11 novembre 2016

Who Holds the Reins? Notes on Equestrian Metaphors and Politics in Some Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Emblems




Iconocrazia 10/2016 - "Arts & Politics. Rhetorical Quests in Cultural Imaging", Saggi




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Dynamograms of virtues and vices

Reflecting on the relationship between images and memory, Aby Warburg wrote that images can work as “dynamograms”, thanks to their capacity to suspend a tension, to accumulate and reverse their “charge”.[1]

Their ability to assume different and sometime opposite meanings is of course the effect of the semantic indeterminacy of images, but it can hint, as well, at ambiguities and contradictions inherent in what they should represent, at tensions they can hide or that, on the contrary, they can make visible.

Equestrian metaphors, whose composite structure is based on the relation between two eterogeneous elements, rider/ridden animal, offer several examples of these ambiguities and inversions. The equilibrium between the two elements can be unstable and not always the rider prevails. The range of possibilities disclosed by this dual structure has been fully exploited in the allegorical representation of virtues, especially when these have become part of a system of civil values connected to politics and law.

Though this paper will focus on emblems and on the way their texts, with more or less explicit didactic intentions, interact with their pictures, the first two images we are going to recall are not extracted from emblem books. Both dealing with the virtue of temperance, they exemplify the way representations sharing an almost identical iconographic scheme can assume different or opposite allegorical meaning.

The first is an engraving representing temperance, after Marcantonio Raimondi, one of the most famous Italian engravers of the first half of sixteenth century.

“Temperancia”, engraving after Marcantonio Raimondi, 1510-1550

Fig. 1. “Temperancia”, engraving after Marcantonio Raimondi, 1510-1550.

Datable 1510-1550, it is one of seven prints in a series representing the theological and cardinal virtues.[2] It shows a female figure, “Temperancia”, sitting on a man and holding in her left hand the instrument to control horses, a harness; the man, bearded, naked, crawling on his hands and knees, seems a sort of tamed homo selvaticus [wild man].

The second image shares with Raimondi’s “Temperancia” the most composition elements [Fig. 2].

Baldung Grien, “Aristotle and Phyllis” (1515), Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, print (woodcut)

Fig. 2. Baldung Grien, “Aristotle and Phyllis” (1515), Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, print (woodcut)

It displays a woman riding a man, holding in her left hand a horsewhip and in her right hand a bridle, attached to a bit placed in the mouth of the man. This engraving is one of the many variations about the story of Aristotle and Phyllis, a subject which enjoyed a great iconographic success, as demonstrated by its hundreds of occurrences in paintings, engravings, objects, furniture, especially between the XV and XVII centuries [Figs. 3a-f]. It is an example of an old iconographic tradition based on a literary anecdote, whose first written occurrence is possibly to be found in Henri d’Andeli’s Le lai d’Aristote (first half of XIII century).[3]

The anecdote has three main characters: the philosopher Aristotle, Alexander the Great, and Phyllis, a courtesan. Aristotle, responsible for Alexander’s education, attempts to detract Aristotle from his obsessive attention to Phyllis; Phyllis, in revenge, seduces and deceives Aristotle into believing that, according to an old tradition of her family, before being joined, she must ride him; Alexander witnesses, unseen, the scene of Aristotle subdued by Phyllis. The story is a parable of reversal, the reversal/inversion between up and down, between conventional roles and hierarchies: man/woman, reason/passion, culture/nature, and so on.

The way these turnarounds are represented does not lack ambiguity. The representation can be read as a warning against the excesses of passions, which can lead to reverse the right order of things and to corrupt even the wisest man, the philosopher per antonomasia, Aristotle. The story would invite us to inspire our behavior to temperance; as an instructive objectification, the scene observed by Alexander should teach him what he could face, in its turn. But one could point out that the same scene, before our eyes and Alexander’s, could instead stand for the pathetic failure of Aristotle’s teaching and, with it, of his idea of happy medium and his ideal of temperance.

The correlation and reciprocity between temperance and punitive interventions introduces in the representation of this virtue many elements of duplicity. Discipline and punishing often evoke actions, behaviors and temperaments connected to force and rage, more than to moderation.

The iconography of temperance mirrors this duplicity, which emerges in the contamination between different figurative traditions and in some polar inversions of the meaning of some images, as we can see in the comparison between the variation of the equestrian topos in Raimondi’s “Temperancia” and the many representations of Aristotle and Phyllis anecdote.

A similar mechanism, where differences and oppositions do not mean reciprocal exclusion but, in many cases, mutual implication, can be found in a series of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century emblems.

