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This is our edition of Emblemata amatoria of 1690. In this introduction, we have limited ourselves to the essentials.

About the Collector and Jan van Vianen

The 44 emblems collected in the Emblemata amatoria of 1690 derive from O. Vaenius's Amorum emblemata, D. Heinsius's Ambacht van Cupido and the anonymously published Thronus Cupidinis. It is uncertain who is responsible for the selection made in Emblemata amatoria. Some of the picturae (15 in total) are signed by Jan van Vianen (ca. 1660-1730?), who started working as an engraver in Harlem, being a member of local the St. Lucas guild.1 Vianen later on also worked in Amsterdam and (probably) Utrecht.

About the Emblemata amatoria

There are more unsolved issues surrounding the Emblemata amatoria. Not only do we know little about its collector, its date of publication and its publisher are also not certain. The book was most likely by Daniel de la Feuille in Amsterdam, around 1690. There is a small, mystifying indication of its origin on the title-page: 'a Londe chez l'Amoureux'.

As this title-page shows, the Emblemata amatoria is most likely modelled after an English example, the Emblemata amatoria (1683) by Philip Ayres. This book also consists of 44 emblems, and its subscriptio's in Latin, French and Italian are similar to those in the Dutch Emblemata amatoria. In the Dutch publication of the Emblemata amatoria the English subscriptio's by Ayres are replaced by Dutch poems. Since Jan van Vianen, the engraver associated with the Dutch Emblemata amatoria, spent some of his educational years in England, it is likely the English Emblemata amatoria served as a model for the Dutch market.

The Emblemata amatoria by Ayres is modelled after yet another example, the Fons Amoris, dating from 1618/1619 and collected by Crispijn Vande Passe sr. This emblem book was published by Vande Passe as a response to the illegal publication of the Thronus cupidinis in 1618 by Willem Jansz.. For this illegal reproduction, Jansz. had taken all of the emblems from the earlier publication of the Thronus cupidinis by De Passe, and assembled a collection from Vaenius's Amorum emblemata and Heinsius's Ambacht van Cupido. Theodore Rodenburgh provided the subscriptio's for Jansz.'s edition of the Thronus cupidinis.

It is likely De Passer's Fons Amoris, based on Jansz.'s Thronus cupidinis formed the inspiration for Ayres's Emblemata amatoria. Indirectly, the Dutch Emblemata amatoria thus derives from an originally Dutch source. There are yet some issues to be resolved: did Vianen made all of the picturae of Emblemata amatoria? And did he also write the Dutch subscriptio's?

The Dutch Emblemata amatoria was never republished. But a German edition based on the Dutch example was printed around 1695, entitled Thriumphus Amoris.

Copy Used for This Edition

In making this edition of Emblemata amatoria we have used the copy of the edition of 1690 conserved in the Library of the Utrecht University, shelf number LBKUN RAR LMY EMBLEMATA 1.


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


The full Emblem Project Utrecht bibliography may be accessed using the menu option at the left side of this (or any) window. A selection of literature relevant to Emblemata amatoria follows here.

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This brief sketch on Jan van Vianen is based on Schuckman, Hollstein and Westerweel, Philip Ayres; Vianen's total oeuvre (including the engravings made for the Emblemata amatoria) is discussed in Hollstein's Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450-1700