Antique botanical drawings with moralizing instructions
Antique botanical drawings with moralizing instructions. In the XVI century in Germany and the Netherlands appeared the most popular publications: books posters. They were allegorical (in our case, on botanical subjects) drawings with captions containing moralizing instruction. These figures were collected in the collections of books, which have become a kind of synthesis of wisdom and beauty. A perfect example of two trends of the time – the predominance of botanical subjects and passion epigrams – we can see in the works of the Flemish engraver and publisher Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623).
In his printer shop, he produced a small series of collections of 6 still lifes with a floral theme. The compilation was called “Dispersion of colors» (Polyptoton de Flores). Signatures were compiled in poetic form “Latin hexameter,” and contained a vital analogy with different growth phase colors. Ie each stage of the growth of flowers symbolized moralizing admonition to the contemporaries. For example, “young people need to be as modest as this shy blooming flower looks.” Or this: “The Flower – a mirror of life. It blooms and dies quickly.”
For this series of emblems is characteristic the realistic portrayal of different flowers and herbs, necessarily accompanied by insects. Decorative vases are typical of Dutch fashion of the time – decorated with grotesques and garlands.
The most complete collection of posters («Emblemata» – this is just the plural form of the word “emblem” in Greek) includes more than 200 posters on different subjects (not only with botanical images). It was published by different publishers, but, perhaps, the most popular was Emblemata Cum Commentariis Amplissimis, published in Italy in 1621 by a scientist Claude Mignault. In the preface to his edition, he wrote: “At that time, as the boy chewed nuts, young people had fun playing dice and lazy men filled the time by playing cards, our dear master did not rest even on holidays, creating these logos. We believe it is our need to develop these silent signs. The king can give you precious coin or ancient artifact, and I give what I can – the sayings of poets and artists work, imprinted on the paper, Take it, my dear friend, as a token of my love.”