Emblem of the Month no. 005

Fig 1_Redelio_Elogia Mariana_Title page

Redelius. Elogia Mariana (1732). Frontispiece.


Elogia Mariana by A. C. Redelius: What is the story behind this book?[1]


I became interested in A. C. Redelius’ Elogia Mariana (1732) seven years ago, when a professor on my faculty suggested the iconographic analysis of its engravings as a possible topic for a project.[2] At that time, I had no idea what the Lauretan Litany was and much less the impact that this particular prayer to the Virgin Mary has exerted on so many cycles, such as the choir stalls of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico,[3] the tiles (azulejos) of the Church of the Convent of Jesus in Setúbal, Portugal,[4] or the series of canvases in both the Cuzco Cathedral in Peru and the Convent of Saint Francis in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil.[5] For most of these examples the correspondence between each print and its applied outcome can be easily found on the site of the Project on the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA).

Since my original project turned out to be unworkable (reading microfilmed newspapers in a broken microfilm reader printer proved not to be viable), I accepted my professor’s challenge to decipher the meaning of Redelius’ emblematic images. I did my best, but I now know how far I was then from a suitable interpretation. In my defense, I must say that at the time I lacked the appropriate key to approach these compositions: the book in which they first appeared and in which they were accompanied by a – frequently tricky – explanatory text. Let’s explore this Rosetta Stone and how important it is to making sense of Redelius’ emblematic images.

On the origin of the images

Redelius’ Elogia Mariana was published posthumously in 1732. Redelius died in 1705. This fact explains the clarification made on the title page:

Olim A. C. Redelio […] concepta Nunc […] inventa et delineata per Thomam Scheffler et aeri incisa à Martino Engelbrecht”

 [Once conceived by A.C. Redelius […] now invented and drafted by Thomas Scheffler and engraved in copper by Martin Engelbrecht.]

So, when did this “olim” happen? When did Redelius conceive his Elogia?

A couple of scholars note that very similar prints were gathered in a previous Elogia Mariana,[6] issued in Augsburg in 1700 and signed by Isaac Oxoviensi (or Isaac von Ochsenfurth).[7] The text’s full title casts doubt on this being the origin of Redelius’ book, however, as it refers to an even earlier work:

“Elogia Mariana […] Auctore P.F. Isaaco Oxoviensi, cum variis figuris aereis, iam olim ingeniose inventis, nunc denuo cum additione novorum Versuum excusis, & ad singula Elogia concinne accommodatis”

[Elogia Mariana […] Author P. F. Isaac Oxoviensi, with various copper figures, once ingeniously invented, composed anew with the addition of new verses and neatly adjusted to each of the Elogia.]

In effect, these images had already been used in a book published twenty years prior to Redelius’ birth: Asma Poeticum litaniarum lauretanarum in 1636, promoted by the Sodalitas Mariana in Linz. Examples of the similar engravings in these three texts can be seen in Figs. 2-4.


Fig. 2: “Christe exaudi nos,” in P. Stoergler, Asma Poeticum (Linz: Joannis Paltauff, 1636), 6. © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. || Fig. 3: “Christe exaudi nos,” in I. Oxoviensi, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: Antonii Nepperschmidii, 1700), 29. © Herzog August Bibliothek http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/xb-2952/start.htm?image=00046. || Fig. 4: “Christe exaudi nos,” in A. C. Redelius, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: s.n., 1732), 7. © Getty Research Institute https://archive.org/stream/elogiamarianaoli00enge#page/n16/mode/1up.

The 1636 work is mentioned in the entry “emblem” of the Marienlexikon as the first example of a Lauretan Litany illustrated with emblems. Despite establishing a connection with the 1700 Elogia Mariana, the Marienlexikon omits any reference to Redelius’ name.[8] It also omits the authorship of the Asma Poeticum, while the Bibliotheca scriptorum Societatis Iesu had already attributed it to Petrus Sterglerus or Peter Stoergler.[9] As for the inventor or engraver of these plates, nothing is mentioned, and I have not been able to find any conclusive evidence yet.  

