Emblems: Their Development and Context in European Material Culture
The emblem and related forms combined picture and text in distinctive ways to present a variety of messages in a variety of venues in religious and court culture of early modern Europe. Emblems were such a popular vehicle for communication in the period between the end of the Middle Ages and the coming of Romanticism in the mid-eighteenth century that the composition of emblems was routinely taught in Jesuit schools. They were used in the structuring of sermons, political propaganda, pedagogical manuals, and all manner of court ceremony. The forms also influenced the construction of plays and poetry.
This seminar provides an interdisciplinary overview of the history, theory, and development of the emblem in its European context. The course will be co-taught by Daniel Russell, University of Pittsburgh, and Mara R. Wade, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The audience for the course can be drawn from all areas of Renaissance studies—art history, vernacular and Latin literatures, and history, to name a few.
The course will treat the individual emblem as well as entire emblem books. We will examine national traditions, genres within emblematics, and emblems in the arts and literature. While we focus on traditional print materials from both the Renaissance and the present day, there will also be an introduction to digital emblem sites and research.
Participants: Laura Aydelotte, University of Chicago; Elizabeth Black, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Alvan Bregman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Joanne Diaz, Northwestern University; Rainbow Porthe, Northwestern University; Joshua Reid, University of Kentucky; Ellen O’Neil Rife, University of Kansas; Carmen Ripolles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago.
Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs for graduate students.