 

 Of men and beasts: some emblems of intemperance and temperance

Quam malè sessor equo tractandae ignarus habenae
Insidet, ah poterat tutior ire pedes.

[How badly the horse rider sits who knows nothing of handling the reins, Oh he would be safer going on foot.]

The Sixteenth-century emblem writer and jurist Pierre Cousteau, in an emblem remindful of Plato’s chariot allegory (Phaedrus 246a–254e), compares the relationship between reason and passions to riding. [4]

Pierre Cousteau, Pegma, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1555, “Appetitus subsit rationi, ut equus sessori” K7r – p. 157

Fig. 4. Pierre Cousteau, Pegma, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1555, “Appetitus subsit rationi, ut equus sessori”, K7r – p. 157

The author offers to his educated audience the image of a rider succumbing to his horse, as an allegory of “the one who can’t put the reins on his own passions”.

Qui fraeno nequit in propriis affectibus uti,
Peccatoque amens mergitur ille suo:
Par est brutorum potius numeretur in albo,
Nam ratio in motus obtinet imperium.

[The one who can’t put the reins on his own passions, And succumbs madly to his sin: He is more on the level of being counted among the role of beasts, For reason must have control over the passions.]

Governing one’s passions is like controlling an animal, a parallel implying that uncontrolled passions represent the animal part of man; losing control over passions, men are reduced to brutes, to bestiality. Bestiality denotes a deficit, the lack of some distinctive human features, and in Cousteau’s epigram can also be connoted morally, as “sin”.[5]

The Platonic topos is recalled by several more emblems, beginning from Andrea Alciato’s Emblemata, whose emblem LV, “Temeritas”, uses the charioteer-horse image as an allegory of the relationship between reason and sensitive appetites [Fig. 5]:

In preaceps rapitur, frustra quoque tendit habenas
Auriga, effreni quem vehit oris equus.
Haud facilè huic credas, ratio quem nulla gubernat,
Et temerè proprio ducitur arbitrio.[6]

[A driver pulled by a horse whose mouth does not respond to the bridle is rushed headlong and in vain drags on the reins. You cannot readily trust one whom no reason governs, one who is heedlessly taken where his fancy goes.]

Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme for Guillaume Rouille, 1550, emb. LV, “Temeritas”, D8r – p. 63

Fig. 5. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme for Guillaume Rouille, 1550, emb. LV, “Temeritas”, D8r – p. 63

This emblem was first introduced in the 1546 edition of the Emblemata [Fig. 6],[7] with a pictura displaying a rider on the horse’s back, a dual scheme that produces a more literal rendition of Alciato’s verse, where the opposition reason/appetites does not follow the three-limbed allegory conceived by Plato (one charioteer and two contrasting horses).[8]

Andrea Alciato, Emblematum libellus, Venice, Aldus, 1546, E7v – f39v

Fig. 6. Andrea Alciato, Emblematum libellus, “Temeritas”, Venice, Aldus, 1546, E7v – f39v

Analogous scheme and subject can be found in emblem 22 of Guillaume La Perrière’s Morosophie [Fig. 7], and in L’ymage de temerité, from Gilles Corrozet’s Hecatomgraphie.[9] [Fig. 8] The former shows a woman on a galloping horse, with no reins or saddle, image of undisciplined will, leading to self-destruction; the latter depicts a naked woman on a horse, symbolizing foolish youth. Woman and youth, in these emblems, play the role of the immoderate person, who in fact should be considered not yet or no more a proper human being, but rather a brute, if one reads them in the light of Cousteau’s emblem.

Alciato’s emblem LV, with respect to La Perrière and Corrozet, adds to the moral on self-control – “unbridled passions lead you to destruction” –, a lately political teaching – “following one whom no reason governs, leads to destruction”.

Pictures of later Alciato’s editions, closer to Plato’s allegory than to their own author’s text, prefer the iconography of the chariot towed by two horses[10] [Fig. 9], and in some of their commentaries recall Plato, not mentioned directly by Alciato’s epigram.[11]

Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “Temeritas”, r3r – p. 261

Fig. 9. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “Temeritas”, r3r – p. 261

The movement of falling down easily connects emblem LV to LVI[12], [Fig. 10] describing Phaethon’s fall, whose parable exemplifies the fate of many sovereigns who, first brought up by the wheel of fortune, must then pay for their crimes, after having caused destruction to themselves and to everybody else:

Aspicis aurigam currus Phaethonta paterni,
Ignivomos ausum flectere Solis equos:
Maxima qui postquàm terris incendia sparsit,
Est temerè insesso lapsus ab axe miser.
Sic plerique rotis fortunae ad sidera Reges
Evecti, ambitio quos iuvenilis agit;
Post magnam humani generis clademque suamque,
Cunctorum poenas denique dant scelerum.

