Polska Akademia Umieje̜tności <Krakau> / Komisja Historii Sztuki [Editor]; Polska Akademia Nauk <Warschau> / Oddział <Krakau> / Komisja Teorii i Historii Sztuki [Editor]
Folia Historiae Artium — NS: 12.2009

Page: 99
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nością zbiorów emblematów) i „po co?”. To ostatnie
jest pytaniem najważniejszym: pytaniem o sens
i symboliczną wymowę sygnetów drukarskich, o to,
co, posługując się ich milczącą mową, chcieli wyrazić
ich twórcy i co mogli rozumieć czytelnicy. Precyzyj-
na i niepodważalna odpowiedź na to pytanie bywa
trudna, gdyż brak świadectw zewnętrznych wobec
sygnetów, na przykład komentarzy wydawców czy
użytkowników książek i nierzadko (jak w przypadku
sygnetów Oficyny Łazarzowej i Drukarni Akademii
w Zamościu), trzeba ją zatem formułować w postaci

hipotezy, nie zaś autorytarnego stwierdzenia. Próby
odpowiedzi na pytania o źródła i symboliczne zna-
czenia sygnetów drukarskich warto chyba jednak
podejmować, bo badając te niewielkie ryciny odnaj-
dujemy związki istniejące wewnątrz dawnej kultury,
odkrywamy sposoby, w jakie niektóre tematy i mo-
tywy, tak literackie, jak plastyczne żyły, powracały,
wpływały na siebie w rozmaitych ośrodkach kultu-
ralnych w całej Europie, oraz rekonstruujemy obraz
mentalności dawnych typografów i intelektualistów,
współpracujących z ich oficynami.

Not only Alciati. On the Kinship between two Polish Printer’s Devices



The Polish printers of the Renaissance, whiłe inventing their
printers devices often drew inspiration from emblem books. The
most influential of them was obviously that by Andrea Alciati
as is testified, for example, by the printers device of a Cracow
printer, Mateusz Siebeneicher. The prototype of his device can be
found in Alciatfs collection of emblems, in thepictura (or icon)
of the ‘Concordia’ emblem, although the immediate model for
the graphic rendering of the Cracow sign was a device used by
Joannes Steelsius of Antwerp.

However, Alciatfs emblem book was not the only source of
Polish printers’ devices. Another collection of emblems, which
was most probably used by the authors of Polish printer’s de-
vices, was Achille Bocchi’s Symbolicarum ąuaestionum de universo
genere libri ąuinąue. Both the iconography and the ideological
contents of two Polish printers devices were apparently mod-
elled on emblems from this collection, namely, that of the La-
zarus’ printing house {Officina Lazari; Drukarnia Łazarzowa},
run in Cracow by the well-educated publisher Jan Januszowski
(Łazarzowic), and that of the Zamojska Academy printing house,
established by a Polish magnate Jan Zamoyski, but co-founded
also with Januszowski.

As a device for his Lazarus’ printing house Januszowski cfose
an image of an obelisk. His choice was both a manifestation of
Egyptomania, one of the currents that shaped the culture of
Renaissance Europę, and a reflex of the printer’s intellectual
fascinations, who was keenly interested in astronomy, astrology,
and was himself a publisher of hermetic treatises. He knew that
an obelisk, which resembles a sunbeam, might signify Christ
— the light of the world, the true sun — and was familiar with
Georg Joachim Rheticus’ thoughts, for whom an obelisk was a
symbol of the earliest philosophy, human knowledge and God’s
immeasurable wisdom.

Moreover, Januszowski wanted that the obelisk impressed on
the title pages of books published by his Drukarnia Łazarzowa
be understood not only as a sign of eternal wisdom but as a
symbol of famę and immortality as well. In the present author’s
opinion, it was in Achille Bocchfs Symbolicae ąuaestiones that
the Cracow printer could have found a decisive inspiration for
using the obelisk as his device (sińce in Bocchi’s book one can
find an emblem depicting an obelisk symbolising the true glory

and eternal memory, with an eloąuent inscription reading:
‘Resurgit ex virtute vera gloria’). This emblematic inspiration
deriving from Symbolicae ąuaestiones does not, of course, exclude
other sources that might have contributed to the creation of the
Januszowski’s device. An obelisk madę aperfect printers device
precisely because it had wide connotations, ancient traditions,
and could be understood in many different ways. It was at once
a hermetic sign of divine wisdom and a symbol of terrestrial
glory, perpetuated in human memory.

The device of the Zamojska Academy printing house was
similarly ambiguous and also had eclectic sources. It shows a
knight mounted on a winged horse, that is, Bellerophon on
Pegasus about to kil! Chimera. The authors of the device must
have drawn inspiration from two emblem books: that by Alciati
and that by Bocchi, but the original prints from Emblematum libel-
lus and Symbolicae ąuaestiones had been thoroughly transformed.
The transformation was, first of all, due to the lack of skill of the
Polish artist, and second, a result of adaptation of an old image
to its new function. The inscriptions accompanying the emblems
in Alciati and Bocchi were omitted but their ‘virtual’ presence
allows a conjecture as to what the authors of the device intended
to express. Both mottoes optimistically underscore the fact that
the forces of evil (embodied by Chimera) can be vanquished, if
it is virtue that sąuares up to fight. In comparison with Alciati,
new and interesting content can be inferred from the inscription
used by Bocchi. It not only ałludes to Quintilian’s definition of
the ends of rhetoric but also implies the conviction of causative
force behind the art of the word, the rhetorical skill, preaching the
‘truth coming from God’. This ‘rhetorical’ interpretation of the
fight with Chimera, based on ancient authors, was very popular
among the sixteenth-century humanists and could also have
been attractive for intellectuals looking for an appropriate device
for a printing house that was closely related to an institution of
learning. According to this interpretation, Bellerophon killing
Chimera would symbolise not a person but rather an idea: he
would embody not only the efforts of Jan Zamoyski, the founder
of both institutions — the academy and the printing house — but
the power of wisdom, the strength of skills (also in rhetoric) and
the might of truth, all contained in the books published by the
Zamojska Academy printing house.
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