Chapter 21 Self-reflection in a Troubled Age: Gillis Anselmo’s album amicorum and an Astrolabe Made by Michiel Coignet

In: Imago and Contemplatio in the Visual Arts and Literature (1400–1700)
Christine Göttler
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Friendship books or alba amicorum were objects in motion; created by different authors in different places, often over a fairly long period of time, they travelled with their owners across religious, political, and geographical boundaries. In times of war and crisis they reaffirmed trust and loyalty between relatives and friends. Emotionally charged and often religious in tone, their entries provide insight into the variety of possible religious orientations which characterized the dynamically expanding world at the turn of the seventeenth century. The focus of this essay is the album amicorum of the young Gillis Anselmo (1575–1602), whose family had left Antwerp for the Northern Netherlands after the city was recaptured for the Catholic Habsburgs by Alessandro Farnese in 1585. It will be shown that with its multiple references to different material objects, images, and texts the album helped forge a community whose members shared not only moral and ethical values but also the experience of migration and exile.

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