[You see here Phaethon, driving his father’s chariot, and daring to guide the fire-breathing steeds of the Sun. After spreading great conflagrations over the earth, the wretched boy fell from the car he had so rashly mounted. – Even so, the majority of kings are borne up to heaven on the wheels of Fortune, driven by youth’s ambition. After they have brought great disaster on the human race and themselves, they finally pay the penalty for all their crimes.]

Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “In temerarios”, r4v – p. 263

Fig. 10. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “In temerarios”, r4v – p. 263

While the rider unable to drive his horse can stand for the vices of temeritastemeritéhybris, recklessness, the ability to control the animal can symbolize the opposite virtue of temperance, habit of moderation and self-restraint.

Heir of the Greek sophrosyne, enrolled among the Christian cardinal virtues, temperance composed with justice, fortitude and prudence, a temporal system of values, subordinated to theological virtues, which was considered fundamental for the social and political equilibrium of the earthly city. That system had to be taught, remembered, made visible.

Cardinal virtues were generally represented as female figures with one or more allegorical attributes, and temperance makes no exception. An early – and much-studied – example of that iconography is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good Government, in Siena [Fig. 11], a XIV-century fresco representing the four [Fig. 11] cardinal virtues, joined by Magnanimity and Peace, next to the kingly figure of “Buon governo”.[13] 

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, “Allegoria del Buon Governo”, 1338-1339 (Siena, Palazzo Pubblico), cropped image

Fig. 11. Ambrogio Lorenzetti, “Allegoria del Buon Governo”, 1338-1339 (Siena, Palazzo Pubblico), cropped image

Temperance’s main attribute, here, is an hourglass on her right hand, suggesting that timeliness and measure are essential qualities of temperated men. Self-restraint is part of rationality, seen – in the terms of Norbert Elias[14] – as the capacity of keeping time under control, as the ability of making long-term conceptual models prevails over short-term affects.

In many paintings and in most emblems [Fig. 12] the reference to self-restraint is more direct, as the distinctive attribute of Temperance is a harness in her hand, recalling, by allusion, the equestrian imagery we have briefly evoked.

Raffaello Sanzio, Allegory of Temperance (detail from Cardinal and Theological Virtues), fresco, 1511, Stanze della Segnatura, Palazzi Vaticani

Fig. 12. Raffaello Sanzio, Allegory of Temperance (detail from Cardinal and Theological Virtues), fresco, 1511, Stanze della Segnatura, Palazzi Vaticani

Let us consider emblem 35 from Gabriel Rollenhagen’s Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum [Fig. 13], with motto “Serva modum” and a very short inscriptio connecting intemperance to hybris.[15]

Gabriel Rollenhagen, Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum. Centuria secunda, Crispin de Passe, Utrecht 1613, pl. 35

Fig. 13. Gabriel Rollenhagen, Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum. Centuria secunda, Crispin de Passe, Utrecht 1613, pl. 35

The pictura is dominated by a female figure, whose breast is naked, holding in her right hand a bridle and a harness, and in her left hand a carpenter’s square. In the background, a bipartite panorama displays a series of actions requiring measure, commitment, control: on the right – behind the hand holding a square – some people with crossbows shooting at the target; on the left – behind the hand holding a harness – two people trying to tame a shied horse, with reins and a riding whip.

The equestrian metaphor, through the harness and through the background scene on the left, recalls the difficult relation between two heterogeneous parts and the necessity of imposing onto these parts the correct hierarchy (who is the one who must hold the reins, who the one who must be curbed; who is the one who can stay in the upper position, who the one who must occupy the lower place).

The epigram focuses on the opposite risk, lack of self-control.

SERVA MODUM

Mens serbare modum, rebus sufflata secundis
Nescit, et affectus frena tenere sui

It is an almost literal citation from the episode of Pallas’s death at Turnus’s hand in Virgil’s Aeneid (X, 501-2)[16], which is a paradigmatic case of shortsightedness, as Turnus, after having killed Pallas, does not restrain himself, trampling on his enemy’s corpse and stripping him of his belt (balteus); furor makes Turnus blind, superb and ignorant of his fate (death, in his turn, at Aeneas’s hands).