Regardless of who the author of the 1636 text is, these emblematic prints undoubtedly had an influence on the two subsequent Elogia Mariana. The works even turn the original title page with the Annunciation (Fig. 5) into their frontispiece (Figs. 6-7). The only difference is that the frontispieces add a depiction of the Holy House with the titles of the litany beneath the Annunciation scene.


Fig. 5: Title page of P. Stoergler, Asma Poeticum (Linz: Joannis Paltauff, 1636). © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. ||  Fig. 6: Frontispiece of I. Oxoviensi, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: Antonii Nepperschmidii, 1700). © HAB http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/xb-2952/start.htm?image=00005.  ||  Fig. 7: Frontispiece of A. C. Redelius, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: s.n., 1732). © Getty Research Institute https://archive.org/stream/elogiamarianaoli00enge#page/n6/mode/1up

In the 1700 edition, the base of the Holy House displays Redelius’ name, but this disappears in the equivalent 1732 print. This signature led Martha Reta to propose Redelius as the frontispiece’s author, which is not without reason, since he is known to be responsible for another print of the “Vera Effigie” of the Virgin of Loreto.[10] As for me, I believe that all of the images from the 1700 edition (and not just the frontispiece) might have been at some point elaborated on by Redelius, for they were redrawn after the 1636 prints (both series come from different plates). Furthermore, the German version that immediately follows (also written by I. Oxoviensi) shows in this very same place the signature “Io. Sallver fe.,” this time reiterated at the bottom of twenty-two more engravings.[11]

 On the origin of the anagrams and epigrams

The 1700 edition (Figs. 3 and 9) features an anagram beneath every illustration and an epigram consisting of two distiches, both engraved in the same copperplate as the image. The anagram is a short phrase rearranging the letters of each invocation. The 1732 edition (Figs. 4 and 10) uses the identical text. The only difference between the two Elogia Mariana is the “accompanying material.” The sacra poemata rythmica and annotations were written by Oxoviensi and are placed immediately after every print only in the 1700 version.   

At first sight, the 1636 Asma poeticum (Figs. 2 and 8) appears to have some noticeable differences. The book includes no anagrams, the epigrams are restricted to one distich, and after every print there is a carmen, an oraculum, and a suspirium. Closer inspection of these distiches reveals, though, that they were actually the inspiration for some of the later epigrams, and in fact a few of them were literally transferred. This is the case with the plate entitled “Turris eburnea.” To the 1636 distich Aspice, si nescis, quid Turris eburnea, possit / Hac tibi Tartareus vincitur arte Draco, the 1700 and 1732 editions add two more lines: “Hinc ne turberis peccator corde dolendo / Huc rue in amplexus Virginis esto latens” (Figs. 8-10).

Fig-8-a-10_Turris Eburnea

Fig. 8: “Turris Eburnea” in P. Stoergler, Asma Poeticum (Linz: Joannis Paltauff, 1636), 38. © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. || Fig. 9: “Turris Eburnea” in I. Oxoviensi, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: Antonii Nepperschmidii, 1700), 263. © Herzog August Bibliothek.  http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/xb-2952/start.htm?image=00408. || Fig. 10: “Turris Eburnea” in A. C. Redelius, Elogia Mariana (Augsburg: s.n., 1732), 39. © Getty Research Institute https://archive.org/stream/elogiamarianaoli00enge#page/n80/mode/1up.

