Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#21
I have been examining the catalog to the dal Ponte exhibition now at the Accademia in Florence (Giovanni dal Ponte: protagonista dell'uminesimo tardogotico fiorentino ed. Lorenzo Sbaragli and Angelo Tartuferi). Like most others, they do not include the "Triumph of Fame" cassone panel that Callman attributed to dal Ponte; they do include one of the Rothschild cards, the Knight of Swords, attributed to him with a question mark and dated, without a question mark, at "1425 circa". You can view it at https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qFpc-eY4tTg/ ... rdsDET.jpg. It is given the following summary notation, which is accompanied by a commentary:

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Whoever decided to call it a "carta da tarocchi" is making an unjustified assumption, of course, as none of the cards of the deck definitely indicate tarocchi (then called trionfi) as opposed to some predecessor game. Art historians, or their editors, are better at attributing artistic attributes than ludic ones. The commentary itself makes no such claim, and in fact notes the game of "VIII Emperors" as a possible candidate.

Here is the commentary, which is merely a summary of the literature (I have uploaded the actual physical page at https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cnOdTeAKGt8/ ... rimmed.jpg):
Proveniente dalla collezione Remondini, famiglia di celebri ?) stampatori veneti, l'opera è realizzata direttamente a tempera su carta; il fondo oro è sottilmente ornato da punzonature che corrono anche sulla frangia della gualdrappa del cavallo e sull'elsa della spada impugnata dal cavaliere, proteso per colpire un drago. Come suggerito da Gheno e Lozzi, la carta faceva parte dei Trionfi Rothschild, mazzo incompleto già 189 x 90 nella collezione di Giacomo Durazzo (Fiorini 2006, p. 53), oggi al Département des Arts Graphiques du Musée du Louvre di Parigi. Giuliana Algeri (1987) ha evidenziato le stringenti affinità compositive e iconografiche che lo legano ai tarocchi di Castello Ursino a Catania, a quelli di Carlo VI della biblioteca centrale di Parigi, come pure ai Trionfi della Yale University Library di New Haven, quest'ultimi di sicura cornmittenza estense, forse realizzati per il matrimonio di Ercole I con Eleonora d'Aragona nel 1473. La studiosa rivendicava per tutti i mazzi una comune origine ferrarese, suggerita anche dal peculiare ordine dei Trionfi tipico della variante diffusasi a Ferrara, anche se le carte non mi pare mostrino legami specifici con la scena artistica estense di secondo Quattrocento. Non si può escludere, allora, che i Trionfi Rothschild, pur destinati a Ferrara, siano stati prodotti fuori città. Un caso simile è ricordato nel 1423, quando Parisina, moglie di Niccolò III d'Este, pagò il pittore fiorentino Giovanni della Gabella per «uno paro de carte da VIII Imperadori messe d'oro fino» (cfr. Franceschini 1993, p. 120). Più tardi lo stesso duca diede sette fiorini d'oro al cartaro fiorentino ser Ristoro per due mazzi inviati in città. In questo senso, rimangono ancora suggestivi i confronti proposti da Luciano Bellosi (1985) tra i profili appuntiti e le barbe increspate dell'Imperatore e del Mondo (?) delle carte parigine e gli anziani della predella con storie di santa Caterina nel Szépmtiveszeti Múzeum di Budapest dipinta da Giovanni dal Ponte nel 1421 per San Jacopo Soprarno a Firenze (Sbaraglio 2010; r. 4).