Another representation of temperance as a riding woman, even more puzzling, seemingly, than Raimondi’s “Temperancia”, is included in the tarot series known as Alessandro Sforza’s Tarocchi. [Fig. 14]

Tarocchi di Alessandro Sforza, Castello Ursino - Museo Civico di Catania

Fig. 14. Tarocchi di Alessandro Sforza, Castello Ursino – Museo Civico di Catania (Ferrara 1450-1460 ca.)

The female figure, naked, on the back of a deer, is pouring a liquid on her own womb.[17] Her gesture, cryptic at first sight, is to be interpreted as a purificatory act performed by the goddess Diana, symbol of purity and virginity. The deer can be generically read as one among her conventional allegorical attributes, but also, more specifically, as the hunter Actaeon, changed into a stag, for having seen Diana/Artemis naked, while bathing in the woods, in the sacred spring where she was used to go to renew her purity (according to Ovid’s narration, source of inspiration/imitation for several literary and figurative re-interpretations, ranging from Petrarch’s Canzone delle metamorfosi to Bruno’s Eroici furori and Alciato’s emblem, from Tiziano’s paintings to sculptures in the Royal Palace of Caserta).

Diana, whose rituals are traditionally connected to water, tames with her purity Actaeon, transformed into a stag, symbol, in its turn, of docility and purity.[18] Actaeon’s metamorphosis represents at once, through the stag, the virtue of docility and the tragic fate of the man dominated by his passions, symbolized by the dogs that in the myth will devour their own master, the hunter transformed into prey.

Like the equestrian metaphors we have recalled, this myth represents both the individual conflicts (reason/passions, body/soul, etc.) and the conflicting relations between tempered and immoderate subjects, relations that can be read as well in a political perspective (see for example the identification of Actaeon’s dogs as the bad counsellors of queen Elizabeth’s in England[19]).

The Sforza’s tarot merges two ways of representing temperance, one based on the equestrian imagery, the other on the gesture of pouring and mixing liquids. The same combination, with different implications, can be found elsewhere, including emblems. For instance, Henry Peacham, in his Minerva Britanna (1612), in an emblem which is interesting both for its text and for the allegorical attributes it recalls [Fig. 15], depicts Temperance as a walking female figure, whose breast is exposed, holding in her right hand a bridle and in her left hand a golden cup.[20]

H. Peacham, Minerva Britanna (1612), emblem 93

Fig. 15. H. Peacham, Minerva Britanna (1612), emblem 93

The instrument to curb affections and the cup to reward the victors over unrestrained passions, in Peacham’s verse, seems to imply a form of correlation between the virtue of temperance and its opposite, intemperance.

Some insightful studies on the transformations of temperance have convincingly argued that in most cases, from early Renaissance onward, temperance has to be understood more as continence, that is – as a an active intervention to restrain our passions.[21] A “continent” person, according to Aristotle’s ethics, experiences the influence of passions but is better able to resist their counter-rational pressures than the “incontinent”; nonetheless, continent men are not virtuous, although they generally do what a virtuous person does. The truly virtuous man, instead, does not experience any internal conflict; true temperance should mean: absence of pressures towards ethically wrong objects; absence of conflict between reason and passion; full, stable and undefeatable self-control.[22]

Peacham’s temperance, as many other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century allegories of the same virtue, including Ripa’s Iconologia version, has a martial aspect which better suits “continence” and not surprisingly shares its main attributes with another allegory dealing with conflict and with the balanced instruments of punishment and rewards, Nemesis.

Fig. 16. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, emb. XXVII, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, K7r-p. 157

An emblematic representation of Nemesis is in Alciato’s “Nec verbo, nec facto quenquam laedendum” (“Harm no one, by word or deed”), [Fig. 16] whose subscriptio says that:

Assequitur, Nemesisque virùm vestigia servat,
Continet & cubitum, duraque fraena manu.
Ne malè quid facias, neve improba verba loquaris:
Et iubet in cunctis rebus adesse modum. [23]

[Nemesis watches for, and overtakes, the footsteps of men, and holds a ruler and harsh bridle in her hand, lest you do anything evil, or speak dishonest words: She commands moreover that there be due measure in all things.]

Though in some editions of the Emblemata, possibly for a wrong reading of the Latin word “cubitum” (which can also mean “elbow”), we cannot see any ruler, the text clearly tells us that Nemesis’s attributes are a harsh bridle and a ruler, tools of command and measure, closing the loop and leading us back to Rollenhagen and Wither’s image for temperance.

