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On the Subject of Love

P.T.L. Thronus cupidinis

Thronus cupidinis is a delightful miniature emblem book on the subject of love. This third edition, with 34 emblems by Crispijn van de Passe, has added Dutch quatrains by the Amsterdam poet Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero. The verse dedication to the young Louis de Montgommery, Comte de Ducé is by Crispijn van de Passe and the sonnet on love devoted to "Aux dames de France" is by Pierre de Ronsard. Each emblem is accompanied by verses in Latin, Dutch and French. The emblem shown here depicting cupids at play has the Latin verse "Quid Amor quam vera Palaestra?" (What is love other than a real wrestling school?). It conceals further meanings. Palaestra, a wrestling school, was also a euphemism for a brothel and in Greek various love-making positions were called after wrestling holds.

P.T.L. Thronus cupidinis. Amsterdam, 1620. (Detail)

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