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Motto (Latin):
FLAMMAM SOLANTUR UNDAE
Motto (Early Modern German):
Die Hize zu löschen
Motto (German):
Die Hitze zu löschen
Descriptors:
stag
shadow
stream
Topos:
Stag cooling itself in a stream
Theme:
Tears of penance wash away sin
The keywords in the field "Descriptors" are a list of the "pictorial motifs" the indexer wanted
to record.These keywords seem perfectly reasonable to me, although I have one small remark. I
assume the choice for "shadow" instead of e.g., "tree" was somewhat influenced by the motto,
because this speaks of trying to take away the heat.
An Iconclass encoding of these motifs would be rather straightforward:
ˇ 22C8 shadow
ˇ 25F24(STAG)(+1) hoofed animals (with NAME) + used symbolically
ˇ 25F24(STAG)(+536) hoofed animals (with NAME) + lying animal
ˇ 25G3(+371) tree + dead, withered plant
ˇ 25H212 brook
As you can see, I have elaborated a little bit and stated that the stag is lying down. It is not there
simply to be a stag, but to convey some meaning.This I called "used symbolically." I also added a
notation for the tree which seems to produce rather more shadow than its withered state war-
rants.This detail may, of course, be irrelevant, but that does not necessarily make mentioning the
tree superfluous.Things get more interesting when we look at the next field, called topos. Here
it says "stag cooling itself in a stream."The difference between the descriptors and the topos is the
remark that the animal is "cooling itself." Here we seem to find ourselves in a curious predica-
ment. How do we decide whether "cooling itself " is a pictorial motif or not? Obviously, with-
out the texts that surround the picture we would not know that the stag is lying down in the
water to escape the heat. So we would not add it to our descriptors. Not knowing this, howev-
er, would also mean that we would not, or could not, incorporate it in the description of the
topos. Once we know it, in other words, we cannot "un-know" it.The information has become
an inescapable element of the meaning of this picture.
Is it really important to draw a sharp line between "pictorial motif " and "topos"? To be quite
Illustration 20:"Die Hitze zu löschen," Jacques Callot,
Lux Claustri. Augsburg: Kolb, 1720, Emblem 12.
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