Heart (feminized?) as a generic symbol of the human soul

Encouraging the love of God by presenting the love of God, by Müller (1676)
VAE, by Montenay and Visscher (1615, c.)
Erased handwriting is death's poison, by Mannich (1625)
Signa Reciproca Amoris, by Mechov (1648)
Cordis Unio, by Haeften (1664)


Heart (feminized?) as a generic symbol of the human soul


Against the Catholic tradition of differentiating the hearts of Jesus and Maria with different attributes (crowns vs. swords), there is a clear tendency to present a neutral or even feminized (very rounded) hearts to represent the human soul as receiver or depending on God's will or love. It is implicitly a feminized image because it is not capable of action, only of reception, often opposed to a (male) hand. This tradition contradicts the use of the heart to represent courage.


Image 1: Müller, Heinrich (1631-1675)
Image 2: Montenay, Georgette de (1540-1581) and Visscher, Anna Roemer (c. 1583-1651)
Image 3: Mannich, Johann (1580-1637)
Image 4: Mechov, Wilhelm (1618-1678)
Image 5: Haeften, Benedictus van (1588-1648)


Image 1:
Emblematica Online - Resources for Emblem Studies.

Image from the book Göttliche Liebes-Flamme Oder Auffmunterung zur Liebe Gottes Durch Vorstellung dessen undendlichen Liebe gegen uns ("Divine love flame or encouragement to the love of God by imagining his infinite love for us"), by Müller, Heinrich (
1676), Franckfurt am Mayn: Wust, Balthasar Christoph The Elder. p. 15 (bibliographical quotes: VD17 23: 323796A)
Courtesy of Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel:

Image 2:
Emblematica Online - Resources for Emblem Studies.

Image from the book Cent emblemes chrestiens by Montenay, Georgette de and Anna Roemer Visscher (1615, c.), xxxiiij, 34[b]. Published by Johann Lancelot.

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Image 3:
Emblematica Online - Resources for Emblem Studies.

Image from the book Sacra emblemata LXXVIin quibus summa unius cuiusq[ue] evangelii rotunde adumbratur, by Mannich, Johann (1625), Norimbergae: Ex officina typographica Joannis Friderici Sartorii. p. 12.
Courtesy of University of Illinois Board of Trustees

Image 4:
Emblematica Online - Resources for Emblem Studies.

Image from the book Echo Mutuae Voluntatis sive De Amicitia Dialogus,
 by Mechov, Wilhelm (1648), [Lüneburg]: Lamprechtus; Hamburgi: Typis Wernerianis. Printed by:Lamprecht, Martin and Werner, Heinrich. p. 24. (bibliographical quotes: VD17 23: 621517T)
Courtesy of Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel:

Image 5:
Emblematica Online - Resources for Emblem Studies.

Image from the book Hertzen Schuel oder Des von Gott abgefüerten Herzens, widerbringung Zu Gott vnd vnderweisung, by Haeften, Benedictus van (1664), Augspurg: Weh. Printed by: Alas, Johann and Ostermayr, Johann. p. 625 (Signatur: Li 3284)
Courtesy of Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel:


Image 1: 1676
Image 2: 1615, c.
Image 3: 1625
Image 4: 1648
Image 5: 1664


Dimensions: Unknown

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