The title-page of the book, with Roemer Visscher's personal motto
'Elck wat wils', meaning 'Something for everyone'.
click on the emblem above to enlarge the image).
first published in 1614, is perhaps the most popular emblem book of
the Dutch Golden Age. The work contains 183 emblems, divided into three
sections, so-called 'schocken'. The word 'schock', meaning 'a set of
sixty', refers to the number of emblems in each part of the book. In
the first two 'schocken', no human figures are depicted, thus abiding
by the rules for emblematists laid down by earlier Italian authors such
as Paolo Giovio. For an introduction to the emblematic genre, and its
purposes and meanings, click >here.
more editions of Sinnepoppen were published in the seventeenth
century (1620, 1669, 1678). In every edition except the first of 1614,
moralistic verses by Roemer Visscher's daughter Anna were added to the
original emblems, >as can
be seen here. These often religiously inspired two-line epigrams
are reminiscent of the more pedagogical poetry of Jacob Cats, and lack
the wit of Roemer Visscher's original text. Anna also added ten new
emblems to the work, altered the order, and made changes to some of
her father's prose commentaries.
explained to the 'gentle readers' of his emblem book that initially
he only wanted to publish the picturae. Only after "gebeden,
ja geboden", the requests, the commands even, of his dearest friends
and of the publisher Willem Iansz., Roemer Visscher eventually decided
to add short explanatory subscriptions in prose. Still he asked
his readers to pay more attention to the attractiveness of the images,
made by the unrelated artist Claes Jansz. Visscher, than to the
>simplicity of his personally written explanations. Roemer Visscher's
preface thus seems to exemplify the virtue of modesty, which he was
to advocate in his emblems.
Visscher's intentions are further explained in extracts of the brief
>preface to Sinnepoppen.