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Claude-François Menestrier, described at the time as „that prodigy of nature‟ was perhaps the most prolific seventeenth century writer on the theory of symbols and images with one hundred fifty-two works on as-pects of symbolism attributed to him

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10.The Philosophy of ImagesClaude-Franois Menestrier, described at the time as that prodigy ofnature was perhaps the most prolific seventeenth century writer on thetheory of symbols and images with one hundred fifty-two works on aspects of symbolism attributed to him.1 He acknowledged that his lifeswork was to expound a complete Philosophie des Images, a Philosophy ofImages, and he wrote books or essays on festivals, funerals, hieroglyphs,symbols, devices, heraldry, coins and medals, ciphers, enigmas, rebuses,the ballet2 and other topics. Confusingly, also amongst his works weretwo books entitled La Philosophie des Images; one on devices and the othersubtitled, images enigmatiques.3 The principal work of Jakob Masen, whichI review below, was the Speculum Imaginum or Mirror of Images of 1650and to take a modern authority, Praz pioneering commentary on andbibliography of emblems and devices was called Studies in seventeenth centuryRenard 1883 cited Praz 178.His book on the ballet describing some eighty contemporary ballets is still requiredreading in todays ballet schools.3 La Philosphie des images; compose dun ample receuil de Devises of 1682 and the Philosophie desImages Enigmatiques of 1694 which latter is a discussion of some eleven categories ofsymbolic expression including, inevitably, enigmas and hieroglyphs.12297Imagery.1 Praz had a generous view of what was to be included in his bibliography and he used books of e

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