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Lost at Sea
Images and Emblems

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Lost at Sea

Tools for Navigation: Images and Emblems

The ancient tradition of emblems and emerging techniques of Dutch maritime painting both created resonant images of humanity’s fate amid turbulent seas.

Memorial poesy ring, 1592

Faith in Providence assured believers that deaths at sea were part of the divine plan. But for families left behind, Providential thinking was difficult. Lacking physical remains, some survivors created memorial objects. This ring reformulates Providence on a human scale. The short verse or “poesy” inscribed inside the band reads, “The cruel seas, remember, took him in November.”  The lines focus on the dead man’s past; the skeletal image and initials “R.C.” represent the missing corpse’s present; and the gold gestures toward a heavenly future.


Images and Emblems, cont'd



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Medal commemorating the defeat of the Spanish Armada, 1588

Stephen Batman. A christall glasse of christian reformation. London, 1569

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