The most famous representation of Nemesis, however, is Dürer’s “Great Fortune” (1502) [Fig. 17], a representation that Giorgio Vasari, not surprisingly, did not describe as “Nemesis” but as an allegory of Temperance.[24]

Albrecht Dürer, “The Great Fortune (Nemesis)” (c. 1501-2 – British Museum), cropped

Fig. 17. Albrecht Dürer, “The Great Fortune (Nemesis)” (c. 1501-2 – British Museum), cropped

The connection between Nemesis and Temperance, already apparent from the visual standpoint, is confirmed by Ripa’s Iconologia, where, sub voce “Nemesi”, we are told that ancient people represented Nemesis with a harness, as Justice’s daughter, charged to punish the intemperate passions of men (“Gli antichi co’l freno dipingevano Nemesis, figliuola della Giustizia, la quale con severità castigava gli affetti intemperati de gli uomini”).[25]

Alciato’s Nemesis leads us back to Rollenhagen’s image for temperance (1613), whose woodblock was re-used by George Wither, around twenty years later (1635), in his Collection of Emblemes [Fig. 18].[26]

Fig. 18. George Wither, A Collection of Emblemes (A. M. – R. Allot, London 1635), book III, ill. XXXV, p. 169

Fig. 18. George Wither, A Collection of Emblemes (A. M. – R. Allot, London 1635), book III, ill. XXXV, p. 169

Wither paired that image with a much longer text, connecting the principle of happy medium to word, passion, action.

He explains that our nature, like a “head strong horse” or a “blockish mule”, needs to be curbed. Square and bridle are compared to Law and Discipline. Without Law, men are as dull as senseless creatures; they are amorphous beings, needing to be shaped, like forms by a square. However, teaching Law and making us understand its importance is not enough, as passions can prevail over reason; hence, Will needs the bridle of Discipline: Will must be kept in awe and its passions must be bound. Control over passions is connected to an introjection of Law that must be fixed by Discipline, whose image is the bridle, instrument of the constriction used to bring a living being under control.

The figure of Temperance becomes, in Wither’s verse, the allegory of a disciplining process, aiming at binding will to law, a process relying on an active force of control.

Temperance appears to be more connected to continence, to controlling and mitigating passions, than to a choice between excess and deficiency. And in this perspective, the circular correlation between individual self-control and the possibility of corrective interventions becomes clearer, with a strong emphasis on the social and politic function of temperance.

Temperance and the other virtues are habits that can be learned and taught through discipline – as suggested by Wither’s epigram. They can facilitate the transformation of external impositions into internal self-compulsions, a transformation which is one of the conditions for a stable control of society. [27]

In a tradition going back to at least Thomas Aquinas, temperance had been connected more to the individual than to the public sphere, and for this reason considered less important. It concerns the individual, and in particular his bodily dimension, while justice and force are related to the common good, the first by regulating the relations among people and the second by enabling to face war for the sake of the community.[28]

The same arguments seem to justify, from the point of view of modern sovereigns, an opposite and much more positive evaluation of temperance: fortitude in war will become less essential in modern armies (bold knights being progressively replaced by trained soldiers, able to use firearms, with method and precision) and justice in the mutual relations must be a monopoly of the state, while individual discipline and self control become essential to relieve the centralized national state from an almost impossible control over all its subjects.

Politics operates on the ground of practical judgment, always exposed to the influence of passions, which put individual interests and immediate satisfaction before collective interests and long-term advantages. The moral virtue of temperance or sophrosyne, according to Aristotle, should correct this tendency and let right reason prevail.

Among the cardinal virtues, for a long time, temperance was considered less noble than fortitude or justice, as fortitude and justice concern common wealth, whereas temperance moderates individual behavior only. On the contrary, for the modern ruling élites, individual discipline and self control were to become essential to relieve the centralized national state from an almost impossible control over all its subjects. The internal moderation of the subjects had to be accompanied and reinforced by the external tempering action of law and punishment (actual or eventual). As suggested by Wither’s emblem, claiming that “once law has schooled, the wit discipline keeps the will in awe”, these two faces of temperance are strictly interconnected.

The emblems we have examined seem to suggest that, at least between sixteenth and seventeenth century, an external and active connotation of temperance prevails. The equestrian metaphors, potentially apt to represent both internal dualisms and the dialectic relationship between two distinct subjects, actually tend to privilege a scenery with two subjects. Temperance, transformed in an active force and applied to the macro-body of the state, becomes a corrective instrument that can be applied to the entire collectivity. The lack of individual self-control legitimates a public regulation of passions.

