Emblems and the Natural World

Since its invention by Andrea Alciato, the emblem is inextricably connected to the natural world. Alciato and his followers drew massively their inspiration from it. For their information about nature, the emblem authors were greatly indebted to ancient natural history, the medieval bestiaries, and the 15th- and 16th-century proto-emblematics, especially the imprese. The natural world became the main topic of, for instance, Camerarius’s botanical and zoological emblem books, and also of the ‘applied’ emblematics in drawings and decorative arts. Animal emblems are frequently quoted by naturalists (Gesner, Aldrovandi). This interdisciplinary volume aims to address these multiple connections between emblematics and Natural History in the broader perspective of their underlying ideologies – scientific, artistic, literary, political and/or religious.

Contributors: Alison Saunders, Anne Rolet, Marisa Bass, Bernhard Schirg, Maren Biederbick, Sabine Kalff, Christian Peters, Frederik Knegtel, Agnes Kusler, Aline Smeesters, Astrid Zenker, Tobias Bulang, Sonja Schreiner, Paul Smith, and Karl Enenkel.

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Karl Enenkel is Professor of Medieval Latin and Neo-Latin at the University of Münster. Previously he was Professor of Neo-Latin at the University of Leiden. He has published widely on international Humanism, early modern culture, paratexts, literary genres 1300-1600, Neo-Latin emblems, word and image relationships, and the history of scholarship and science.

Paul J. Smith is Professor of French literature at Leiden University. He has widely published on 16th, 17th, and 20th century French literature, its reception in the Netherlands, French and Dutch fable and emblem books, literary rhetoric, intermediality, and animal symbolism and early modern zoology, and its presence in art and literature.
Emblems and the Natural World is not simply a series of motif studies; instead, it offers the first major foray into what must become a vital subject of analysis for emblem scholars. […]. With its painstakingly researched essays and gorgeous and plentiful full-color illustrations, [it] will surely inspire new growth in the field of emblem studies and further research into the complex literary and artistic symbolism of the natural world.”
Deanna Smid, Brandon University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 1 (spring 2019), pp. 281-283.

Emblems and the Natural World is a handsomely produced volume, laid out clearly, sturdy in the hand, and generously illustrated throughout, often in color, and with a crisp quality that throws up a pleasing degree of detail. […] this is a volume to be highly commended, full of interest, variety, depth of argument, and fresh insights into one of the defining territories of the early modern emblem: its dependence upon the rich abundance of the Liber naturae.”
Simon McKeown, Marlborough College. In: Emblematica, Vol. 2 (2018), pp. 371-378.

Acknowledgements Notes on the Editors Notes on the Contributors List of Illustrations 1 Introduction: Emblems and the Natural World (ca. 1530–1700)Karl Enenkel and Paul J. Smith

Part 1: Emblemetic Zoology—Zoological Emblem Books

2 “Natural” or “Unnatural”? Representation of the Animal World in Early French Emblem BooksAlison Saunders 3 Camerarius’s Quadrupeds (1595): A Plinius Emblematicus as a Mirror of PrincesKarl Enenkel 4 Joachim Camerarius’s Emblem Book on Birds (1596), with an Excursus on America’s Great SealPaul J. Smith 5 Ichthyology and Emblematics in Conrad Gesner’s Historia piscium and Joachim Camerarius the Younger’s Symbola et EmblemataSophia Hendrikx 6 The Daphnic Fate of Camerarius. Sweden’s First Printed Emblem Book Revealed in Olof Rudbeck the Younger’s Botanical Dissertation (1686)Bernhard Schirg 7 Tradition and Empirical Observation—Nature in Giovio’s and Symeoni’s Dialogo Dell’ Imprese from 1574Maren C. Biederbick

Part 2: Emblem Books on Physical Phenomena

8 Comets—Celestial Objects in the Emblem Tradition of the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth CenturySabine Kalff 9 Atmospheric Pressure: Natural Philosophy, Political Didactics and the Exigencies of Praise in Franz Reinzer’s Meteorologia Philosophico-Politica (1698)Christian Peters

Part 3: The Applied Use of Natural Emblems, Especially in Monarchial and Courtly Contexts

10 Transcending the Natural World: A Developing Sublime in André Félibien’s Tapisseries du RoyFrederik Knegtel 11 ‘Maiestatis Hungariae Aquila’: Christoph Lackner and the Hieroglyph of the Habsburg EagleAgnes Kusler 12 The Secretion of a Pearl as a Symbol for the Birth of a PrinceAline Smeesters 13 The Taming of the Lion: Passions, Power and Religion in Achille Bocchi’s Symbolicae Quaestiones (Bologna, 1555)Anne Rolet

Part 4: The Hermeneutic and Didactic Use of the Natural World

14 The Sagacity of Owls and the Mimetic Obscurity of Emblems in Joris Hoefnagel’s Four ElementsMarisa Anne Bass 15 The Owl and the Birds: Speeches, Emblems, and FountainsAstrid Zenkert 16 Hermeneutic Animals—Johann Fischart’s Use of Emblems in his German Translation of RabelaisTobias Bulang 17 Orbis pictus For Boys—Emblematics for Men: Some Remarks on Learning by Studying Pictures and Interpreting RiddlesSonja Schreiner Index Nominum
Emblem Studies, Literary History (early modern period), book illustration and word-image relations, History of Science and Scholarship, Art History, Sixteenth-century studies, Jesuit Studies, Humanism, History of Ideas.