Mother Most Chaste

Martin Engelbrecht (1684–1756) after Thomas Scheffler (1699–1756).
Elogia Mariana.
Augsburg: Martin Engelbrecht, 1732.

The painter Thomas Scheffler prepared a number of suites for engravers and publishers including Martin Engelbrecht, one of the most prolific engravers in Augsburg in the first half of the eighteenth century. Allegorical vignettes depict individual appellations given to Mary, such as Mater Castissima (Mother Most Chaste) and Virgo Fidelis (Faithful Virgin). Each designation is interpreted as an anagram, recombining its letters to form Latin words illuminating the title. Thus Mater Castissima becomes Meta astris micas (“You shine as a goal among the stars”) and Virgo Fidelis becomes Fulgor Dei is (“This is the splendor of God”). Each emblem also includes a four-line poem that seeks to unify and explain image, appellation, and anagram.


Mater Castissima (Mother Most Chaste).


Virgo Fidelis (Faithful Virgin).

Mother Most Chaste