So, where do the Elogia’s anagrams come from? A significant part of them is found in two unillustrated Lauretan Litanies published by Redelius himself in 1690: Thronus gratiae Marianus and Fonticulus Marianus, two identical works only differentiated by the title and the dedication.[12]  Both books display the vera effigie of the Virgin of Loreto, followed by the titles of the litany accompanied by an anagram and an epigram. In the 1700 edition, I. Oxoviensi quotes Redelius’ Thronus gratiae up to sixteen times. The plate entitled “Turris Davidica” exemplifies this: while the anagram states “VI TRUCIDAS DIRA,” the corresponding annotation notes: “Turris Davidica per Anagramma sonat: Vi Trucidas Dira. Redelius in throno grat.[13]

A hypothesis on the history behind Elogia Mariana

Keeping in mind these origins and that Oxoviensi must have known this series of images when writing his verses and comments (for his poemata and annotationes sometimes include explicit references to their iconography), one may ask: If the engravings that he had under his nose were the ones used to illustrate his 1700 Elogia, then why did he quote Redelius’ Thronus gratiae instead of referring to his own prints? It makes no sense. The only reasonable explanation that I find is that he might not have had these specific images with him at that moment. This may simply be because they might have not been created yet. Besides, in my opinion, it is also meaningful that the prints from the 1700 Elogia were numbered according to this edition (and thus the number matches the page – see Figs. 3 and 9) and not as independent sheets, unlike the Asma poeticum (Figs. 2 and 8) and the 1732 Elogia (Figs. 4 and 10).

Thus my hypothesis is that the engravings that I attribute to Redelius – both the images themselves and their texts, the anagrams and the epigrams – did not precede Oxoviensi’s poemata and annotationes, but the other way around. They were their consequence. This explanation would suit the above-mentioned frontispiece’s note:

Elogia Mariana […] Author P. F. Isaac Oxoviensi, with various copper figures, once upon a time ingeniously invented, composed anew with the addition of new verses and neatly adjusted to each of the Elogia.”

In other words, Oxoviensi might have known both Stoergler’s Asma poeticum and Redelius’ Thronus gratiae and thus he might have composed his praises to Mary (poemata and annotationes) taking these images and verses as his starting point. When the time came to publish the Elogia in 1700, the 1636 illustrations were composed anew, a duty that, in my opinion, might have devolved upon Redelius. He might have redrawn them and added the new verses, which partially originated from Stoergler’s distiches and partially from in his own anagrams published ten years before. Therefore, when the Elogia Mariana was reissued in 1732, including only the engravings (images, anagrams, and epigrams), it was fairly stated “once conceived by A. C. Redelius.”

Reconstructing the stories behind the Elogia Mariana

Being aware of the 1732 Elogia Mariana’s sources certainly helps to unveil the meaning behind its images, since Stoergler’s carmina and to a lesser extent Oxoviensi’s poemata and annotationes provide the key to identifying many of the engraved subjects, and, by extension, many of the applied subjects as these prints were transferred to other media.

Let’s exemplify this through one of the Setubal’s azulejo panels: “Christe exaudi nos” (Fig. 11), which mimetically duplicates the homonymous 1732 illustration (Fig. 4). The scene depicts a procession led by an emperor holding a Crucifix with an icon of the Virgin riding in a chariot immediately behind him.


Fig. 11: “Christe exaudi nos,” Church of the Convent of Jesus in Setúbal (present Santa Casa da Misericórdia), c. 1780.

As the inscription points out, this image proclaims the power of the Mother of God “contra hostes” [“against enemies”]. Indeed, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries she was believed by Catholics to be responsible for their victories in many battles, such as the Battle of Lepanto (1571) and the Battle of White Mountain (1620).

Without Stoergler’s clue, however, it would be extremely difficult to recognize the specific subject represented here:

“Cerne triumphali vehitur nova pompa quadriga, 
Comnen9 Scythico, quam vehit orbe redux. 
Auro temo micat, gemmis seges aurea currũ, 
Argenti radios, candidus ambit onyx. 
Hoc Bizantinam Virgo defertur in urbem, 
Virgo cuius, humi concidit hostis, ope. 
Ipse pedes Victor, manibus gerit alma salutis, 
Ante triumphales, signa, crucemque, rotas.”

[Look, Comnenus goes with the triumphal chariot in the new procession that returns from the Scythic region. The tongue of the chariot glitters due to the gold, the grain field gleaming like gold because of the precious stones circles the chariot; the pure onyx embraces the spokes of silver. The Virgin is taken by him to this Byzantine city; Virgin with whose power the enemy falls down on the ground. He himself carries victorious in his hands, on foot in front of the triumphal wheels, the cross of salvation and nourishing signs.]

