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Paulus de Kempenaer and Petrus Plancius

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In November 1989 the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam purchased three emblems signed by Paulus de Kempenaer, dated 1597, and forming a self-contained whole. This article offers an interpretation of them. An acrostic in the poem beneath the third emblem tells us that the work was intended for Petrus Plancius. The first emblem representing a man separating the corn from the chaff and the other two, each representing a goose, are a message to the great cartographer, urging him to ignore his rivals and to 'stand fast' in his convictions. The numerous Scriptural references remind him that the end of time is at hand and that the virtuous will soon have their reward. Later marginal notes, however, show the development of Paulus de Kempenaer's ideas after the emblems were completed and his sympathies for the Remonstrant movement. The work thus illustrates various aspects of Dutch culture and history in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.


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