Bibliotheca Imaginis Figuratæ


These recent years have seen the development of intercultural studies and pluridisciplinary researches. One of the main consequences is the growing interest for text and image relationships in the early modern age, at the crossroads of history and art history, theology, linguistics, rhetoric and emblematics.

It is well known that, from the end of the 16th century to the end of the 18th, the Company of Jesus played a central part in the institution of these relationships, writing and publishing treatises as well as teaching rhetoric and emblematics in their colleges across the Old and the New World. Because their artistic and scientific production is at the core of scholar researches, and because, in the same time, this production is not easily available to the researchers, especially outside Europe, it appeared necessary to give to the scientific community an easy access through the Bibliotheca Imaginis Figuratae.

Based at the Maurits Sabbe Bibliotheek in Leuven (Faculty of Theology, Belgium), one of the greatest collections of jesuitica in Europe, this digital library gathers the most important treatises of the “imago figurata” field or including a reflection about the connections between words and images, written by members of the Company (or former members, like E. Tesauro), published in the Netherland, in Germany, and in France, between 1594 and 1696.
The digital library, using Digitool software and interface, is accommodated on the Maurits Sabbe Bibliotheek server and is accessible from the Jesuitica webpage as well as the GEMCA webpage.

This project is a jointventure between Anne-Elisabeth Spica (Université de Metz), thanks to a fellowship of the Institut universitaire de France, the School of Theology at the KUL (Rob Faesen, and Bernard Deprez) and the Group for Early Modern Cultural Analysis (GEMCA) at the UCL (Agnès Guiderdoni and Ralph Dekoninck)

The purposes of the
Bibliotheca Imaginis Figuratae are triple:
1. Text and image
Devoted to theoretical issues, the B.I.F. offers a necessary complement to other digital libraries, built around emblem book collections, spirituality, and history and art history for early modern age. At the same time, it presents a large sample of material about the status of the linguistic and iconic sign in early modern age.

2. Jesuits in the early modern age
As a representative survey of Jesuit rhetoric treatises, it allows for a better knowledge of the intellectual and “litterary” commitments of the Society; presenting for the first time a large number of Maximilianus Sandaeus' works, it would hopefully invite researchers to discover this major 17th century Jesuit personnality.

3. Books and engraving
Including a significant part of engraved books, it offers a rich iconographic material in its spiritual, rhetoric and artistic context.

For an easy consultation, all books are entirely available in high quality image-mode, accompanied by three extensive indexes in text-mode: names, titles and notions. The scholar interested in book history will find, too, a large sample of typographic material and engravings, indexed by descriptive metadatas.

Link to the catalog

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