author Bloemendal, Jan
main title Een emblematicus en zijn inspiratie
sub title De bronnen van Otto Vaenius' Amoris divini emblemata , Antwerpen 1615
sub title Ontlening en adaptatie
short title Bloemendal, Een emblematicus en zijn inspiratie
in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse taal- en letterkunde, 118/2002/4/273-287
description (This abstract written for the EPU by the article's author).
Otto Vaenius (1556-1629) dedicated his Amoris Divini Emblemata (Emblems on the Divine Love, 1615) to archduchess Isabella of Austria. In his letter to the reader and spectator he stated that she inspired him to rework his Amorum Emblemata(1608), emblems on secular love, into a religious emblem book. He did so, and asked the Spanish poet Alonso de Ledesma to make Spanish verses, and the counsellor of the Duke of Aerschot,Charles-Philippe Hattron, to make French ones. He himself composed poems in Dutch and he gathered quotations from the Bible, the church fathers - especially St. Augustine - and a few medieval authors, such as Bernardus of Clairvaux and Thomas a Kempis. And he made the picturae which represent the Soul in the shape of a female angel or genius and Divine Love as an Amor-like figure with a bow and arrows.
It is likely that in the case of some emblems one of the quotations was the starting point. In emblem nr. 39, Sitim extinguit [39](Love quenches thirst), the first quotation (taken from Gratianus' Decretum ), which is based on Joh. 4:14 on the living water, seems to be the base both of the Dutch, Spanish and French poems, and of the pictura which shows Divine Love (in the shape of a Cupid) and Soul (Anima, represented by a female angel) sitting at a well. In emblem nr. 50, Odit timorem [50](Love hates fear), Vaenius seems to have started with St. Augustine's 'Sicut seta introducit filum, ita timor introducit amorem. Crescit amor, minuitur timor' (As a fleece is the basis for a thread, thus fear is the basis for love. When love grows, fear diminishes). Keeping the threadin mind Vaenius wrote his Dutch verse.
Vaenius did not collect these quotations all by himself. He used, for instance, the extensive florilegium of the Alsatian humanist Josephus Langius (1570-1615), the Nova polyanthea (1604, many reprints). That this anthology was the source for some quotations can be proved by combinations of quotations that were gathered both by Langius and Vaenius. For instance, Langius' entry 'Spes' contained 4 almost successive phrases from church fathers that can be found in Vaenius' emblem 30 (Animæ spes optima nutrix [30], Hope is is the Soul's best foster mother). Also both misattribute quotes to the same author, e.g. in the same emblem 30 'Fides credit, spes et charitas orant' (Faith trusts, hope and love pray) is attributed to Augustine's Enchiridionbut actually it stems from his De fide, spe et charitate . Working like this Vaenius could make a religious emblem book rather quickly.