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He discusses the meaning of the individual attributes in the commentaries prefacing the emblems:
JSt der Tod / der erstlich / auf dem Haupt einen Krantz von Cypressen=zweigen hat /
welche nicht verwelcken: weiln kein Mensch also stirbt; daß er ewiglich todt bleibt; son-
dern wieder auferstehen muß. Zum andern / hat er einen Churrock und einen
Bauern=Kittel an; weil er keines Stands verschonet. Zum Dritten / hat er / unter dem
rechten Arm / ein Küssen / und / unter dem lincken Arm / einen Bund von Dornen;
weiln er den Frommen ein süsser Schlaff / den bösen aber ein Gang zur Straff ist.
[Here is death who first wears a wreath of cypress twigs, which do not wilt, upon his
head: because no one who dies remains dead eternally, rather he must rise again. Second,
he wears an electoral prince's robe and a peasant's smock, because he spares no social
class.Third, he has a cushion under his right arm and a bundle of thorns under his left,
because he is a sweet sleep to the righteous, but to the evil he is a road to punishment.]
The motto reduces this three-part interpretation to a single feature:"Den Frommen ist der Tod
ein Schlaff: | Den Bösen eine fahrt zur straff " (To the righteous death is a sleep:To the evil a jour-
ney to punishment).The heading of the subscriptio ("Deß Todes Gewißheit und Vngleichheit" (on
death's certainty and inequality) summarizes the message of the motto with the word "Vngleich-
heit" (inequality), while "Gewißheit" (certainty) probably refers to the inevitability of death and
thereby adds another aspect to the spectrum of the commentary's meaning.The four lines of the
subscriptio merely repeat the second and third thoughts of the commentary, without addressing
the meaning of the cypress wreath again:
DEm Tod ein Bauren=Kittel gilt
So viel / als Chur=rock / Helm und Schild
Dem Frommen er ein Küssen bringt:
Zum Bösen er / zur Pein / sich dringt.
[A peasant's smock is as valuable to death as the Elector's cloak, helm, and shield. He
brings a cushion to the righteous. He hastens to punish the wicked.]
To capture the multiple meanings of this emblem completely in keywords, at least four entries
are necessary.
Fortunately, there are also emblem books that largely rule out the question of possible multi-
ple interpretations.The Emblematische Gemüths-Vergnügung, first published in Augsburg in 1693,
belongs to this group.
It contains fifty copperplates each of which have twelve to fifteen
emblematic medallions (ill. 3), and for each of these a Latin, German, French, and Italian motto
as well as a brief description of the image, which, however, offers no clues to the meaning.
See footnote 10, Dilherr (1661), f.
***ij verso. Nearly the same explica-
tion is given on p. 218 beside the
See footnote 13, Praz (1964), 315;
see also footnote 4, Landwehr (1972)
no. 455-459; and VD 17, 3:302165E.
For the origins of this collection, see
Wolfgang Harms and Dietmar Peil,
"Zum emblemhistorischen Kontext
der Vorlage der Dresdener Embleme
sowie Überlegungen zu ihrer
Auswahl und Funktion," Das Kügel-
genhaus in Dresden und seine emblema-
tische Deckendekoration (Neustadt a. d.
Aisch: Schmidt, 2000) 25-37; esp.
Illustration 3: Emblematische Gemüths-
Vergnügung, Augsburg: Kroninger /
Goebel, 1693, pl. 18 (BSB: Res/4
L.eleg.m. 86 m).
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