The Renaissance Emblem, an explanatory chart by William S. Heckscher (1904-1999)

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Hecksher-Ren-emblem-chart0.jpg

An illustrative chart by William S Heckscher, probably drawn in the 1950s.
[Click on thumbnail above to see much larger image.] This is a chart meant to be read two ways.
    First, reading from left to right gives a sense of chronological change, from ancient times on the left to the seventeenth century on the right. Secondly, the chart can be read in zones, as follows:
• Focal point of the chart is the first emblem book, the Emblematum liber by Andrea Alciati, first published in Augsburg in 1531.
•To the left of the focal point are arrayed 19 sources and seven antecedents.
•To the right are a series of branching diagrams covering seven diverse types of emblem books developing after Alciati. These are heroic, moral, and didactic, together with their subdivisions.
   Note the foot of the chart: here are glosses for the labels above. For example, at lower left, the label ‘Egyptian: Hieroglyphs’ is explained as ‘Obelisk in Rome’. Much of the text of this chart was reworked in 1954, when it was incorporated into the Library’s exhibition The Graver and the Pen: Renaissance Emblems and Their Ramifications. (ExB) 0639.739 no. 12 [link to full text ]
   Prof. Heckscher was a keen collaborator in the Library’s efforts to collect and interpret emblem books. He collaborated in publication of the 1984 short- title catalogue of emblem books in the Library. He complied The Princeton Alciati Companion: A Glossary of Neo-Latin Words and Phrases used by Andrea Alciati and the Emblem Book Writers of his time, including a Bibliography of Secondary Sources relevant to the Study of Alciati’s Emblems (New York, 1989). At present, Princeton’s holdings of emblem books and their cognates number more than 700. The collection continues to grow yearly.

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