If we begin with “aliquid stat pro aliquo”

(something stands for something)

{in the} Begining from the simple is dangerous and ultimately threatening endeavor, yet this is the human path, not in any way short of interrogating human understanding, (contemplating Aristotle’s theory of light and colour, which is found in two of Aristotle’s works: On the Soul and Sense and Sensibilia) how we transform the gap between thought and expression , can spring forth from Parmenides and Heidegger takes the ideas that “Being Is,” that “all is One,”, and beyond those to the thought that “Being and thinking are the same.” Therefore, Menestrier in his two books, discussed here ,and offered here, is challenging those kidnappers of existence (Descartes Maybe?) with a Proof of Life?  Heraclitus, tells us  “Being Becomes,” because “all is flux.” And all our thinking about meaning is a face-to-face attempt to position ourselves with(in) our experience of/with the moving perceptions of the world around us. ( and to share? impose? it upon our fellow-man)



950G Claude-François Menestrier 1631-1705

L’art des emblemes. Par le P.C. François Menestrier, de la Compagnie de Jesus

A Lyon : Chez Benoist Coral, ruë Merciere, à l’Enseigne de la Victoire,1662 $2900

Octavo A4, A-G8, H-O4.  First Edition.    This copy is bound in full contemporary speckled calf with gilt spine in very good shape with only a little wear on the head cap and corners.

As Alison Saunders has demonstrated, it is with Menestrier that the emblem comes into its own as a form worthy of its own full treatise, whereas in earlier theoretical writings it was discussed in the broader context of devices, and the main interest of the writers lay in establishing the differences between emblem and device (Alison Saunders, The Seventeenth-Century French Emblem [Geneva, 2000], pp. 332-333).

Menestrier gives a very detailed exposition of his understanding of the emblem, and its function as a didactic tool.   Above all, it is the didactic nature of emblems that Menestrier emphasizes, describing the way in which their pleasing combination of word and image is exploited towards a moralizing end. While acknowledging Alciati’s pioneering role as creator of the emblem in its modern form, Menestrier insists on the great antiquity of the genre, stating that “Emblems are as ancient as the world, in that the world is, so to speak, an Emblem of the Divine,” substantiating this statement by citing the authority of St. Paul, “who taught that the things that Man sees are the images and figures representing the wisdom and power of Him who made them” (“S. Paul, qui nous apprend que les choses que nous voyons,sont à l’homme autant d’images & de figures sensibles qui luy representent la sagesse aussi bien que la puissance de celuy qui les a faites” This volume containins  ten leaves of illustrations     (D. Graham, Claude-François Menestrier: The Founder of ‘Early Modern Grounded Theory’, in W. de Boer, K.A.E. Enenkel & W.S. Melion [edd.], Jesuit Image Theory, Leiden, 2016, p. 120) Allut XXIII ; Renard XXV ; Sommervogel V 910, 25 ; Praz 422 ; Landwehr 513





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949G Claude-François Menestrier  1631-1705

La philosophie des images enigmatiques, ou il est traité des enigmes, hieroglyphiques, oracles, propheties, sorts, divinations, loteries, talismans, songes, centuries de Nostradamus, de la baguette.


A Lyon : Chez Jaques Guerrier …, M.DC.XCIV [1694]      $2200

Duodecimo â, A-X12 First Edition This copy is bound in full contemporary speckled calf with gilt spine in very good shape with only a little wear on the head cap and corners.

The author explains here the various kinds of enigmas, and establishes their characters, rules, and customs. He classifies these enigmas into three classes: permissible (like rebus and emblems), suspects (like palmistry), and condemned ones (like talismanic magic).
Ménestrier is one of the most brilliant representatives of a baroque culture at its peak in the middle of the 17th century.  He was a man of all talents, prodigious erudition, a prolific author of treatises on the coat of arms, emblems, medals, the philosophy of images, history, he was the theoretician, but also the director of all Forms of spectacle of his time, the inexhaustible designer of iconographic programs associating all the cultural legacies of France of Louis XIV.  A member of the Society of Jesus  and attendant of the royal court.

This  fascinating illustrated book of esoteric philosophy, contains rare illustrations and covers a range of topics such as puzzles, talismans, hieroglyphics, oracles, prophecies, divinations, dream interpretations, and spells and sorceries. Many of the topics discussed parallel the work of Nostradamus.
In this  vast oeuvre on symbolic images, which uses Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Poetics and Politics as well as Tesauro’s Cannocchiale Aristotelico as key references for an all-encompassing conceptualization of the visual, epitomized in his project of a philosophie des images, Ménestrier traces back all forms of knowledge such as art, philosophy, and theology to specific image practices.  A thorough examination of Ménestrier’s theoretical conception remains difficult to undertake due to the thematic disparity of his oeuvre as well as his casuistic and accumulative approach.  Hence, Ménestrier’s theoretical contribution to the performance culture of the Ancien Régime becomes fully visible only in a synopsis of scattered remarks.

Renard CXXIII.; Sommervogel V 935, 123; Caillet III 7376; Jouin et Descreux 535, 10; Landwehr, Romanic, 520; Praz t. II, 92; Chomarat 310; Yve-Plessis 1041949G Claude-


Please see: David Graham in P. Bouissac, ed., Encyclopedia of Semiotics (see below), online version at http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/2003/emblem.html;

Levinas: Entre Nous: Essais sur le penser-à-l’autre. Paris, France: Éditions Bernard Grasset, Collection Figures, 1993