other visual structures that combine text with image—similar
to the emblem—are Italian imprese and French devices
(or devises). However, as a general rule, the only text
these devices have is a motto and often lengthy commentary.
became quite extensive in emblem books as well. For example, Alciati’s
original 212-page book had no commentary at all. By 1581, Claude
Mignault’s commentary produced a book with 760 pages; the
1621 edition grew to 905 pages. Imprese and devices are
usually directed at one person or family—like a coat-of-arms—instead
of being intended for the education of the general public. The impresa
and device existed both before and after the emblem genre, which
began to die out in the early 18th century. Theories of impresa
and devices were developed by two 16th and 17th century contemporary
critics: an Italian, Paolo Giovio, and a Frenchman, Pierre Le Moyne.
Paolo Giovio is credited with the defining and establishing the
rules for the imprese.