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A comparative, iconographic study of early-modern, religious emblems

Barr, Julie E. (2008) A comparative, iconographic study of early-modern, religious emblems. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Although scholarly interest in the field of emblematics has increased greatly over the last decade, there is still much to be done, particularly in the area of religious emblems. The emblem form has been considered from the perspective of individual author, geographical factors and theological background but there have been few comparative studies with respect to religious emblems. This study will compare Protestant and Catholic emblems produced during the Reformation and Counter- Reformation, drawing on specific examples from, in particular, France, but also Germany and England. Emblems played a huge role in early-modern life. They expressed contemporary thought and also became part of the physical environment, being etched into stone, or wood, or sewn into cloth as decoration. In a period of such political, civil, and religious unrest, it would, therefore, seem likely that the Catholic and Protestant emblem would be quite distinct types either expressing theologically opposed notions, or manipulating the text/image relationship in quite different ways. Understanding how these emblems functioned, therefore, necessitates close reading, indeed, reading in the way the emblems were intended to be read. This study, therefore, will address the question of differences through detailed analysis of specific examples. This study begins with an introduction which gives a brief history of emblem literature and a review of relevant secondary material. Key terms and definitions regarding emblems are also explained here. This chapter also introduces the authors of the emblems analysed in later chapters. The first part of this thesis examines the emblem form in the wider context of the Reformation. From an initial overview of some of the key issues of the Reformation in chapter one, chapters two and three move on to analyse closely a wide corpus of Catholic and Protestant emblems. In these chapters the emblem is broken down into its component parts of verse and picture. Chapter two examines the religious emblem from the perspective of motif while chapter three approaches the emblem from a thematic angle. The second part of this study adopts a different approach presenting case studies of three authors. Chapter four explores the importance of the visual element in the emblems of Protestant author Rollenhagen. Chapter five investigates the Jesuit influences which shape the emblems of Catholic Berthod. While chapters four and five offer an insight into the work of prototypical Protestant and Catholic authors chapter six demonstrates the successful fusion of both Protestant and Catholic influences in the emblems of Wither. Indeed, this study suggests that the differences between Protestant and Catholic at this time are largely exaggerated with respect to emblems. Protestant and Catholic emblems are not, this study maintains, in essence all that different. It argues that, in fact, Protestant and Catholic emblems were often very close in terms of content and that the real difference is in the way they manipulate the text/image relationship.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: emblem, reformation, protestant, catholic, motif, theme, iconography, light, time, France
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Supervisor's Name: Adams, Prof Alison
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Ms Julie E. Barr
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-274
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:17
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/274

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