Marcantonio’s “Temperancia” and the iconography of Aristotle and Phyllis [Figs. 1-2], can illustrate the correlation between temperance and intemperance. They show this correlation and store the tension arising from their chiasmic relationship: the triumphant virtue of temperance on the left, like in a deforming mirror, becomes the triumphant vice on the right; the triumphed appetites on the left become the triumphed educator of the prince on the right.

As a fracture in this symmetry, the prince stands in the background of the scene of Phyllis and Aristotle, pulling the string in the play between temperance and intemperance.

 

 

FOOTNOTES

[1] See on this point Georges Didi-Huberman, L’Image survivante. Histoire de l’art et temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris 2002 (in particular, in chapter II, the sections “Dynamogramm, ou le cycle des contre-temps” and “Champ et véhicule des mouvements survivants : la Pathosformel”).

[2] The Illustrated Bartsch, XXVIII, p. 64, n. 080.

[3] See Reinhard Brandt, Filosofia nella pittura. Da Giorgione a Magritte, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2003, pp. 191-205; C. Hermann, Der “Gerittene Aristoteles”. Das Bildmotiv des Gerittenen Aristoteles” und seine Bedeutung für die Aufrechterhaltung der gesellschaftlichen Ordnung von Beginn des 13 Jhs. bis um 1500, Centaurus-Verlagsgesellschaft, Pfaffenweiler 1991.

[4] Pierre Coustau, Pegma, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1555, k7r – p. 157. (English translation from Glasgow Emblem Website: http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/french/emblem.php?id=FCPb048).

[5] For the philosophical debate concerning humanity, animality and bestiality, a debate involving the ontological and the political dimensions, see at least Jacques Derrida, Séminaire La bête et le souverain, vol. 1 (2001-2002), Galilée, Paris 2008.

[6] Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme for Guillaume Rouille, 1550, emb. LV, “Temeritas”, D8r – p. 63. (English translation form Glasgow Emblem Website: http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/alciato/facsimile.php?id=sm34_D8r).

[7] Andrea Alciato, Emblematum libellus, Venice, Aldus, 1546, E7v – f39v (English translation of this and the following emblems reproduced by permission of Glasgow University Library – Special Collections, are taken from Glasgow University Emblem Website: http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk).

[8] See on this subject Giuseppe Cascione, Iconocrazia. Comunicazione e politica nell’Europa di Carlo V. Dipinti, emblemi e monete, Ennerre, Milano 2006.

[9] Guillaume de la Perrière, Morosophie, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1553, E2v (epigram: “TETRASTICHON. / Nomen equi indomiti quaeris? Nomenque puellae, / Quae velut in praeceps iam moritura ruit? / Hic equus est hominis petulans sine lege voluntas, / Cuius ad obsequium stulta iuventa perit. [‘What is the name of the horse wild and free?’ you ask. ‘How do they call the girl, rushing madly, as it were, to her death?’ This horse is the unbridled will of man, which knows no law, in whose service stupid youth rushes to destruction.]  QUATRAIN. / Sur ce cheval, qui fol vouloir se nomme, / Jeunesse court sans bride, mordz ne frain: / Ce cheval fait perir maint un jeune homme, / Si de bonne heure il ne change de train.“); Gilles Corrozet, Hecatomgraphie, Paris, Denis Janot, 1540, “L’ymage de temerité”, ff. D1v-D2r. See also Holbein’s panel depicting a man on a gallopin horse, with the inscription “E cosi desio me mena” [And so desire carries me along], from Petrarch’s Canzoniere (http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=814 – Hans Holbein the Younger, German, about 1532 – 1536, Oil on panel,17 7/8 x 17 7/8 in., 80.PB.72).

[10] Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “Temeritas”, r3r – p. 261.

[11] See for example 1584 edition, whose picture will be used also by Whitney, enriched by Mignault’s commentary: “Il a emprunté ceste similitude de Platon, qui compare nostre esprit à un charretier: les perturbations, aux chevaux. Ainsi est il montré icy qu’il ne faut rien commettre à celuy, qui ne peust commander à ses passions, mais se laisse transporter çà & là, de maniere que c’est ainsi qu’un cheval qui traine & tire son conducteur.” (Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Paris, Jean Richer, 1584, ff. 80v-81r).

[12] Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “In temerarios”, r4v – p. 263.

