Emblems in the Material World webinar

Tamar Abramson's picture
December 17, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, European History / Studies, Humanities, Literature

The Emblem Underground

Feeling a little intellectually out of touch with fellow emblem researchers during the pandemic?  Needing a little holiday boost? Want to hear about emblem research in progress? Talk about one of our favorite topics? Learn more about emblems in the material world?  Some international scholarly contact? Please join us!

This webinar is an independent scholarly event planned by the three presenters, named below, and moderated by Tamar Cholcman with the assistance of Tamar Abramson.  Please feel free to spread the word and join us.



The Emblem Underground

Cordially invites you to a webinar “Emblems in the Material World” via Zoom.


Thursday, 17 December 2020


9 AM Central /10 Eastern US


4 PM Central European Time

5 PM Israel Standard Time


“Emblems in the Material World” consists of three twenty-minute papers, each treating some aspect of our work in progress.  The session will last approximately 90 minutes including, 30 minutes for discussion afterward. Speakers and hosts will stay on a little longer, should there be interest in more conversation.







“Emblems in the Material World”


Simon McKeown

Pastors, Print, and Patronage: Emblems in the Church Painting of Western Sweden


This paper presents some examples of emblem programmes found in the churches of Western Sweden with particular emphasis upon the role of patrons in the selection of the material displayed. I intend to outline a range of emblematic schema that draw upon diverse published sources, and suggest ways in which the models selected have been adapted to accord with their new contexts. The material evidence of emblematic reading preferences in eighteenth-century Sweden emerges as instructive about the practical applications of emblems, confirming our perceptions of the emblem as a negotiable form, serviceable to new purposing, rather than a static literary model bound within the strictures of an accepted canon.



Justyna Kiliańczyk-Zięba

Imprese on Books. The Signs of non-noble Intellectuals as Ownership Stamps on Book Bindings


The idea of vera nobilitas, nobility depending not on lineage but on virtue, was long cherished by European intellectuals. For the study of words and images, one aspect of this discussion is especially relevant: the conviction that aristocracy of the mind can be effectively demonstrated by visual means, most notably, by imprese – compositions combining verbal and pictorial components to indicate the identity of an individual, but also to portray their inner soul, their aspirations and ambitions. That this strategy for self-representation was cultivated in early modern times is evidenced by many sources. One of these is the stamps which display imprese and which were applied to the bindings of books once owned by non-noble intellectuals. In my paper I will discuss a number of these compositions, connecting the concepts behind their design and usage to competition for social agency on the part of intellectuals and university elites.




Mara R. Wade

Emblem and Album: Martin Opitz Signs a Stammbuch  


This paper is part of a monograph I am currently working on and explores one aspect of the early modern social strategies of the emblem: the emblem book as Stammbuch. Using as a case study the entry by the seventeen-year-old Martin Opitz (1597-1639) into the Stammbuch of Christian Weigel, I analyze the dialog between the printed emblem and the manuscript entry in this hybrid construct.  While the autograph has been known for many years, until now it has not been interpreted in its broader context, that is, as a customized manuscript entry into an emblem book, a copy of Achille Bocchi’s Symbolicarvm quaestionvm


To register and receive the Zoom link, please contact Tamar Abramson, subject line “Emblems in the Material World”:

Tamar Abramson tamarguitar@gmail.com

We look forward to getting together in the virtual world until we can do so in person. If you would like to organize the next “emblemar,” please let Justyna Kiliańczyk-Zięba (justynakz@gmail.com) know so that we could have a series of recurrent meetings.

You stay safe, and we will try to do the same.

Justyna, Simon, Mara

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