Breaking the Renaissance Code
Exhibition exploring emblems, taking place at The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow, until Tue 4 Oct
Depending on whether you are a critic or an avid fan of the bestselling Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown both heralded and slew the art of emblematic thinking. This small yet punchy exhibition puts examples of Dürer, Rembrandt and Holbein’s use of symbolic referencing alongside artists such as Hervé Télémaque, Ronald Kitaj and Alasdair Gray. But it is the original emblem books first printed in 1531 that sit like precious jewels among modern versions of the same.
Today advertising is the emblematics of the modern world. The viewer is lured in to relate the slogan to the picture, and the need for the product replaces the moral message of the historical emblem. Included in the show is a fitting example of Britain’s oldest brand Tate & Lyle Syrup. Unchanged since 1885 the label sports the emblem of a dead lion with Biblical motto – ‘out of the strong came forth sweetness.’ Instrumental in setting up the Tate Gallery in London, English sugar merchant and philanthropist Sir Henry Tate’s legacy is today a branded enterprise in itself.
Closer inspection will reveal intriguing connections.
The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow, until Tue 4 Oct.