Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Visual Arts


Madeline Lennon


Andrea Alciati is considered the first author of an emblem book. He was part of the humanist revolution which altered the form of knowledge and helped inspire the creation of the emblem genre. The visual and literary together symbolize aspects of life that have always already been. This thesis examines how theory has dealt with the genre by reviewing Platonic and Aristotelian symbol theory, impresa theory, contemporary literary theory, and modern emblem scholarship. The emblem’s relationship to classical precursors is considered in order to contextualize the genre. How the emblem was driven by the novel elements of the printing trade and how it formulated a relationship with its readers are analyzed as well. The emblem is an artful reconsideration of prior knowledge which is assigned a novel persona because of its mode of production.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.