[13] See: Quentin Skinner, “Ambrogio Lorenzetti: The Artist as Political Philosopher”, in Proceedings of the British Academy, LXXII, 1986, 1-56; Enrico Castelnuovo (ed.), Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Il Buon Governo, Electa, Milan 1995; Joseph Polzer, “Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s «War and Peace» Murals Revisited: Contributions to the Meaning of the «Good Government Allegory»”, in Artibus et Historiae, vol. 23, n. 45 (2002), pp. 63-105.

[14] Norbert Elias, On Civilization, Power, and Knowledge. Selected Writings, University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London 1998, p. 92.

[15]Gabriel Rollenhagen, Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum. Centuria secunda (Crispin de Passe, Utrecht 1613), pl. 35.

[16] “…nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futurae / et servare modum rebus sublata secundis!” (Aeneid, X, 501-2).

[17] Vd. G. Berti – A. Vitali (a cura di), Le carte di corte. I tarocchi. Gioco e magia alla corte degli Estensi, Nuova Alfa editoriale, Bologna 1987, pp. 32-33.

[18] For more information on this tarot, in the frame of a wider discussion of the representations of temperance, see Andrea Vitali’s “La Temperanza”, at http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=126, which connects this iconography to the images of Aristotle and Phyllis. Vitali stresses also the fact that temperance was also seen as intechangeable with fame, because it can make people famous through praiseworthy actions; in its Parergon Juris, in a passage recalling the order of the tarot cards, Alciato replaces fame with temperance (Andrea Alciato, Parergon Iuris libri VII posteriores, Gryphium, Lyons 1554, liber VIII, caput XVI, “De ludis nostri temporis”, pp. 72-73 – http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k54627n/f73.image).

[19] See, on this point, Nuccio Ordine, La soglia dell’ombra. Letteratura, filosofia e pittura in Giordano Bruno, Marsilio, Venezia 2003, pp. 150-3.

[20] Henry Peacham, Minerva Britanna, or, A Garden Of Heroical Deuises, furnished, and adorned with Emblemes and Impresa’s of sundry nature [London : Printed in Shoe-lane at the signe of the Faulcon by Wa: Dight., 1612], emblem 93.

[21] Kasey Evans, Colonial Virtue: The Mobility of Temperance in Renaissance England, University of Toronto Press, Toronto 2012.

[22] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1117b-1119b (book III, ch. 10-12).

[23] Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Pietro Paolo Tozzi, 1621, p. 157 (f. K7r).

[24] “…Alberto, non volendo essere da Luca superato, né in quantità né in bontà d’opere, intagliò una figura nuda sopra certe nuvole; e la Temperanza con certe ale mirabili, con una coppa d’oro in mano, et una briglia, et un paese minutissimo” (“Vita di Marcantonio Bolognese, e d’altri intagliatori di stampe”, Giorgio Vasari, Delle vite de’ piu eccellenti pittori, scultori et architettori, parte III vol I, Giunti, Firenze 1568, p. 298). The engraving of Nemesis has been viewed as a secular counterpart of the Apocalypse. From the panoply of the Christian apocalyptic imagery, many riding figures can be evoked, from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to the Great Harlot of Babylon, on the back of the seven-headed Beast, holding in her hand a cup, full of inebriating wine. For some considerations about the representation of the Harlot of Babylon in emblem books and its connections to the image of Christ riding on an ass, Donato Mansueto, “L’asino, il Re e la meretrice. Di alcuni emblemi teologico-politici”, in Ernst H. Kantorowicz, Misteri di Stato, D. Mansueto-G. Cascione eds., Pensa Multimedia, Lecce, 2004, pp. 95-131.

[25] Cesare Ripa, Iconologia overo Descrittione d’Imagini delle Virtù, Vitii, Affetti, Passioni humane, Corpi celesti, Mondo e sue parti, Padua, Pietro Paolo Tozzi, 1611, p. 508.

[26] George Wither, A Collection of Emblemes (A. M. – R. Allot, London 1635), book III, ill. XXXV, p. 169.

[27] “A social figuration within which an extensive transformation of external into internal compulsions takes place in a permanent condition for the production of forms of behavior the distinctive feature of which we denote by the concept of ‘rationality’. The complementary concepts of ‘rationality’ and ‘irrationality’ refer to the relative parts played by short-term affects and long-term conceptual models of observable reality in individual behaviour. The greater the importance of the latter in the unstable balance between affective and reality-oriented directives, the more ‘rational’ behavior is” (Norbert Elias, On Civilization, Power, and Knowledge. Selected Writings, Stephen Mennell and Johan Goudsblom eds., University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1998, p. 92 [the above passage is a translation from Elias’s Die höfische Gesellschaft, Hermann Luchterhand Verlag, Darmstadt and Neuwied, 1969].

