, originally meaning ‘inlaid work’, ‘mosaic’) combines both words and images, the interpretation of which requires intellectual effort and results in the communication of a moral lesson. Emblems generally consist of three parts: a short, often Classical, motto (lemma, inscriptio), a pictorial representation or icon (pictura) and the explanation of the link between them in an epigram (subscriptio). The earliest and most important emblem book is the Emblematum liber (Augsburg, 1531) by Andrea Alciati . Though its meaning derives largely from the work of Alciati, the emblem was from the beginning an ambiguous concept, covering a variety of connections between word and image. These interrelations arose from the fashionable idea of Ut pictura poesis and were propagated by the techniques of printing. The term continues to be applied and defined in different ways and is in some cases used in tandem with that of the ...

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[flourished]
O. Schmitt and others, eds: Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte (Stuttgart, Metzler and Munich, 1937–)