VENNE, Adriaen Pietersz. van de
(b. 1589, Delft, d. 1662, The Hague)

Emblem

1627
Engraving
Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Amsterdam

Emblems expound upon abstract concepts, objects, and even proverbs through a compelling and entertaining tripartite combination of image (pictura), inscription (inscriptio), and exegetical text (subscriptio). They enjoyed enormous popularity throughout early modern Europe.

The typical emblem shown in this picture is from "Proteus ofte minne-beelden verandert in sinnebeelden" published by Jacob Cats in 1627. It depicts a man, undoubtedly a suitor, watching a woman sew. In the explanatory text, we learn that this scene and its thought-provoking inscription, Post Tristia Dulcor (Sweeter after Sadness), carry amatory overtones.

Jacob Cats, a poet, humorist, jurist and politician was one of the most prolific and celebrated Dutch authors of this literary genre.