(From the collection of the Remondini, a famous family of Venetian printers, the work was done directly on paper with tempera; the gold foundation is subtly decorated with punching which also runs on the fringe of the trappings of the horse and the hilt of the sword grasped by the rider straining to hit a dragon. As suggested by Gheno and Lozzi, the card was part of the Rothschild Triumphs, an incomplete deck also 189 x 90 in the collection of Giacomo Durazzo (Fiorini 2006, p. 53), today at the Département des Arts Graphiques du Musée du Louvre in Paris. Giuliana Algeri (1987) emphasized the stringent compositional and iconographic affinities that tie it to the Castello Ursino tarot in Catania, that of Charles VI at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, as well as the Triumphs of Yale University Library in New Haven, the latter securely assigned to the d’Este, perhaps made for the marriage of Ercole I with Eleonora of Aragon in 1473. The scholar claimed for all the decks a common Ferrarese origin, also suggested by the peculiar order of Triumphs typical of the type diffused in Ferrara, although the cards do not seem to show specific links with the Estensi artistic environment in the second half of the 15th century. It is not inconceivable, then, that the Rothschild Triumphs, though destined for Ferrara, were produced outside that city. A similar case is mentioned in 1423, when Parisina, wife of Niccolo III d'Este, paid the Florentine painter Giovanni della Gabella for «uno paro de carte da VIII Imperadori messe d'oro fino» [a pack of cards of VIII Emperors made of fine gold] (cfr. Franceschini 1993, p. 120). Later the same duchess gave seven gold florins to the Florentine cardmaker ser Ristoro for two packs sent to the city. In this sense, there are also the striking comparisons proposed by Luciano Bellosi (1985) between the sharp profiles and ruffled beards of the Emperor and the World (?) Of the Paris cards and the elders of the predella with stories of Saint Catherine in the Szépmuveszeti Múzeum of Budapest painted by Giovanni dal Ponte in 1421 for San Jacopo Soprarno in Florence (Sbaraglio 2010; r. 4).)

Emanuele Zappasodi

Bibliografa: Gheno 1890; Lozzi 1890; Puppi 1959, pp. 247-250; Bellosi 1985, pp. 27-35; Algeri 1987, p. 38 (with preceding bibliography); Fiorini 2006; Caldweel [sic] 2007.
So while the cards used to be dated to the 1470s, they are more likely of the mid-1420s, as Fiorini noted (contra Caldwell, whose name is spelled right in the bibliography).

Lorenzo Sparaglio, cited in the literature review, is one of the editors of the catalog; his 2010 work is "L'origine dei cassoni istoriati nella pittura fiorentina", in Virtù d'amore ed. Claudio Paolini, Daniela Parenti, Ludovica Sebregondi, pp. 105-113. I have requested it from Interlibrary Loan.

We know "ser Ristoro" and his two packs of cards ordered by Parisina, viewtopic.php?f=11&t=950&p=15419&hilit=Ristoro#p15419. I am not sure when these were. Huck in the above says 1434 for something, but the trionfi.com note on Parisina (http://trionfi.com/parisina-playing-cards) has no 1434, only a 1424. Perhaps they are different occasions. It would be good to know what and when the document is and what it says. Please comment, Huck.

Also of interest are the dates this new catalog assign to the various works which Bellosi in 1985 judged similar to the cards but did not date.
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The St. George and the Dragon, very similar to the Rothschild Knight of Batons, is dated by them 1415-1420 (p. 190). In contrast, the Columbia Museum of Art, which has the painting, dates it to 1425-1426 (https://www.columbiamuseum.org/collecti ... hen-george).

The predella with the martyred elders and St. Catherine, with straggly beards similar to those on the Emperor, is that already mentioned as dated to 1421. They cite an inscription on the painting that says "...XI adi XIV di lulglio" (p. 186). A good reproduction of the scene is number 11 at https://supernaut.info/2015/01/szepmuve ... -1250-1800.

The "Two youths" is dated by them 1425-1430 (p. 218). Bellosi, whom I quoted in an earlier post, noticed peculiarities in the drawing of the male figure common to this drawing and the Rothschild Knight of Batons.
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The Saint Anthony Abbot is dated "1425-1430 ca." (p. 185).

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Otherwise, there are many other works in the catalog that are stylistically very reminiscent of dal Ponte and his workshop, especially the hair; pp. 93, 95, 97, 99, 100, 101, 105, 106, 109, 11, 112, 116, 119, 121, 123, 126, 131, 139, 147,152. For works dated after 1430, the similarity to the cards is less evident.

There is also the type of hat that the Emperor wears: pp. 166, 219 (c. 1430).