The Comnenian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1081 until 1185. Thanks to the annals written by Kinnamos and Choniates and an ekphrasis by Theodore Prodromos, it is known that the emperor John II Comnenus decided to commemorate the success in capturing Castamon with a triumphal procession in Constantinople that marched towards Hagia Sophia. The most prominent element of the parade was supposed to be the silver-plated chariot that he ordered constructed, adorned with gold and semi-precious jewels, and pulled by four white horses. In the end, though, the attitude of John II became the most remarkable issue: the emperor did not mount the chariot, for he preferred to go on foot ahead of it, holding a cross in his hands and yielding his place to an icon of the Mother of God in such a way that he presented her as the source of his victories.[14]

Hence this theme really proved suitable for an engraving whose goal was to extol the power of the Virgin Mary against the enemy. Actually this modern reinterpretation of the procession promoted by John II Comnenus was not initiated by Stoergler. It is already found in earlier texts of the period, where this parade was used as an example of a Christian Triumph and even of “a Catholic way” of doing things:

 “Y combatió en la Persarmenia la ciudad de Castamon, de la qual hizo huyr al Sátrapa Persiano, y captivó en ella gran número de gente con que tornó triumphando a Constantinopla en carro de quatro blanquíssimos cavallos. Mas quiero advertir de la manera deste triumpho por aver sido catholicíssima y devotíssima, que se entapiçaron las rúas y plaças de Constantinopla, de riquíssimos paños de oro y seda […] Colocó el emperador en el carro de los quatro cavallos blancos, labrado de plata y con piedras preciosas la imagen de la Virgen sancta María madre de Dios, a la qual tenía por compañera en el imperio y a la qual aplicava todas sus victorias […] y él fue delante del carro a pie con una cruz en la mano y desta manera entró la processión en la famosíssima iglesia de Sancta Sophia…”[15][And he fought in the Persarmenia for the city of Castamon, from which he made the Persian Satrap flee and in which he captured many people, returning triumphant to Constantinople with them in a chariot pulled by four white horses. But I want to draw the attention to this triumph for being very catholic and very devout: the streets and squares of Constantinople were covered with rich golden and silky fabrics […] The emperor placed in the chariot of the four white horses, worked in silver and with precious stones, the image of the Holy Virgin Saint Mary Mother of God, whom he considered his mate in the empire and to whom he attributed all his victories […] and he went ahead of the chariot on foot with a cross in his hand and in this way the procession entered the very famous Hagia Sophia Church…]  

Ad lectorem

It is needless to say that when analyzing this print back in 2008, I did not mention John II Comnenus at all. But luckily this was also the examining board’s oversight when grading my project. So my question is now: Were the masterminds of the cycles based on the 1732 Elogia Mariana engravings aware of their original meaning? Or were they as limited as I was seven years ago, choosing to echo these images instead of, for example, the ones in François-Xavier Dornn’s bestseller Litaniae Lauretanae only due to aesthetic reasons?

Carme López Calderón
(Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)



[1] I expounded most of the following ideas for the first time in a lecture entitled “Quién es quién en la Elogia Mariana de A. C. Redelio,” presented in the I Simposio Internacional de Jóvenes Investigadores del Barroco Iberoamericano (Santiago de Compostela, 27-29 May 2013) and then published under the same title in C. López Calderón, Mª. A. Fernández Valle, and Mª. I. Rodríguez Moya (coords.), Barroco Iberoamericano. Identidades culturales de un Imperio (Santiago de Compostela: Andavira Editora, 2013) 51-63.

