background image
O rn i t h o l o g i c a l ( i m ) p re c i s i o n
Let us have a look again at illustration 8, representing a crane standing alone in a river land-
scape, holding a stone in its claw, with the motto "Pro Grege" above its head. It is to be found in
Peter Isselburg's Emblemata Politica, a copy of which is available at the UIUC website.
It was dis-
cussed at the working conference against the background of the following question:"Is it possi-
ble to codify this image as `Crane with rock as vigilance'?"
The purpose of this question was to find out whether Iconclass provides the terminology to
index the meaning of the crane as vigilance.The schedules of Iconclass contain many abstract
concepts. One of them is defined as Alertness,Vigilance; "Guardia," "Vigilanza," "Vigilanza per
difendersi & oppugnare altri" (Ripa), so the answer to the question is a simple yes. As the print-
er's devices in illustrations 12 - 14 demonstrate, however, the concept of vigilance, even if a crane
is used to express it, can assume different shades of meaning.
Illustration 12: Printer's device used in 1618 by Jan
Lamrinck (Franeker). Motto:"Aldus moet men slapen
/ Sic dormire licet" (i.e.,"This is how you should
sleep"). It is highly likely that this device refers to 1
Thessalonians 5:2 and 5:6:"For you yourselves know
perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief
in the night..." and "...Therefore let us not sleep, as do
others; but let us watch and be sober." Sleeping like a
crane is not sleeping at all.This adds then a very speci-
fic coloring to the concept of "vigilance."
Illustration 13: Printer's device used in 1627 by Her-
man Theunisz Kranepoel (Haarlem). Motto:"Mihi
autem absit gloriari nisi in cruce Domini" (i.e., Gala-
tians 6:14:"But God forbid that I should glory, save in
the cross of our Lord").The crane on the shield below
the cross is a visual pun referring to the last name of
the printer: Kranepoel (Dutch for: pond with cranes).
Whether any association with the concept of "Vigi-
lance" was intended is uncertain. Depicting the bird
with one leg drawn up may simply be a way of saying:
"This is a crane."
Illustration 14: One of several variants of the printer's
device that was frequently used by Arnoud Leers (Rot-
terdam) in the second half of the 17th century. Motto:
"Labore et vigilantia."The crane with a stone is one of
the attributes of Vigilanza as defined in the Iconologia
by Cesare Ripa.The association with Labor may indi-
cate that Leers wanted to connect Watchfulness and
DC_Emblemsbook_180204 19.02.2004 11:25 Uhr Seite 36