Showcasing Digital Resources: Emblems and Renaissance Festival Books

Mara R. Wade
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 Wade, Mara R. “Showcasing Digital Resources: Emblems and Renaissance Festival Books,” Emblem Digitization: Conducting Digital Research with Renaissance Texts and Images, ed. Mara R. Wade. Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 20 (2012): 9. <URL:>.

“Mechanical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents something new.”[1]

Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction


1.      The difference between the German original of Walter Benjamin’s famous pronouncement and its commonly accepted English translation offers new meaning for the digital age. The original German reads: “Dem gegenüber ist die technische Reproduktion des Kunstwerks etwas Neues….” Like many other fields, the activity of translation is culturally bound: in this case to the then relatively new means of mechanical production and the ability to mass produce art. With advances in graphic user interfaces such as Mosaic that enabled the emergence of the web,[2] it is now more appropriate to translate the phrase in the following manner: “Technical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents something new.” The title of Benjamin’s work, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Artwork in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility) further underscores this difference. The change in nuance is not insignificant, because the concept of “technical reproduction” admits the inclusion of digital reproduction. While mechanical production can be said to make many facsimiles that are then physically dispersed in many geographically remote locations—think of the print revolution, whereby many copies of a given book could be printed and distributed worldwide—a digital work is present on the web worldwide for many people who visit the website from wherever they happen to be—work, home, or on the road. These conceptual shifts in human ideas about time, space, and art have meaning for the creation and curation of historical digital resources, such as the Renaissance emblems with their bimedial manifestation of texts and images presented in the project “Emblematica Online.”[3] In the age of digital reproduction, the print and material culture of the Renaissance can be increasingly copresent with the modern world, and the premiere collections of emblematica physically held at diverse locations worldwide can now be studied from New Zealand and Japan, for example.[4]

2.      In his essay, “Modeling: A Study in Words and Meanings,” Willard McCarty suggests “modeling” as the term to be used to articulate the work performed in digital humanities projects. McCarty postulates two phases of modeling important for this research—first construction and then manipulation.[5] Digital emblem scholarship, while still also in the construction phase of its databases, metadata and image files, and the portal, has also progressed into the manipulation phase with tool design, strategies for sharing, and links to other research sources. Emblematica Online with its OpenEmblem Portal has begun to aggregate sources from geographically remote locations and at various levels of granularity from the book to the individual emblem level. Because of its rich metadata and the provision of worldwide unique emblem identifiers, the OpenEmblem Portal is entering a new phase of extensible, integrated digital resources. This paper explores some existing digital resources that offer ways of thinking about the future potential for linking and studying emblems and their related sources in context.

 3.      Building on McCarty’s idea of modeling, another concept that informs this paper is that of the “emblematic game.” This concept derives from Hans Brandhorst’s and Peter van Huisstede’s ideas about how emblems—those polysemic, often elusive, juxtapositions of texts and images—function by association, suggesting multiple interpretations in a compressed form. Brandhorst and Huisstede extend the “emblematic game” to the art of “copia,” which they derive from Erasmus’ thinking on the adage “festina lente” (make haste slowly) and the device of the anchor and dolphin. They define “copia” in the sense of “cornucopia,” or abundance, as the dual goal of embellishment evidenced in richness of style as well as that of subject matter. “Copia” also entails the aptness of the message.[6]

 4.      These concepts for the modeling of digital humanities, that is, in this case the modeling both of and for emblem research and the associative aspects of the “emblematic game,” direct emblem scholarship in the direction of digital humanities 3.0 with features such as annotation tools,[7] Linked Data,[8] and interactive research. While my case study merely suggests the kinds of associative scholarship that an arbitrary humanities scholar might desire, readers can quickly grasp the potential of richly encoded metadata provided with a high degree of linked functionality and interoperability for Renaissance research in particular and the humanities in general. This very preliminary example relies on three distinct kinds of media—a rare text, an article in a scholarly journal, and two digital resources—specifically, a ballet from the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel  (HAB) from its collection of digitized Renaissance festival books[9] and emblem books from Emblematica Online with the OpenEmblem Portal.[10] These resources are not (yet) formally linked, and the discussion here is meant to emphasize the vast potential for humanistic research in an integrated web environment. This new research very much resembles investigations into and interpretations of emblems with their polyvalent structures and associative connectivity.

