Cryptogram

DEFINITION

A coded message or a secret symbol ? a figure or representation with secret meaning or significance. Cryptograms have often been used by students of the occult.(pr. KRIP-tə-gram)See a discussion of the root of this word at cryptic. "Cryptography" is the coding and decoding of ciphers. The adjectival form is "cryptogrammic."Example: Sofonisba Anguissola (Italian, c. 1535-1625), Self-Portrait, c. 1555, oil on parchment, 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches (8.2 x 6.3 cm), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The artist holds a medallion inscribed in Latin around the rim: "The maiden Sofonisba Anguissola, depicted by her own hand, from a mirror, at Cremona." Inside the circle is a cryptogram whose entwined letters are included in the name of Anguissola's father, Amilcare. The meaning and original purpose of this enigmatic portrait remain a mystery. See Baroque, circle, cryptic, feminism and feminist art, miniature, mirror, and oval.

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