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In: Gateways to the Book

The title page for the six books on optics by Franciscus Aguilonius shows optics as a science in its own right, as the queen of mathematical sciences. It also offers a visual discussion on the importance of the science within the Jesuit belief and educational system. Drawing on a well-known visual language consisting of allegorical, mythological and architectural elements, Rubens elevates Optics to the status of a queen, while also emphasising the connection of vision, the passions and knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. This connection is not only the key to understanding of Rubens’s title page, but it explains the awkward outdatedness of Aguilonius’s book, in that it does not touch upon Kepler’s latest theories. The book was nevertheless important for Jesuit teaching in the following decades. This article offers a reading of the Aguilonius title page in its historical context.

In: Explorations in Renaissance Culture
In: Gateways to the Book
Frontispieces and Title Pages in Early Modern Europe
Gateways to the Book investigates the complex image–text relationships between frontispieces and illustrated title pages on the one hand and texts on the other, in European books published between 1500 and 1800. Although interest in this broad field of research has increased in the past decades, many varieties of title pages and a great deal of printers and books remain as yet unstudied. The fifteen essays collected in this volume tackle this field with a great variety of academic approaches, asking how the images can be interpreted, how the texts and contexts shape their interpretation, and how they in turn shape the understanding of the text.