Emblems, Ballet, and Digital Research

 5.      This study examines an early modern text, Von der Unbeständigkeit der Weltlichen Dinge Vnd Von der Herrligkeit vnd Lob der Tugend (“The Inconstancy of Worldly Things and the Majesty and Praise of Virtue…”) a German emblematic ballet that can be found in the on-line catalogue of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, where there is a link to the digital facsimile in the Wolfenbüttel Digital Library.[11] The volume can also be found in another web resource, the Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachraum erschienenen Drucke des 17. Jahrhunderts, known as VD17.[12] A very useful feature of the VD17, one that benefits emblem scholars, is that the “key pages,” or Schlüsselseiten, are freely accessible digitized pages.[13] The fact that copies of this ballet are available in at least two different digital projects raises the scholarly problem of the emerging field of digital philology and bibliography, e.g. tracking digital works that come from the same physical copy but were scanned in varying quality in the frameworks of different projects. While multiple points of access are an excellent feature of the digital environment, they complicate the (digital) bibliographic record. This is an important issue for an authoritative collection of historical digital resources, especially for Renaissance studies.

6.      My previous article, “Emblems and Protestant Court Culture: Duchess Marie Elisabeth’s Ballet and Court Culture,” focuses on the ballet, Von der Unbeständigkeit…, and its broad cultural context.[14] The work was performed at the North German court of Gottorf in 1650, celebrating both a dynastic wedding between Gottorf and Hessen-Darmstadt and the final conclusion of the Thirty Years’ War. The court ballet in German-speaking lands compares to the English masque in which members of court danced in the performance. The ballets were important instruments of socialization at court and often served to portray the ideals of the dynasty to its guests. While there were no “anti-masques” in the German court ballet, professional dancers did perform the more strenuous dances and the common roles that might have been considered unseemly for the nobility. The article situates the ballet in the complex intellectual web of learning and court culture in Gottorf around 1650. My goal here is to assess how the digital environment could restructure this print scholarship long after the publication of the article in Emblematica.

The Ballet’s Background and History

7.      The original emblematic ballet and a second, non-emblematic ballet performed on the same occasion now exist as digital facsimiles in the Wolfenbüttel Digital Library, in the project Festival Culture On-line – German Imprints of the Seventeenth Century Concerning Festival Culture of the Baroque,” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), where, after a click on the list of courts (Signaturliste), a further click on “Gottorf leads the user to links to both ballets.[15] The project heading provides the following information at a quick glance: the HAB’s entry number (239) in the database of festival books; the presumed author Adam Olearius; the occasion – the wedding of Ludwig and the younger Marie Elisabeth at Gottorf in 1650; standard bibliographic references in parentheses; and a brief description of the text, followed finally by the library’s call numbers which are links to the digital facsimiles of both ballets.[16] While Olearius is often credited as author of the ballet, the ensemble consisted of—at the very least—the duchess Marie Elisabeth, the court librarian and mathematician Adam Olearius, the dancing master and court musicians, and the engraver Christian Rothgiesser. “Emblems and Protestant Court Culture: Duchess Marie Elisabeth’s Ballet and Court Culture” lays out this argument in greater detail

8.      The emblematic ballet Von der Unbeständigkeit… is embedded in a variety of cultural and historical contexts making it a desirable object for networked study. The ballet relates not only to the second ballet, a fireworks, and a tournament performed at Gottorf on the same occasion, but also to a series of entertainments over a period of years at both the Gottorf court and other courts in North Germany and Denmark. Many of these events were marked by festival publications also digitized as part of Festival Culture Online and which can be easily accessed. The user can go to related festival publications in the list of call numbers according to princely residences, for example, to the dynastically related courts of Celle, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Dresden, and several others.[17] Those researchers interested in contextualizing the ballet within the many civic festivities commemorating the end of the Thirty Years’ War can also link, for example, to the peace celebrations in Nürnberg. The search interface for the HAB’s digitized festival books also permits the user to browse according to a carefully devised bilingual English-German thesaurus.[18] This thesaurus was developed at the HAB and is now used in the joint website of the HAB and the British Library.[19] Thus, for example, researchers interested in ballet can also search according to the keyword “ballet,” scoring 203 hits for not only entire ballet texts, but also ballets embedded in larger festival descriptions.[20] Thus, Festival Culture Online opens up entire festivals in which ballets were performed as separate elements in a larger festival program.

