Bocchi 1574, CXLV
Philologia Symbolica

This website was realised within a EU funded project for the study and digitisation of Italian emblem books.
Its aim is to offer to a wider audience the opportunity of an easier and more flexible access to a selection of emblematic materials from the Stirling Maxwell Collection, housed by Glasgow University Library.


The generic label "emblem literature" covers a wide variety of texts whose common feature is to combine images and words. The use of images and the many translations or multilingual editions of such texts allowed emblem books to circulate across Europe, encouraging a fertile dialectic between specific national traditions and common cultural elements. The huge textual and visual corpus fed by the enormous fortune this genre enjoyed in the 16th and 17th centuries, has to be considered not only as a sociological and historical document of European culture, but also as an extraordinary - though not yet adequately valued - artistic heritage.

The corpus currently accessible from this website focuses on the role played by Italian authors, starting from Paolo Giovio and Andrea Alciato, in the seminal stages of the emblem and of the impresa, and on the specific conjunction that in the Italian context was realised between these forms and the prose forms of the dialogue and the tract.

A corpus of 16th-century emblem books composed by Italian authors is being digitised and made available to browsing and searching, both in the form of photographic reproductions and as transcribed texts.

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