Muse - Emblems of The Muses

Emblems of The Muses

Muse Domain Emblem
Calliope Epic poetry Writing tablet
Clio History Scrolls
Erato Love poetry Cithara (an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre family)
Euterpe Song and Elegiac poetry Aulos (an ancient Greek musical instrument like a flute)
Melpomene Tragedy Tragic mask
Polyhymnia Hymns Veil
Terpsichore Dance Lyre
Thalia Comedy Comic mask
Urania Astronomy Globe and compass

In Renaissance and Neoclassical art, the dissemination of emblem books such as Cesare Ripa's Iconologia (1593 and many further editions) helped standardize the depiction of the Muses in sculpture and painting, so they could be distinguished by certain props, together with which they became emblems readily identifiable by the viewer, enabling one immediately to recognize the art with which they had become bound.

Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Erato (love/erotic poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Euterpe (lyric poetry) carries a flute, the aulos; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask; Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is often seen with a pensive expression; Terpsichore (choral dance and song) is often seen dancing and carrying a lyre; Thalia (comedy) is often seen with a comic mask; and Urania (astronomy) carries a pair of compasses and the celestial globe.

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