9.      A further search on the term “emblem,” for example, in the Festival Culture Online database reveals sixteen hits from nine separate festival imprints, including funeral publications, entries, triumphal arches, and emblematic fireworks. There were, however, no hits for the emblematic ballet for Gottorf, showing that users must cast a broad net. The thesaurus does not include “emblem” as a search term; it can only be searched as a keyword, or Stichwort. One item, the emblematic fireworks from the festival description for the entry into Danzig of the Saxon Elector August the Strong as King of Poland is potentially of interest to the emblematic ballet for two reasons.[21] First, there was an allegorical fireworks ignited in conjunction with the Gottorf ballets for the 1650 wedding celebration, about which very little is known, and second, both ballets and fireworks represent ephemeral emblems in their most fleeting incarnations. Unless recorded in print for posterity, the emblems for the ballet end with the choreographed dancing, while the pyrotechnic emblems are seared but briefly into the night sky. The four illustrations from Curicke’s volume are encoded as festival elements, showing the future potential for working in an enriched, integrated web environment.[22]

10.  The emblematic ballet can thus be investigated in its cultural and historical context on a global level—studying other Gottorf performances, other related nuptial celebrations from North Germany and Denmark, such as ballets from Flensburg, Dresden, Copenhagen, and so on; related genres of court festivities, such as fireworks and tournaments; and related contexts, such as the 1650 peace celebrations in Nürnberg. Researchers can also link to other ballets performed in the context of multi-event programmatic court festivals as well as to emblems in other court festivities. While the rich fabric of early modern German court culture and the context of the emblems in the ballet can now be readily accessed and studied, it is clear that the next step in digital humanities demands widely used authorities and controlled vocabularies to enable what is now called the “semantic web.”

The Ballet and Its Emblems

11.  The emblematic ballet for the Gottorf court is unique in the history of German ballet, in that it contains nine complete emblems each with inscriptio, pictura, and subscriptio. These emblems are not mere decorative elements, but provide a deep emblematic and philosophical structure for the text and were necessary to the performance of the ballet.[23] Seven of the emblems are part of the text of the ballet itself, while two are dedicated to the bridal couple and provide a transition from the ballet to other festivities that were part of the 1650 wedding celebrations. All nine emblems draw heavily on the Dutch emblem tradition, which is not surprising owing to the geographical proximity of the Netherlands to North Germany.[24] For purposes of this investigation, four emblems are studied here: two emblems from the ballet proper and two love emblems in honor of the bride and the groom.

The Ballet Emblems and the OpenEmblem Portal

12.  The first emblem in the ballet occurs in the introduction that is called significantly “Abbildung des Inahlts dieses Ballets” (A Representation of the Contents of this Ballet). The mother of the bride, Duchess Marie Elisabeth took great care in presenting the theoretical framework of her entertainment both to the audience of the ballet and to readers of the printed text. The illustration is a bipartite emblem with two mottos sharing a single picture: “circa unum immobile moventur omnia” (Everything moves around a single immovable thing) and “re minima tactus volvor” (Moved by the slightest thing I turn around).[25] The two mottos introduce the rich web of associations for the emblem and thus for the entire ballet—the physical concepts that the world revolves around a center and that a fulcrum can be used to move large objects easily. These laws of motion set the framework for the ballet and its performance within the actual context of the Gottorf court with its physical-astronomical laboratory and its collection of scientific instruments, the Kunstkammer,[26] the renowned ducal library, and the elaborate gardens at the Gottorf court. The gardens must have figured prominently in the program of entertainments at this wedding, as the appendix to the printed ballet, “Poetische Beschreibung eines newen Fruchtreichen Gartens” (Poetic Description of a new fruitful garden), suggests.[27] The play on words referring to the wedding and fertility are complemented by the extended allusion to the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft (Fruitbearing Society), the premiere German literary society of the day, which counted many members at the Gottorf court, including the bride’s father, Duke Friedrich III (1597-1659).[28] The references to globes and laws of motion are embedded in much larger scientific and cultural discourses while keeping the immediate occasion of the wedding at the forefront. From these natural laws, which were so intensively studied and analyzed at this particular German court, are abstracted moral precepts and physical laws that are already suggested in the ballet’s title: “The Inconstancy of Worldly Things.” This first complex emblem then serves a double function to introduce the nuptial ballet and its ideas emanating from the contexts of science, learning, and culture at the Gottorf court as well as to initiate the physical motion of the dance with its concept of mutability and change. The courtly accomplishment of dancing itself serves as a metaphor for the motion of the planets. The modeling—on several levels—of motion in the ballet can be read as part of the “emblematic game” at Gottorf, in which the art of embellishment and aptness finds expression in the entertainments for this dynastic wedding and peace celebration, alluding to the motions of the dance, of the human heart, of the political and social spheres at court, and of the planets. Thus, both the subject and the object are modeled here.