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Compare to some of the cards, from Fiorini's article:


Here are comparable examples of how dal Ponte draws hair:

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and
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This is characteristic of his style before around 1430. Compare to the cards above. Here is the relevant detail in the Emperor card, which contrasts with the CVI's way of drawing hair (for the whole cards see https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MOI0k1DQwNM/ ... hVIEmp.jpg):


Finally, one of his late works was a cassone panel with all seven virtues. Here is an earlier rendition of the three theologicals:

I give this only to show that, with halos, the virtues were a theme for dal Ponte. It is true that these are standard ways of depicting these virtues. (Added later: in fact Italian Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietro_Co ... orenzo.JPG, in 2009 gave this painting to Lorenzo di Bicci, who died in 1427. The Cardinal died in 1403. I do not know what to think.) Likewise I don't know how standard dal Ponte's way of drawing hair and hats was at the time.

The essays that introduce the catalog don't say anything about the Rothschild cards. The only mention of cards is in a comment about the area where dal Ponte's father Marco di Giovanni--a painter primarily of fabrics--settled after moving to Florence from Venice, that it was one noted for the production of cassoni and playing cards (Annamarie Bernacchioni, "Giovanni di Marco e la sua bottega: Clientele e produzione artistica," pp. 42-51 of catalog, on p. 44):
Probabilmente Marco era giunto nella città gigliata attraverso i mercanti di stoffe fiorentini attivi a Venezia, stabilendosi in borgo Santi Apostoli, che a quel tempo si presentava come una zona della città ad alta concentrazione di botteghe artistiche, dedite alla pittura di forzieri e carte da gioco.

(Marco probably arrived in the lilied city [i.e. Florence] through the merchants of Florentine fabrics active in Venice, settling in the Holy Apostles district, which at that time was an area of the city with a high concentration of artistic workshops devoted to the painting of chests and playing cards.)
Marco di Giovanni is first documented in the city in 1385, registered in the "Arte dei Arte dei medici e speziali" (doctors and apothecaries). His son Giovanni di Marco, later known as Giovanni dal Ponte, is first documented in 1410 in the same registry.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the Rothschild cards should be dated before 1430. How that might affect the dating of the very similar (although clearly a tarot, unlike the Rothschild) so-called "Alessandro Sforza" cards (compare the Palermo Empress, https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8NWi7gr6-Gc/ ... atania.jpg, with the Rothschild Emperor) is an issue for further discussion.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#22
Franco Pratesi 1990
http://www.naibi.net/A/30-PRISECO-Z.pdf
DOCUMENTI DA ALTRE SEDI

Prima di passare alla legislazione sui giochi che rappresenta la fonte più tradizionale per i dati
iniziali sulle carte si può citare un’ulteriore fonte di notizie. Questa volta si tratta di testimonianze
esterne, derivanti cioè dagli archivi di altre città. Una delle più importanti di tali documentazioni fu
pubblicata nel 1874 dal Campori, dagli archivi estensi: “nel 1434 il Marchese Nicolò III faceva
pagare a Ser Ristoro e compagni in Firenze sette fiorini d’oro prezzo di due mazzi di carticelle
mandatogli a Ferrara
”. Il fatto che tali carte giungessero alla corte di Ferrara è tanto più
sorprendente in quanto in Firenze all’epoca le carte da gioco erano proibite: solo una produzione
fiorente e rinomata o l’uso di carte particolari potrebbe spiegare il mantenimento di quella
tradizione.
http://trionfi.com/parisina-playing-cards
based on the report of Gherardo Ortalli in Ludica 1996
Card history knows Parisina from 3 documents, which means, that most of the early card documents of Ferrara are related to Parisina.
1422: In the oldest Ferrarese card document Parisina is not mentioned.
1423: Marchesa Parisina Malatesti orders, that the painter Giovanni dalla Gabella should be paid 40 gold ducats for an extreme valuable pack of cards.
1423: October, Parisina wrote to Florence to get "a pack of VIII imperadori cards made with fine gold". The costs are 7 florins plus some expenses for bringing them to Ferrara. It is the first appearance of the name "Imperatori" as a card deck, the "8" associates, that these are additional cards.
1424: 18th of September, Parisina wrote from the Portomaggiore residence to Ferrara asking for two packs "cartiselle de quelle de docena", worth around 4 or 5 soldi per pack (relatively cheap). 3 days later she wrote again and notes, that she had received the two packs "sent to be used by our girls", probably referring to her daughters (both ca. 5 years old).
The author seems to be insecure about the documents, which is not a good start for a recent catalog.

