7.15 Italians Out of Step
An excellent and highly original new account of the Italian impresa tradition and the ways in which it developed independently of the larger European emblem is provided by Susan Gaylard in Hollow Men: Writing, Objects, and Public Image in Renaissance Italy, New York, Fordham U. Press, 2013, chapter five. She also discusses academy emblems at length.
Yes, but see my note there (section 7.06).
Interesting. This mostly answers my previous question.
Right. In fact, Italian academic emblems are usually of the non-commonplace sort. They strive for as little-obvious a referential frame as possible. In this way, they attempt to create or sustain elite, exclusive communities –by contrast to most school-oriented or public-consumption emblems which aimed to create broader communities of readers who bought into humanist political commonplaces.
This seems most convincing: “creating collegiality among an elite group of students.” A lot of education does this, as we all know. The emblems then become part of a socio-economic project to reinforce useful class distinctions.
I’m a bit unclear how to reconcile the phrase “vehicle of meditative poetics and a machine for contemplation of the divine” with the commonplace ethical truisms the emblems so frequently illustrate or embody.