[2] A. C. Redelius, Elogia Mariana Olim A. C. Redelio Belg: Mechl: S.C.M.L.P concepta Nunc devotae Meditationi fidelium ad augmentum cultus Bmae Mariae Virg: Deiparae inventa et delineata per Thomam Scheffler et aeri incisa à Martino Engelbrecht Chalcographo Augustano Cum Priv. Sac. Caes. Maj. (Augsburg: s.n., 1732). <https://archive.org/details/elogiamarianaoli00enge>

[3] M. Reta, “Elogia Mariana. Imágenes visuales y poéticas en loor de la Virgen,” in N. Sigaut (ed.), Guadalupe arte y liturgia. La sillería de coro de la colegiata. Vol. 2 (Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán, Museo de la Basílica de Guadalupe-Insigne y Nacional Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, 2006) 359-379.

[4] J. A. Falcão, “Azulejeria setecentista do Real Convento de Jesus de Setúbal. Alguns aspectos históricos e iconográficos,” in Relaciones artísticas entre la Península Ibérica y América: Actas del V Simposio Hispano-Portugués de Historia del Arte (Valladolid: Universidad, 1990) 103-109.

[5] J. de Mesa and T. Gisbert, Historia de la pintura Cuzqueña. Vol. 1 (Lima: Fundación Augusto N. Wiese, Banco Wiese Ltdo, 1982) 210-211; R. Amaral, Jr., “Emblemática mariana no convento de São Francisco de Salvador, Bahía e seus modelos europeus,” in R. García Mahiques and V. F. Zuriaga Senent (eds.), Imagen y cultura. La interpretación de las imágenes como Historia Cultural (Valencia: Generalitat Valenciana, 2008) 203-216. Link.

[6] J. M. Monterroso Montero, “Emblemática e iconografía mariana. Imágenes emblemáticas de la Litaniae Lauretanae de Francisco Xavier Dornn,” in S. López Poza (dir.), Florilegio de estudios de emblemática (Santiago de Compostela: Sociedad de Cultura Valle- Inclán, 2004) 543; Reta, “Elogia Mariana,” 363.

[7] I. Oxoviensi, Elogia Mariana Ex Lytaniis Lauretanis Deprompta, Ac Sacro Poemate Rythmico, Biblicis Sententiis, ac Figuris, solidis sanctorum Patrum effatis, ac variis probatorum Auctorum Discursibus. Quae omnia In Annotationibus post quaelibet Poemata apponuntur ad longum, luculenter explanata. Opus non solum fovendae devotioni erga Beatissimam Virginem per opportunum, sed etiam Panegyricis de Eadem sermonibus efformandis accommodatissimum/ Auctore P.F. Isaaco Oxoviensi, Capucino Concionatore, Cum variis figuris aereis, iam olim ingeniose inventis, nunc denuo cum additione novorum Versuum excusis, & ad singula Elogia concinne accommodatis (Augustae Vindelicorum: Apud Joann. Philippum Steudnerum, Typis Antonii Nepperschmidii, 1700), http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/xb-2952/start.htm.

[8] “Eine weitere Eingrenzung der Maria emblematik findet sich in den emblematischen Illustrationen zur Lauretanischen Litanei. Das früheste Werk dieses Themenkreises, das Asma poeticum, Linz 1636, wurde von Mitgliedern der mariano Kongregation in Linz zusammengestellt. Maria ist hier durchweg im Bild dargestellt: durch beigeordnete Szenen und eingeschriebene inscriptiones werden die einzelnen Anrufungen auf ihre tiefere Bedeutung hin ausgelegt. Der Kapuziner Isaac v. Ochsenfurth verhalf dieser wenig verbreiteten Schrift in seinen Elogia Mariana Augsburg 1700, zu größerer Publizität, die vor allem von Augsburger Stechern (Martin Engelbrecht; G. B. Götz, Insignia Mariano-encomiastica, Augsburg 1737; Gebr. Klauber in Franz Xaver Dornn, Litaniae Lauretanae, Augsburg 1771) aufgegriffen wurde” (C. Kemp, “Emblem,” in R. Bäumer and L. Scheffczyk (eds.), Marienlexikon, Vol. 2 (EOS-Verlag Erzabtei St. Ottilien, 1989), 333).

