Breaking the Renaissance Code: Emblems and Emblem Books


Breaking the Renaissance Code: Emblems and Emblem Books
25 June - 4 October 2011
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free

Glasgow University Library is home to the world's greatest collections of emblem books.   

Developed in the 16th century, these extremely fashionable and often beautiful books featured symbolic pictures and text which expressed a hidden moral, political or religious message which had to be decoded by the reader.

Over the next 200 years, several thousand were issued from printing presses across Europe. Emblem books had enormous influence on literature and the visual arts and examples of their impact can still be seen today.

'Breaking the Renaissance Code: Emblems and Emblem Books' displays precious examples from the University’s Stirling Maxwell Collection alongside emblematic prints, drawings and paintings from The Hunterian collection, including contemporary examples.

Image: Page from François du Moulin's Emblesmes sacrez. French emblem book, c.1520, with 25 watercolour emblematic pictures. © Glasgow University Library, Special Collections.

Lunchtime Gallery Talks

Lunchtime Gallery Talks

Tuesdays at 1.00pm in the Hunterian Art Gallery

19 July
‘Speaking Pictures’ by Professor Mike Bath

16 August
‘Emblems in Art’ by Peter Black

6 September
'Old Books and Johnny Depp' by Dr Billy Grove, Director of the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures

27 September
‘The European Emblem’ by Professor Alison Adams

Further Information

Further Information

Stirling Maxwell Centre

French Emblems at Glasgow

Alciato at Glasgow

Glasgow University Library, Department of Special Collections