Playing the “Emblematic Game” with Globes in the OpenEmblem Portal

13.  The rolling globe of the Gottorf emblem alludes to popular emblems such as one found in Daniel de la Feuille’s Devises et Emblemes (1691).[29] The globe presents the concept of Atlas lightly bearing the world on his shoulders; the concept of ease suggests the use of fulcrum to roll a large, round object and contrasts, for example, with the classical image of Sisyphus rolling his millstone uphill. The globe also alludes to the circular nature of human life and the relationships between the macrocosm and microcosm. It also relates to astronomy—one of the strong natural forces shaping the philosophy of this ballet. The physical-astronomical cabinet at Gottorf contained two models of the world—a Copernican and Ptolemean. As part of a co-ordinated effort to propel Gottorf to the forefront of scientific inquiry, literary accomplishment, and artistic achievement, the Duke also had built a so-called Giant Globe (Riesen-Globus)—roughly three meters in diameter and consisting of interior and exterior cartographic projections. Outside was a terrestrial map, and inside, where there was space for seating, was a celestial projection from the vantage point of Gottorf. By means of a water-driven mechanism, the globe could simulate the actual daily course of the heavens. The giant globe, and globes and map-making in general, figured prominently in Gottorf court culture, and this emblematic allusion resonated with the participants in, and the viewers of, the ballet.[30]

14.  The next ballet emblem, “gravimur mundanis” (We are weighed down by earthly things), extrapolates on the globe associations and draws very clearly on the pictura from Vaenius’ emblem 19, “Atlante major,” (stronger than Atlas).[31] Vaenius’s little cupid is nearly dwarfed by his load, presumably the weight of worldly things and worldly love. Nevertheless he boasts that he is stronger than Atlas. Of particular interest is the manner in which the Gottorf emblem shapes the Dutch emblem for its own purposes. The globe which Atlas carries in the ballet clearly depicts German cities important to this dynastic marriage—Gottorf, Husum, and Lübeck represent the territories of the bride’s father, the Duke of Holstein. The other cities depicted there—Dresden and Leipzig—allegorize the Electoral Saxon connections of the bride’s mother. These specific details on the globe again recall the importance of globes and maps at Gottorf, while stressing the political constellations of the Holstein dynasty at the end of the Thirty Years’ War.[32] The use of the globe in the emblem’s pictura repeats the imagery from the first emblem in a new context, continuing the “emblematic game,” of association and development of the globe theme in a fugue-like manner. While the first globe dwarfed the human moving it, here the (super-) human bears the world on his shoulders. All emblems from the first act of the ballet draw on the established iconography of Dutch love emblematics,[33] as is indeed appropriate for the wedding, thereby fulfilling on a very basic level the concept of “copia,” in both its sense as abundance and as aptness. The Gottorf ballet emblems enrich these well known Dutch images with a clear focus on themes of the macrocosm—the planets, the heavens and the stars—thereby embellishing them for a new purpose: the celebration of the dynastic wedding and the attainment of peace after thirty long years of war.

The Bride’s and Groom’s Emblems

15.  The last two emblems discussed here are appended to the ballet—one for the bride and one for the bridegroom. They are closely entwined with the dynastic occasion for the ballet’s performance and form an important part of the iconographical and social context of the ballet.[34] The groom’s emblem for the bride shows suspended from the heavens a heart-shaped compass pointing toward magnetic North.[35] The motto is “Sequitur linea tacta polum” (The needle of the compass, even if touched, follows the pole). This is a variant of the very popular Dutch emblem with examples from Cats, Hooft, and Vaenius. The compass emblem depicts the mutual, so to speak the ‘magnetic,’ love between the newlyweds, the groom’s compass always finds his bride at true North. The final emblem, that of the bride for the groom, depicts a locked heart for which there is only one combination with the motto  “Uni Soli” (Only for one).  This is a version of a popular Dutch love emblem, “Een die my pas” or “uni pareo” (for one alone), and made popular by Hooft, among others.[36]

