chapter  6
39 Pages

Emblematic Representation and Guided Culture in Baroque Spain: Juan de Horozco y Covarrubias

ByBradley J. Nelson

The Spanish baroque has been characterized by historians and cultural theorists alike as an age of crisis, both morally and politically. The conditions of poetic interpretation are made accessible to literate subjects—literate in Spanish, not Latin—they can participate in the emblematic project presented and start to amass their own cultural capital. Juan de Horozco y Covarrubias answer to the epistemological and ontological uncertainties that accompany the consciousness of desengano is the emblematic interpretation of the material world. Serious thought concerning the interaction of reader and artifice abounds in the world of emblematics, originating with Neoplatonists such as Pico della Mirandola and Emmanuele Tesauro, who privilege both the difficulty of the construction of devices, empresas, and emblems. One needs to read some of the emblems of Giordano Bruno or the Englishman John Dee to recognize that the magic and alchemistic theory suggested in the Neoplatonic writings of Marcelo Ficino or Giovanni Pico della Mirandola had its proponents in the seventeenth century.