917G       Willem van Hees (Gulielmus Hesius)      1601-1690

Emblemata sacra de fide, spe, charitate               

Antuerpiae : Ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti, 1636           $2,900


Octavo    A-R12. Sole Edition There are 116 emblems half-page emblematic woodcuts (Liber I with 41, Liber II with 30, Liber III with 40) and 5 unsigned, unnumbered half-page woodcut illustrations (p. 6, 8, 18, 147, 263). The Emblems are from woodcuts by Jan Christoffel Jegher after Erasmus Quellinus–See Praz.

Hees is said to have influenced Artus Quellinus II .( St. Walburga Church in Bruges: an oak pulpit remarkable for breaking with tradition: the barrel is not supported by heavy volutes but rests firmly on a single figure representing Faith (rather than the more usual multiple archangels and church fathers) and the stairs at the back).

Hees’ influence has been identified in Vermeer’s The Allegory of Faith in the glass orb on which the woman sets her eyes “According to Eddy De Johgh, Vermeer appears to have taken it from a 1636 emblem book by the Jesuit Willem Hesius, Emblemata sacra de fide, spe, charitate. In the emblem, “Capit Quod Non Capit”, a winged boy, a symbol of the soul, is shown holding a sphere reflecting a nearby cross and the sun. In a poem accompanying the emblem, Hesius states that the sphere’s ability to reflect the world is similar to the mind’s ability to believe in God.”[1]

Selena Cant has written that the sphere is :DSC_0006

symbol of the human mind and its capacity both to reflect and to contain infinity.“[2]

DeBacker-Sommervogel,vol. IV, col. 336, no. 3; Corpus librorum emblematum. Jesuit series,; J.661; Emblem books at the Univ. of Illinois,; H23; Landwehr, J. Emblem books in the Low Countries,; 203; Landwehr, J. Dutch emblem books,; 83; Praz, M. Studies in 17th cent. imagery (2nd ed.),

  1. Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., editor,Johannes Vermeer, catalogue of an exhibition National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, p 192, citing Eddy De Jongh, “Pearls of Virtue and Pearls of Vice”, Simiolus 8: 69–97, 1975/1976, The Hague; pp 190–195, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995
  2. Liedtke, Walter A. (2001). Vermeer and the Delft School. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 399–402. 
  3. Unknown-1      DSC_0312
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