Sacrum oratorium piarum imaginum immaculatae Mariae et animae creatae... (Sacred Oratory of Pious Images of the Immaculate Mary and the Created Soul...)

Dublin Core

Title

Sacrum oratorium piarum imaginum immaculatae Mariae et animae creatae... (Sacred Oratory of Pious Images of the Immaculate Mary and the Created Soul...)

Creator

Petrus Bivero

Publisher

Antwerp: Ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti [Plantin workshop, in the possession of Balthasar Moretus]

Date

1634

Contributor

Walter S. Melion

Caxton Club Member Contributions Item Type Metadata

Essay

Responsive to the image doctrine put forward by the Jesuit emblematist Jan David in his four Latin emblem books, the Spanish Jesuit Petrus Bivero composed two ambitious, complementary emblem books: Sacrum oratorium piarum imaginum immaculatae Mariae et animae creatae ac Baptismo, Poenitentia, et Eucharistia innovatae: Ars nova bene vivendi et moriendi, sacris piarum Imaginum Emblematis figurata et illustrata (Sacred Oratory of Pious Images of the Immaculate Mary and the Created Soul Renewed by Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharist: The Art of Living and Dying Well, Figured and Illustrated by Sacred Emblems of Pious Images) (Antwerp: Ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti [Plantin workshop, in the possession of Balthasar Moretus], 1634) and, likewise in 1634, the Sacrum sanctuarium crucis et patientiae, crucifixorum et crucifeorum, emblematicis imaginibus laborantium et aegrotantium ornatum: artifices gloriosi noae artis bene vivendi et moriendi secundum rationem regulae et circini (Sacred Sanctuary of the Cross and of Patience, of the Crucified and of Crossbearers, Adorned with Emblematic Images of Those Laboring and Ailing: Glorious Artificers of the New Art of Living and Dying Well in Consideration of the Rule and Compass) (Antwerp: Ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti, 1634). Over the last couple of years, I’ve been lucky to acquire superlative copies of these two emblem books (from separate dealers, one in Belgium, the other in Poland). Working closely with the house of Plantin, one of Europe’s greatest publishers of emblem books, Bivero designed both volumes as much to memorialize as to instrumentalize what scholars such as Luc Duerloo and Cordula van Wyhe have called the Pietas Austriaca, the lynchpin of the House of Habsburg’s statecraft, whereby Roman Catholic orthodoxy was seen to legitimize the family’s claims to imperial authority.

Sacrum oratorium consists of four parts. The emblems in part 1 are Marian allegories that turn on the analogy between images of the Virgin’s purity and images of the human soul washed clean of sin through Baptism. The emblems in part 2 are allegories of Penance that compare the sinful soul to King David, who pictured himself in the penitential psalms as a shipwreck. The emblems in part 3 are Eucharistic allegories that analogize the communicant to virgin martyrs whose intimate reception of Christ bodied him forth ‘not with words, but with images and ensigns’. The Sacrum oratorium concludes with an appendix of fifteen emblems portraying the cordiform soul of the votary as the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Bivero thus guides the reader-viewer through three registers of mimetic image-making, wherein one’s relation to Christ is mediated by images of the Virgin, then David, and finally, the saints, before purveying emblematic images that purport to show a more direct, unitive but still image-based experience of the Lord. The great Flemish engraver Karel de Mallery, designed and engraved the plates in consultation with Bivero.

Files

IMG_20230911_100112.jpg

Citation

Petrus Bivero, “Sacrum oratorium piarum imaginum immaculatae Mariae et animae creatae... (Sacred Oratory of Pious Images of the Immaculate Mary and the Created Soul...),” Caxton Club Exhibits, accessed May 21, 2024, https://caxtonclub.omeka.net/items/show/49.