I've recently written about the Rothschild cards ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1143
... nor really something new.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#23
Huck wrote,
The author seems to be insecure about the documents, which is not a good start for a recent catalog.
Well, I am insecure about the documents, too. It is not easy to find this information. At least the author did not give an insecure date. The author is not an expert on playing card history and apparently had not known Franco's article. Neither had I.

You mentioned the 1434 reference in your post that I linked to but without giving a source. Thanks for the reference to Franco's article. Now all I need is a source for the 1424 reference, so I can be sure it is not a misprint for the 1434 (one uncertainty that might have led the author to decide not to give a date). Could you share this information with others such as myself?

Huck wrote,
I've recently written about the Rothschild cards ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1143
... nor really something new, but one of the 8 cards should have come from another source.
I am not sure what card you are talking about. Looking at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1143#p18558 I see you saying:
There are 7 cards with golden background and the cards are meanwhile identified as the Rothschild cards (which are 8 cards; Kaplan p. 121/122). One card (it seems to be the pope card) must have arrived at a later time. A 9th card is at the Museo Grappa Bassano, about 50 km west of Treviso.
And:
playing card size Rothschild: 189x90 mm
playing card size Bassano del Grappa: 190x92 mm
Correr Museum: not known
According to the 2016 catalog, the Bassano del Grappa card is 189x90 cm., the same as those in the Rothschild collection. This is different from Kaplan's 190x92 (as written in 1978), but surely the Accademia knows the actual dimensions of a card they are currently exhibiting. There are 8 cards of the Rothschild and 1 of the Bassano del Grappa, all the same size. (The Correr pip cards are not at issue here.)

I do not understand why you say the card that Kaplan vol. 1 p. 121 calls the "Pope" (and also "Old Man" and "World"), and which Fiorini, or her translator, calls "Jack of Coins", "must have arrived at a later time". Also, I am not sure what card you are referring to as lacking a gold background. Can you be more precise? Unfortunately for some all I have are black and white reproductions, but the backgrounds look very similar to me.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#24
My memory was wrong. Lanzi wrote about 8 cards in the 1790s, Ottley in 1816 had 7 cards. In 1847 it were again 8. I removed the note. I found Lanzi's note as the last, but some time I believed, there should have been seven once.
mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
The author seems to be insecure about the documents, which is not a good start for a recent catalog.
Well, I am insecure about the documents, too. It is not easy to find this information. At least the author did not give an insecure date. The author is not an expert on playing card history and apparently had not known Franco's article. Neither had I.

You mentioned the 1434 reference in your post that I linked to but without giving a source. Thanks for the reference to Franco's article. Now all I need is a source for the 1424 reference, so I can be sure it is not a misprint for the 1434 (one uncertainty that might have led the author to decide not to give a date). Could you share this information with others such as myself?
As I wrote ...
Ludica 1996, Gherardo Ortalli, The Prince and the Playing Cards
I think, that you have it. That was the source, when the article was written.
http://trionfi.com/the-prince-and-the-playing-cards
Later it was counter-checked in Franceschini by Ross, I remember.

This was again counter-checked by Veber Gulinelli: Delle carte da gioco Italiano. Storia e diletto. (2011) He wrote to this point:

Image


Image
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#25
Thank you, Huck. No reference to ser Ristoro or seven gold florins. And Parisina Malatesta was beheaded in 1425, so she couldn't have ordered anything in 1434. In other words, when the catalog writer Emanuele Zappasodi says:
Più tardi lo stesso duca diede sette fiorini d'oro al cartaro fiorentino ser Ristoro per due mazzi inviati in città.

(A little later the same duchess gave seven gold florins to the Florentine cardmaker ser Ristoro for two packs sent to the city.)
he is mixing up two events, one with the duchess in 1424 and another in 1434 without the duchess but with Ristoro.

