Emblems in the visual arts use motifs which have meanings, and in Emblems in Scotland Michael Bath, leading authority on Renaissance emblem books, shows how such symbolic motifs address major historical issues of Anglo-Scottish relations, the Reformation of the Church and the Union of the Crowns. Emblems are enigmas, and successive chapters ask for instance: Why does a late-medieval rood-screen show a jester at the Crucifixion? Why did Elizabeth I send Mary Queen of Scots tapestries showing the power of women to build a feminist City of God? Why did a presbyterian minister of Stirling decorate his manse with hieroglyphics? And why in the twentieth-century did Ian Hamilton Finlay publish a collection of Heroic Emblems?
Motifs and Meanings
Allotting the Scarlet and the Purple
Catherine Gines Taylor
In Late Antique Images of the Virgin Annunciate Spinning: allotting the scarlet and the purple, Catherine Gines Taylor traces the way early Christians assimilated the symbolism of spinning into images of the Annunciation. Taylor offers an art historical and interdisciplinary look at the earliest images of Mary spinning, underscoring the iconographic model of idealized matronage consistent with lay piety and the cult of Mary. The personal and domestic nature of this motif is evidence toward popular Mariological devotion that preceded the exclusive, semi-divine presentation of the Theotokos, and stands in contrast with traditional ascetic models for Mary.