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an allegorical picture containing a moral lesson, often with an explanatory motto or verses, esp one printed in an emblem book
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a conventional representation of an abstract concept or idea that makes use of an image of some kind (for example, the dove is the emblem of the peace movement); frequently regarded as a type of allegory. In the narrow sense, an emblem is a symbolic representation usually accompanied by a short motto and a more detailed didactic commentary; it is a pictorial-literary genre characteristic of the culture of mannerism and the baroque. Special collections of emblems that explained, through the use of metaphor, a wide variety of theological, political, and socioethical concepts, enjoyed great popularity from the second half of the 16th century to the 18th century and considerably influenced the literature, fine arts, and decorative art of the era.


Morozov, A. A. “Emblematika barokko v literature i iskusstve petrovskogo vremeni.” In the collection Problemy literalurnogo razvitiia v Rossiipervoi treli XVIII v. Leningrad, 1974.
Morozov, A. A. “Emblematika.” In Kratkaia literaturnaia entsiklopediia, vol. 8. Moscow, 1975.
Emblemata: Handbuch zur Sinnbildkunst des XVI. und XVII. Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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