Atalanta fugiensThe famous series of 50 emblems each associated with a 'fugue' or musical canon was included in Michael Maier, Atalanta fugiens, Oppenheim, 1617 and 1618. This was reprinted Frankfurt in 1687, and a German edition was issued at Frankfurt in 1708.
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Emblem 1. A pregnant man stands, his hands and head emitting currents of wind, cloud or smoke. Within his belly we see a child beginning to form.
Emblem 2. A woman with the globe of the Earth around her body, nourishes an infant held in her left arm at her breast. With her right hand she gestures to the ground below, where a goat on the left suckles a child and a wolf on the right suckles two children.
Emblem 3. On a furnace on the left water is being heated in a great vessel. On the right a woman pours water into a large wooded vessel of steaming water. From a tap at the bottom some of this is drawn off into a small bucket. The presence of some cloth lying in the foreground suggests she may be about to wash clothes.
Emblem 4. A man and a woman embrace and kiss. On the right a man stands and offers them a chalice or cup. At his feet is a jug or vessel.
Emblem 5. A man approaches a woman and holds a toad or frog to suckle at her breast.
Emblem 6. A man is scattering or sowing seed with his right hand from a basket that he holds with his left.
Emblem 7. On the summit of a high mountain over a town a bird sits upon a nest. Another bird is just about to fly off.
Emblem 8. In a courtyard in front of a fire burning in a chimney on the left, a man stands holding a sword out in his right hand. He is about to strike an egg which stands on a small table. In the background wall is set a tunnel or alley way.
Emblem 9. In a round pavilion set in a formal garden, a bearded old man sits eating with his left hand a round fruit, while with his right he picks another fruit (possibly an apple) from a tree which grows inside this pavilion.
Emblem 10. An artisan tends a fire in a chimney set into a wall, holding a burning log in his left hand. With his right hand he reaches out and holds the hand of a Hermes or Mercury figure, with winged helmet and sandals, who holds a caduceus in his right hand. Seated beside the fire is another Hermes or Mercury also with winged helmet and sandals. This seated figure hold the caduceus in his left hand.
Emblem 11. A woman sits beside a river or lake. Two children play around her lap, one has a sun head, the other child has a moon crescent upon its head. One man stands on the left behind the woman and with his right hand sprinkles water upon her from a basin. Another man stands on the right in front of her holding out a book in his right hand from which he tears out pages. On the ground in front of them is another torn book.
Emblem 12. A man flies over a high mountain. He is possibly a Saturn or Chronos figure as he holds a scythe in his right hand, and spews forth or disgorges a large rock down onto the mountain. At the foot of the mountain is a small chapel.
Emblem 13. A naked man sits on the bank of a river, as if about to bathe or take a swim.
Emblem 14. Among the ruins of a building a winged snake or serpent dragon seizes its own tail to form the ouroborus.
Emblem 15. A potter in his workshop is making a pot on his wheel.
Emblem 16. Among the ruins of a building a winged lion (or perhaps lioness) is attacked by a lion without wings, who springs upon and claws at the first lion.
Emblem 17. Four spheres filled with fire rise in a chain above a lake or river, upon which some small boats are seen.
Emblem 18. An artisan or smith works at a furnace built into the wall of his workshop. A large bellows and a lever for working them are in the background. The artisan places a rod into the flames. On a rough block in front of him is a bowl with what appear to be round coins. At his feet a dog sits. Through an open doorway a Church is seen towards which a man is walking.
Emblem 19. A man with a rough club stands on the right facing the onslaught of four naked men each attacking him with one of the four elements - fire, air water and earth - which emerge from their hands.
Emblem 20. A knight in armour with shield and sword is urged to enter a flaming fire by a naked woman
Emblem 21. A philosopher or geometrician stands in front of a wall upon which he is drawing a circle with a large pair of compasses. He is constructing this using some geometric rules from a circle with a square within a triangle. Within this central circle are a naked man and woman. On the ground in front of him are a protractor, a set square and a tablet with geometrical diagrams. He may be attempting to square the circle.
Emblem 22. A woman stand in a kitchen in front of a large open fire on which pots are set. On the ground in front of her are three triangular rods and two rectangular blocks. On the right behind her is a wooden basin in which two fish swim in opposite directions.
Emblem 23. An artisan stands in front of a furnace set into a chimney. Beside him is an anvil, various tongs and hammers. He holds an axe which he has just struck upon the head of an old bearded man (a Zeus figure) who has fire in his hands, and an eagle at his back. Out of the wide cut in the skull of the old man a small naked woman emerges (an Athene figure). Behind her to the left is a statue of a man with bow and arrows, while to the right, under a canopy a man with a Sun head embraces a woman while Cupid with wings takes guard. Above this from the right a shower of rain falls.
Emblem 24. A king with crown lies on his back on the ground and is attacked by a wolf. In the background a king stands beside a fire within which a wolf is burning.
Emblem 25. On the left man with a Sun upon his head, and on the right a woman with a Moon upon her head, both raise clubs and attack a winged serpent dragon lying on the ground between them. In the background on the shore of a sea, the man with the solar head shoots a winged dragon with bow and arrow, while the woman with the Moon at her head shoots at a man swimming in the sea.
