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This is our edition of Cent emblemes chrestiens by Georgette de Montenay and Anna Roemer Visscher of c. 1615. In this introduction, we have limited ourselves to the essentials.

About the Cent emblemes chrestiens

The Cent emblemes chrestiens by Montenay was first published in 1571, under a different title (Les Emblems ou Devises chrestiennes).1 In the preface to this emblem book, De Montenay claimed to be the first to write religious emblems: 'Alciat feit des Emblémes exquis//Lesquels voyant de plusieurs requis//Desir me prit de commencer les miens//Lesquels ie croy estre premier Chrestiens' (quoted from: [Dedication]). Inspired by Alciati's Emblematum liber, Montenay composed one hundred Christian emblems and consequently dedicated the volume to Jeanne d'Albert, Queen of Navarre, a well-known supporter of Calvinistic ideas. De Montenay's emblems first consisted of Latin mottoes and subscriptio's in French. When the book was reprinted in 1584, Latin subscriptio's were added.

About Anna Roemers Visscher

Anna Roemers Visscher used the 1602-reprint of this 1584-edition when she composed Dutch subscriptio's for De Montenay's hundred emblems.2 Two different versions of her work, both handwritten, have survived. The most complete version is used for the digital edition published on this site, the other incomplete version is kept in the Library of Glasgow.

Anna Roemers Visscher was the daughter of the Amsterdam poet Roemer Visscher, and the sister of Maria Tesselschade Visscher. Her family's economic and social status in Amsterdam enabled Visscher to be schooled in languages, calligraphy, embroidery, drawing, painting. Not much of Anna's work was published during her lifetime. Her translations of De Montenay's emblem circulated only in private circles. In Cats's Sinne- en minnebeelden (see: Aen de Zeeusche Ionck-Vrouwen.) a poem written by Anna was printed.

Copy Used for This Edition

In making this edition of Cent emblemes chrestiens we have used the copy of the Collection Frits Lugt, Institut Néerlandais, Paris; shelf number OB 9575.


We have transcribed the full text from the Paris copy and encoded this text using TEI markup, to allow for flexibility in presentation and non-destructive editorial enhancement of the text. The full Project Guidelines for transcription, editiorial intervention and indexing of the text are available elsewhere on this site.

Printing errors have not been corrected in this transcription, except for the ones made in emblem 42/43, 44/45 and 98/100. The French subscriptio's of these emblems were switched by mistake by De Montenay's publisher. We have corrected this in our transcription.


The full Emblem Project Utrecht bibliography may be accessed using the top menu of this window. A selection of literature relevant to Cent emblemes chrestiens follows here.

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This brief sketch of the printing history of De Montenay's Cent emblemes chrestiens is based on: Adams, Georgette de Montenay in the 1619 Polyglot edition, Adams, Dutch Version and Saunders, Male and Female Views on Women
This brief sketch of the work of Anna Roemers Visscher is based on Schenkeveld, Georgette de Montenay and Schenkeveld and De Jeu, Anna Roemersdochter Visscher.