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In an article in The Dictionary of Art, Jochem Becker explains: “The emblem book was an artistic genre that flourished in Europe particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, though it continued beyond this. An emblem requires intellectual effort and results in the communication of a moral lesson.”

Twenty-seven of the emblems selected for this exhibit are from a book by the Benedictine Joseph Zoller (d. 1750), a monk of the monastery of Sts. Udalricus and Afra, near Augsburg, Germany. This work, entitled Conceptus Chronographicus de Concepta Sacra Deipara, was published at Augsburg in 1712. It consists of 100 copperplate engravings all centered on the Immaculate Conception. Each of the emblems is interpreted in seven steps: Sacred Scripture, authority (quotations from ecclesiastical writers), ratio (reasonableness of the belief), an example from history, the symbol (the emblematic picture itself), an example from antiquity, and finally, an anagram. They are rendered here in a simplified presentation.

Exhibit dates: Sept. 25–Nov. 10, 2017

Curator: Father Johann G. Roten, S.M.

Graphic designer: Ann Zlotnik

Publication Date



Dayton, OH


Marian Library, Marian art, gallery guide, emblem, Joseph Zoller


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Symbols of Grace: Emblems of the Immaculate Conception



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