Emblem 26. A crowned queen stands in a landscape beside a tree and holds out two banners for us to see. That on the left has "Longitudo dierum et sanitas", and that on the right has "Gloria ac divitiae infinitae".
Emblem 27. A man without feet stands outside the door of a walled formal garden. The door has three locks. On a small mound we see nine figures possibly Apollo, Pan and the seven planetary gods.
Emblem 28. A crowned king lies in a wooden box set over a steaming vessel of water. Within the box is a oil lamp.
Emblem 29. A salamander with a line of stars along its back lies in a flaming fire.
Emblem 30. A Sun headed man on the left and a Moon headed woman on the right, stand on the shore of a sea or lake. The woman gestures to a cock and a hen which are at their feet.
Emblem 31. A crowned King swims far out from the land, on a wide lake or sea.
Emblem 32. On the bank of a river crossed by a small bridge, a man stands with a pole and fishes out a piece of coral. Above in the sky on the left a wind blows.
Emblem 33. At night under a crescent moon, a naked hermaphrodite, male on the right side and female on the left, lies in a ravine beneath crags and rocks, on a plate being heated over a fierce fire.
Emblem 34. In a cave in the bank of a river, a naked man with a Sun head and a naked woman with a Moon head, stand up to their hips in water and embrace each other. On the left a naked woman crawls out of the river onto the bank. In the clouds above the man with the Sun head lies on his back and is raised to the heavens.
Emblem 35. On the left a woman sits beside a corn field nursing her child. On the right a woman drags a naked man to a fire beneath a large rock or cliff, his armour and weapons lies at her feet. An old man stand on right side of the rock, looking on the fire. To the left of the rock the woman turns and runs to the left.
Emblem 36. A road winds through a valley along the bank of a river. Cubic stones lie in the mud of the road below, on the summit of a hill, in the water of the river, and in the air of the heavens above. Various people walking along the road or in boats on the river fail to see the stones.
Emblem 37. A lion with a laurel wreath stands on the ground. Behind him on the right is a steaming swamp, while behind him on the left is a volcano with flames of fire and smoke.
Emblem 38. A hermaphrodite, male on the right side, female on the left, standswith one foot on each side of a steep valley. Beneath this, Mercury or Hermes with winged helmet and sandals, lies embracing Venus or Aphrodite. At his feet is his caduceus, while to the right of Venus, a cherub plays.
Emblem 39. A child crawing on all fours with a square on his forehead, a mature man with a semicircle on his forehead, and an old bearded man with a stick with a triangle on his forehead, are in the foreground. Behind this the myth of Oedipus and the sphynx is enacted out in four scenes. Oedipus meets the sphynx represented as a being with a woman's body and a snakes tail. He meets his mother the Queen and kills his Father the King.
Emblem 40. From the mouth of a male statue on the left built into a niche in a rocky hillside, a stream of water falls into a rectangular stone basin. On the right, a stream of water falls from the mouth of a similar female statue into another basin. Various figures with crutches are drinking from the fountains. Abandoned crutches are seen in the foreground.
Emblem 41. A hunter lies fallen on his back while his dog pursues the wild boar. A woman emerges from the forest her hands held up. In the middle distance a warrior with sword and shield watches the scene.
Emblem 42. At night under a crescent moon a woman walks along a path which goes over a bridge across a river. She holds a bunch of flowers in her right hand and a bundle of fruits in her left. She is followed down the path by an old man wearing spectacles, with a lamp in his left and a walking stick in his right hand, who places his feet in the footprints left by the woman
Emblem 43. On the summit of a high rock an eagle perches holding a banner which says "I am black, white, yellow and red." Lower down a black crow flies.
Emblem 44. In the foreground three men, one in oriental dress open a coffin to reveal a king coming back to life. In the background we see on the left his body being cut into pieces by a man with a sword, witnessed by a woman. On the right the woman seated at a table discourses with the man in oriental dress. This is a reference to the myth of the dismemberment of Osiris, the collecting of his body part together by Isis, and his resurrection.
Emblem 45. The globe of the Earth is seen around which is the Sun moves through the zodiac of the fixed stars. The shadow of the Earth is shown into which the Moon is about to enter into eclipse.
Emblem 46. A Jupiter figure stands on a small island in the sea. He releases an eagle from each hand, in opposite directions.
Emblem 47. A dog and a wolf fight.
Emblem 48. In the foreground a sick King supported by a councellor and two soldiers, received a cup of medicine from a man entering from the left. At this man's feet is a vase or vessel. In the background the king lies in bed, while two physicians or doctors examine him.
Emblem 49. Three Gods Mars, Mercury and Neptune? Vulcan? hold the skin of a animal, as if attempting to divide it. Two servants, one on the left looks on while the other on the right gestures towards the group with his right hand and to the ground with his left.
Emblem 50. In a landscape of ruined buildings a woman lies in a fresh cut grave, a winged snake or serpent dragon coiling around her body, its mouth against hers.