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WITH A PORTRAIT

De imitatione Christi.
Antwerp: Ex Officina Plantiniana, 1617.

In this engraved frontispiece for this 1617 edition of the Imitatio Christi, Thomas à Kempis kneels in devotion before the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. At the author’s knees is an open book bearing his personal motto in Latin and Dutch: “In omnibus requiem quaesivi et numquam inveni nisi in een Hoecken met een Boecken” (“I seek peace in everything, but find it nowhere except in a nook with a book”). In the background, a reader sits in isolation studying a book, presumably the Imitatio Christi.