[9] Bibliotheca scriptorum Societatis Iesu. Post excusum Anno MDCVIII Catalogum R. P. Petri Ribadeneirae Societatis eiusdem theologi; nunc hoc novo apparatu librorum ad annum reparatae salutis MDCXLII editorum concinnata, & illustrium virorum elogiis adornata, a Philippo Alegambe Bruxellensi ex eadem Societate Iesu (Antuerpiae: apud Ioannem Meursium, 1643), 447. http://www.uni-mannheim.de/mateo/camenaref/alegambe/alegambe1/jpg/s447.html. The same identification is found in V. Placcius, Theatrum anonymorum et pseudonymorum, ex symbolis & collatione virorum per Europam doctissimorum ac celeberrimorum (Hamburg: sumptibus Viduae Gothofredi Liebernickelii, Typis Spieringianis, 1708), 42. http://books.google.es/books?id=Pgc_AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover

[10] M. Reta, “Elogia Mariana,” 367. Information about Redelius is scarce, but it is known that he was priest of the Malines Archdiocese, a poet, a theologian, and a painter of landscapes in tempera. In addition, Reta passes on the belief that he lost his mind in 1687, a rather surprising piece of information considering the large number of books that he published after this date, all of which this author catalogues in her study; See also E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, Tome huitieme (Paris: Librairie Gründ, 1976), 641.

[11] I. Oxoviensi, Marianische Ehren-Titlen: in der Lauretanischen Lytaney begrieffen und in gebundener Redens-Arth durch Sentenz und Figuren der Göttlichen Schrifft kräfftige Aussprüch der Heiligen Vätter und verschiedener bewehrten Auctoren außerlesene Discursen (Wurtzburg: Mayen, Oehninger, 1703). http://books.google.es/books?id=XS9AAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover

[12] Redelius, Thronus Gratiae marianus in aula dive Virginis, ex litaniis Lauretanis pro Consolatione peccatorum fructuose erectus, Anagrammatice, & Cronodistice ornatus variis S.Scripturae Locis, ac Sententiis SS. Patrum (Vindelica Augustae: Typis Augusti Sturm, 1690) http://books.google.es/books?id=owxDAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover; Redelius, Fonticulus Marianus: Saliens in Vitam Aeternam, Ex S. Litaniis Lauretanis Anagrammaticè & Chronodisticè deductus, & scaturiens Variis S. Scripturae Locis, ac Sententiis SS. Patrum pro Refociliatione Animarum Sitibundarum, Seu Consolatione peccatorum (Augustae Vindelicorum: Excudit Augustus Sturm, 1690).


[13] Oxoviensi, Elogia Mariana, 262.

[14] The annals of Choniates have been translated into English by Harry Magoulias; the part corresponding to this procession can be found in City of Byzantium, Annals of Niketas Choniates (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1984) 12. On the other hand, a more detailed description after Prodromos is provided by P. Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143-1180 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) 240-241.

[15] J. de la Pineda, Los Treynta libros de la Monarchia ecclesiástica, o Historia universal del mundo, tomo 3 (Barcelona: en la imprenta de Jayme Cendrat, 1606), f. 240v. http://books.google.es/books?id=p_2bledmcSwC&printsec=frontcover  This description is an almost literal translation of Choniates’ Annals.

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2 thoughts on “Emblem of the Month no. 005

  1. Pingback: Elogia Mariana by A. C. Redelius: What is the story behind this book? | Grupo de investigación Iacobus (USC)

  2. The great rarity of the Asma Poeticum has been, doubtlessly, a handicap for previous researchers -including myself- for determining its relationship with the Elogia Mariana, to the point that those few who mentioned it before misspelled the title as Asma Poetica. I suppose that, up to the present date, there is yet no digitized edition of the book available on the web, and the public libraries which possess copies of it are probably very few. It is not even mentioned in the current bibliographies of emblem books. Therefore, I heartily congratulate and thank Carme for her tireless and continuous effort to solve this intrincate genealogy in her brilliant doctoral dissertation and her various scholarly articles on the subject, where she has piecemeal advanced in the identification of writers and artists, and in the sources and interpretation of the images. Enhorabuena!

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