16.  Of striking importance to the searching and analyzing of these emblems and their sources across the digital emblem projects is that the number of hits shapes the research in new ways. While it is important to find exact correlations and sources, I propose that it is even more important to have access to the related material, to the emblems which are not exactly the same and which lead researchers to think about possible further analogies and correlations which they had not previously considered. Because emblems frequently recycled meanings and images, these additional layers of ideas and images present contexts that elicit further meaning from these abbreviated texts and often puzzling images. Thus, the web—with all of its associations and linking—functions much like emblems themselves and partakes in the “emblematic game” in a very fundamental way. While the Gottorf court clearly relied on the Dutch love emblems from the first half of the seventeenth century for the wedding ballet, these themes and topoi were carefully embellished, and nuances in meaning were effected by slight changes in imagery, the use of multiple mottos, and direct textual and pictorial allusions, shaping all nine of these wedding emblems to reflect the culture of the Gottorf court with its interest in technology and science, on the one hand, and literature, art, and culture, on the other. For example, while the traditional Dutch emblems show a heart for which there is only one key, the Gottorf emblem shows a new type of lock—a keyless combination letterlock, whereby only the spelling out of the groom’s name will unlock the bride’s heart. The creative ensemble at the Gottorf court focused these emblems in new ways, reflecting for example, the latest technology and scientific ideas, very adroitly participating in the “emblematic game,” and the art of “copia.”

17.  My comments up to this point have focused on how Emblematica Online with its OpenEmblem portal can work in conjunction with the various associated emblem projects working under its aegis and the digitized festival books of the HAB. I suggest that through the emblematic game, we may come closer to modeling how emblems and their concomitant strings of associations function. I further posit that the way emblems work mirrors the inner workings of networked research itself that has ramifications for both our models of and our models for future research. While in the construction of our projects we must be absolutely precise and consistent, we can perhaps devise flexible strategies for these resources. To speak with McCarty, “computational form, which accepts only that which can be told explicitly and precisely, is thus radically inadequate for representing the full range of knowledge…,”[37] and this is precisely where the emblematic game begins. The OpenEmblem portal is not merely a textual or pictorial “jukebox,” and we do not want to restrict our research to that which can be achieved manually, although this achievement in itself is significant.[38] Thus, while continuing to build the emblem corpus, the participants in the OpenEmblem portal, who have long advocated free access and interoperability, are now turning to strategies to facilitate sharing and integrating these materials, the next chapter of digital humanities.[39] Peter Boot has suggested the need for developing tools for emblem users to define, save, and manipulate their searches and results.[40] His book Mesotext explores the interstices, or mesotexts, for annotation, spaces researchers create between the original sources and the final published article.[41] That Boot focuses specifically on emblems for his study underscores the fundamental analogy between emblems and the web-based environment of meaning and associations. As Hans Brandhorst of Arkyves advocates, “‘meaning’ is not an intrinsic quality of a picture, and cannot be detected with image recognition techniques (alone). Therefore, non-trivial subject retrieval of visual sources is impossible without rich textual metadata.”[42] Most digital humanities projects require rich metadata for meaningful research and study, the creation of which necessitates deep subject knowledge; the development of such resources can only be partly automated. By sharing and thereby creating communities of users who create and exchange content, tags, and annotations—perhaps via the OpenEmbelm Portal—we can advance the understanding of, and research concerning, emblems. In this way emblem scholarship serves as a robust model for other digital resources in the humanities and arts. By modeling this research after our subject, the polysemic emblem, the “emblematic game” can continue on a postmodern level.



[1] Quoted from Illuminations. Walter Benjamin. Essays and Reflections. Edited and with an introduction by Hannah Arendt. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985, 218. See also Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1977:10.



[4] The premiere collection of emblematica is the Stirling Maxwell Collection at the University of Glasgow ( with outstanding collections at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (, and the University Library at Urbana-Champaign ( The International Society for Emblems Studies ( does, in fact, count members from New Zealand and Japan, and its membership spans the globe, underlining the scholarly need for curated digital emblematica.

[5] McCarty, 255.


[7] Boot, Mesotext, 13. Boot defines the “mesotext” as the intermediary text between the source text being annotated and the end product of the published scholarly article.


[9] and


My thanks to Dr. Thomas Stäcker and Andrea Opitz, HAB, for having digitized this work in conjunction with our earlier digital research supported by a Transcoop grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

[12] In addition to the copy at the HAB, VD17 also lists another copy in the University Library at Halle. My early research for the printed article is based on the copies from Darmstadt that I received as a microfilm and the copy, formerly of the Royal Library in Berlin now preserved in the Jagellonian University Library, Krakow, Poland, which I looked at in person. The latter copy is a splendid presentation copy.

