the Immaculate Conception
Date of Exhibit October 18 -
November 12, 2004
December 8, 1854, Blessed Pius IX declared as a dogma of faith that the
Blessed Virgin Mary, from the moment of her conception, was by a
singular grace of God never subject to the stain of original sin. This
privilege, given to the one who would become the Mother of the world’s
Redeemer, is termed her Immaculate Conception.
year marks the 150th anniversary of Pius IX’s
declaration. To celebrate this event, the Marian Library has mounted an
exhibit of illustrations centered on this dogma, illustrations taken
from several of the emblem books in its holdings.
The Art of Emblems
In an article in
The Dictionary of Art, Jochem Becker explains: “The emblem
book was an artistic genre that flourished in Europe particularly in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, though it continued
beyond this. An emblem combines both words and images, whose
interpretation requires intellectual effort and results in the
communication of a moral lesson.
consist of three parts:
1) a pictorial representation (pictura),
2) a short, often classical motto (inscriptio), and
explanation of the link between them (subscriptio).”
of the emblems (twenty-seven) selected are from a book by the Benedictine Joseph Zoller (d. 1750), a monk of the monastery of Sts. Udalricus and Afra,
near Augsburg, Germany. This work, entitled Cconceptus Chronographicus
De Concepta Sacra Deipara, was published at Augsburg in 1712. It consists
of hundred copperplate engravings all centered on the Immaculate Conception.
Each of the emblems is interpreted in seven steps: Sacred Scripture,
authority (quotations from ecclesiastical writers), ratio
(reasonableness of the belief), an example from history, the symbol (the
emblematic picture itself), an example from antiquity, and finally an
other emblems (seven) are from the work of a Belgian Augustinian, Johann Leenheer. Printed in 1681 (no place of publication indicated), the small
book bears the title: Virgo Maria Mystica Sub Solis Imagine Emblematica
Expressa. The seven emblems are all involved with the sun. The text
accompanying each emblem is a short poem given in both Latin and Dutch.
Click on the first seven numbers at the bottom and they will show you
the picture and text.
A Special Thank-You
emblems were reproduced, remastered, and framed by SPORCH—The Society
for the Preservation of Roman Catholic Heritage. (Visit the SPORCH
www.sporch.org.) The exhibit runs from October 18 through November
12 in The Marian Library Gallery.
Click on each number to see a
large version of each emblem picture.