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Amorum Emblemata, Figuris Æneis Incisa Studio Othonis Væni Batavo-Lugdunensis.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Antverpiæ.: Venalia apud Auctorem., M. DC. IIX.

Physical Description

[16], 247, [1] p.: [125] full-page illus.; 154×190 mm. (Small oblong quarto).


[T.p., dedic.] - [Commendatory poems] - [Text with illus.]; Censura (1607); [statement about privileges]; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

Illustrations are unsigned, except that on p.1, signed 'C. Boel fecit'.

The printer is named in the colophon: 'Typis Henrici Swingenij'.

The work is dedicated to 'Guilielmo Bavaro Domino De Holinchoven' (formerly Duke of Bavaria, 1579-1597).


A. Adams, S. Rawles and A. Saunders, A Bibliography Of French Emblem Books (2 v., 1999-2002), vol. II. no. F.593, p.544-7.

L. Seth, 'Vermeer och van Veens Amorum Emblemata', in Ksthist. Tidskr. XLIX (1980), p. 17-40; T. Wilberg Vignau-Schuurman, 'Joris Hoefnagels Groteskenserie en de Amorum Emblemata van Otto van Veen', in Opstellen voor H. van de Waal (1970), p. 214-32. E. Mai and H. Vliege, Von Breugel bis Rubens [exhibition catalogue] (1992).

Overviews of emblem literature include D. Sulzer, Poetik synthetisierender Künste (1992); P.M. Daly, The English emblem and the continental tradition (1989).

Summary Note

A second edition appeared in the same year. Its title-page is identical with that of the first, except that the words 'Prostant apud Hieronymum Verdussen' are added to 'Venalia apud Auctorem'.

This is one of several emblem-books by Veen and Cats, popular in the Netherlands. They combined a rich variety of images with mottoes of ethical import, following the example set by Alciati's Emblematum liber (1531). Interest in the genre was revived in 19th-century Britain by some book-illustrators and Pre-Raphaelite painters.

The full-page illustrations are each faced by explanatory verses in Latin, Italian and French, printed on the verso of the preceding leaf.


The front pastedown carries an 18th-century armorial bookplate of Joseph Smith ['Consul Smith']. Acquired by 1802. Recorded in A Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Binding Note

18th-century sheep; gilt-decorated spine, red morocco spine-labels, lettered, 'S. Vaeni Amor Emblem' and 'Antu 1608'.


Love - Cupids - Emblems (symbols) - History
Emblem books - Belgium - 17th century
Pictorial works - Belgium - 17th century