[28] See on this point Thomas Aquinas’s argument: “Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in I Ethic., bonum multitudinis divinius est quam bonum unius. Et ideo quanto aliqua virtus magis pertinet ad bonum multitudinis tanto melior est. Iustitia autem et fortitudo magis pertinent ad bonum multitudinis quam temperantia, quia iustitia consistit in communicationibus, quae sunt ad alterum; fortitudo autem in periculis bellorum, quae sustinentur pro salute communi; temperantia autem moderatur solum concupiscentias et delectationes eorum quae pertinent ad ipsum hominem. Unde manifestum est quod iustitia et fortitudo sunt excellentiores virtutes quam temperantia, quibus prudentia et virtutes theologicae sunt potiores” (Summa Theologiae, II-II. q. 141, a. 8).

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND CREDITS

Fig. 1. “Temperancia”, engraving after Marcantonio Raimondi, 1510-1550 (British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 2. Baldung Grien, “Aristotle and Phyllis” (1515), Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, print (woodcut)(British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 3a. Master MZ, 1500-3, Engraving 1895, 0915.232, AN86195001 (Bartsch VI.379.18) (British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 3b. Hans Brosamer, 1520-1551, Engraving 1862,0712.639, AN610908001 (Bartsch VIII.463.18) (British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 3c. Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530, private collection (public domain image from Wikimedia Commons).

Fig. 3d. Aquamanile in the form of Aristotle and Phyllis, late 14th or early 15th century, Southern Netherland, 1975.1.1416, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Fig. 3e. Johannes Sadeler I, Engraving (inscription: “Nil studium, nil sacra valent Conanima Vatum / Consilium Sapiens ni pietate regat”),16th century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (53.601.10(25)).

Fig. 3f. Georg Pencz, engraving, 1545-6, 1853,0709.138 (Bartsch VIII.350.97) (British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 4. Pierre Cousteau, Pegma, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1555, “Appetitus subsit rationi, ut equus sessori”, K7r – p. 157 (SM371- by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections)

Fig. 5. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme for Guillaume Rouille, 1550, emb. LV, “Temeritas”, D8r – p. 63 (SM34- by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 6. Andrea Alciato, Emblematum libellus, Venice, Aldus, 1546, E7v – f39v (SM29- by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 7. Guillaume de la Perrière, Morosophie, Lyons, Macé Bonhomme, 1553, E2v (SM689 – by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 8. Gilles Corrozet, Hecatomgraphie, Paris, Denis Janot, 1540, “L’ymage de temerité”, ff. D1v-D2r (SM Add385 – by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 9. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “Temeritas”, r3r – p. 261 (SM 1226 – by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 10. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, “In temerarios”, r4v – p. 263 (SM 1226 – by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 11. Ambrogio Lorenzetti, “Allegoria del Buon Governo”, 1338-1339 (Siena, Palazzo Pubblico), cropped image (public domain image from Wikimedia Commons).

Fig. 12. Raffaello Sanzio, Allegory of Temperance (detail from Cardinal and Theological Virtues), fresco, 1511, Stanze della Segnatura, Palazzi Vaticani.

Fig. 13. Gabriel Rollenhagen, Nucleus emblematum selectissimorum. Centuria secunda, Crispin de Passe, Utrecht 1613, pl. 35 (Internet Archive, Call number 628643 – book contributor: Getty Research Institute).

Fig. 14. Tarocchi di Alessandro Sforza, Castello Ursino – Museo Civico di Catania (Ferrara 1450-1460 ca.) (public domain image).

Fig. 15. H. Peacham, Minerva Britanna (1612), emblem 93 (Internet Archive, Call number D-7 P355M – book contributor: Duke University Libraries).

Fig. 16. Andrea Alciato, Emblemata, Padua, Petro Paulo Tozzi, 1621, K7r-p. 157 (SM 1226 – by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections).

Fig. 17. Albrecht Dürer, “The Great Fortune (Nemesis)” (c. 1501-2 – British Museum), cropped, Engraving, 1895, 0915.346, AN2774400 (British Museum – under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 18. George Wither, A Collection of Emblemes (A. M. – R. Allot, London 1635), book III, ill. XXXV, p. 169 (public domain image, from the Digital Collection of the Penn State University Libraries; courtesy of the Pennsylvania State University).

 

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