[13] In the case of this book, the entire volume is also available in digital form through VD17, although not in high resolution as at the HAB.

[14] Mara R. Wade, “Emblems and Protestant Court Culture.”

[15] See note 9. The second anonymous ballet has no emblems. It is generally attributed to the bridegroom, the Hessian Landgrave Ludwig. See Der Menschen vnterschiedliche Inclination….  See also Meise.

Both ballets are accessible by title in the on-line catalog of the HAB with links to the digital editions. The first, emblematic ballet is also accessible by the presumed author’s name, Adam Olearius; the second, non-emblematic ballet can be accessed under “Landgraf Ludwig” and “alle Wörter.” For further research on Marie Elisabeth and her two sisters, see Wade, “Invisible Bibliographies” and  Höpel, “Gottorfer Feste.”




[20] The search terms “ballet” and “Gottorf” reveals only the emblematic ballet and not the second one performed on this occasion. A further defined search under “ballet” and “Gottorf” also reveals only the emblematic ballet. Searching under “Gottorf” reveals both ballets. Consulted 2 November 2011.

[21] See Curicke.

[22] See also Wade, “Embleme der sächsisch-polnischen Union.”

[23] Wade, “Emblems and German Protestant Court Culture,” 71.

[24] The influential Dutch artists Simon de Pas and Karel van Mander designed elaborate festivals in 1634 for the closely related court of Denmark. See Wade, “Simon de Pas and Karel van Mander III at the Court of King Christian IV.”

[25]  I would like to thank Drs. Christian Heitzmann and Dr. Thomas Stäcker, HAB, for their expert assistance in translating these mottos.  See the ballet at:

[26] Olearius, Gottorffische Kunst-Cammer.
The Gottorf Kunstkammer and the royal Danish Kunstkammer are closely related. For a website in English about the Danish collections, see:

[27] This page with the bride’s emblem [recto] and the poem [verso] was lacking in the HAB copy and has been replaced by a copy. See Wade, “Emblems and German Protestant Court Culture,” pp. 99-101. The famous gardens and the globe have been reconstructed at Gottorf, see


The volume is also available at multiple locations on the web, including through Emblematica Online and the OpenEmblem Portal:

[30] Lühning, Der Gottorfer Globus und das Globushaus im 'Newen Werck'. See also fn. 27.


[32] Brancaforte, Visions of Persia, who explores the interrelated connections among the Holstein embassy to Persia and the relationships between text and iconography of Olearius’ travelogue, title pages, and maps.

[33] See Dutch Love Emblems of the Seventeenth Century

[34] Wade, “Emblems and German Protestant Court Culture, 57-58.

[35] From Emblematica Online, see Triumphus Amoris. Augsburg: Joseph Friedrich Leopold, 1668-1726, “Ihr Aug’ ist mein Nordstern” (Her eye is my Northstar).

See Jacob Cats, Sinne- en minnebeelden, Emblem XLIX, “Animos nil dirimit” (nothing separates the souls) from the Emblem Project Utrecht: See also Hooft, Emblema Amatoria, Emblem 3, “Een treckt my” (Only one takes me in).

See also Vaenius, Amorum emblematis, Emblem 20, “Ero navis amoris, habens te astrum lucidum” (here again referring to the North Star of love).

[36] Hooft, Emblema Amatoria, Amsterdam: Jansson, 1611, Emblem 19, Uni Pareo, Een die my past.”

[37] McCarty, 256.

[38] McCarty, 257.

[39] Jeff Weiner of Yahoo as quoted in “By and For the Masses. Forget File Swapping. User-Created Content is Radically Changing the Web.” The New York Times, Wednesday June 29 2005. Business pages 1 and 5.  The type of collaborative community Weiner suggests typifies the digital emblem community.

[40] Peter Boot, “Beyond the Digital Emblem Book.”

[41] See note 7.


Brandhorst makes this view a core of his research on indexing art, see, for example, “Using Iconclass for the Iconographic Indexing of Emblems.”


Works cited

NB: Individual webpages are cited in the notes while digital projects are cited here.

Web resources

Print Sources:



Responses to this piece intended for the Readers' Forum may be sent to the Editors at

© 2012-, Annaliese Connolly and Matthew Steggle (Editors, EMLS).