Easy enough to do, unfortunately, if you happen to come across something like this (posting.php?mode=quote&f=11&p=15419):
We worked on this:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=841&p=13105&hilit= ... ste#p13105

Ginevra was the daughter of Parisina, who strongly was involved in playing card production (we know 3 documents, possibly 4, which are rather directly related).
http://trionfi.com/0/d/13
Perhaps there was another deck of cards produced at her wedding (again with 16 gods ?).

Actually we have a note for the production of 2 playing card decks in 1434 in Florence:
(“nel 1434 il Marchese Nicolo III. Faceva pagare a Ser Ristoro e compagni in Florence sette Fiorini d’oro prezzo di due mazzi di carticelle mandatogli a Ferrara”)
And then on to something else. Checking the links, we get (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=841&p=13105&hilit= ... ste#p13105)
My suspicion it was (and still is), that the mascerade was made for the marriage between Sigismondo Malatesta and one of the daughters of Niccolo d'Este and Parisina, who married in Jan/Feb 1434 (which would have been 1433 in the contemporary calendar) near to carnival.
And on to something else. If one didn't know better, one would think that it was Niccolo and Parisina who married in 1434. And the other link has her ordering cards in 1424. I, too, was starting to mix up the two events.

I sometimes wonder what sense some outsider who only read English and didn't write it would make of one of our lengthier posts. Warning to the reader: If you don't understand, don't hesitate to ask for more explanation. And keep asking, if necessary.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#26
Are any manuscript illuminations attributed to Giovanni dal Ponte? Its really difficult to compare paintings on wood with the necessarily smaller and less detailed miniatures of cards/illuminations.

Anywho, another comparable of familiar subjects - full-length figures in a frame (similar to cards) - by the artist in Harvard's Fogg Art Museum (no idea what it would have been a part of if not a cycle of illustrious men, like Castagno's fresco cycle from c.1450; not sure why Dante is getting the spiritello over his head while Petrarch does not; the latter is partially cut off to the right in the pic, but see the link for all info and an even larger scan):
http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/collec ... position=0
Image

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#27
mikeh wrote:
Finally, one of his late works was a cassone panel with all seven virtues. Here is an earlier rendition of the three theologicals:

I give this only to show that, with halos, the virtues were a theme for dal Ponte.
Here are a couple of his cassone, x1435, the top an allegory of the seven liberal arts (plus exemplars), the second the seven virtues (and exemplars) - the polygon halo is with the allegories of both the liberal arts and the virtues:



http://catalogo.fondazionezeri.unibo.it ... di+cassone
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
Attachments
PonteVirtues.jpg
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Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#28
Steve,
Those cassone - where each exemplar has a spiritello crowning with laurel - just begs the question as to why in the Dante-Petrarch panel I posted above only Dante has the spiritello. Petrarch was younger so it can't connote who got crowned last, so perhaps its merely signifying Dante as the greater of the two? Bruni's 1436 biography of the two doesn't really clarify (Petrarch is praised for his Latinity and prudence while Dante is the greater poet and citizen, for having fought at Campaldino, but imprudent for subsequently supporting the Emperor against Florence when in exile), so perhaps the explanation goes back to Salutati.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#29
Phaeded wrote:Steve,
Those cassone - where each exemplar has a spiritello crowning with laurel - just begs the question as to why in the Dante-Petrarch panel I posted above only Dante has the spiritello. Petrarch was younger so it can't connote who got crowned last, so perhaps its merely signifying Dante as the greater of the two? Bruni's 1436 biography of the two doesn't really clarify (Petrarch is praised for his Latinity and prudence while Dante is the greater poet and citizen, for having fought at Campaldino, but imprudent for subsequently supporting the Emperor against Florence when in exile), so perhaps the explanation goes back to Salutati.

Is it definitely Dante and Petrarch? When I first saw it my thought was that it was Virgil and Dante (Virgil, Dantes Guide, as spirit) - whatever, the question remains as to why the distinction --

Here is Ponte's Saint Peter, facially looks similar to our Trionfi Emperor?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
Attachments
Ponte.jpg
Ponte.jpg (38.44 KiB) Viewed 2333 times

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#30
SteveM wrote: Is it definitely Dante and Petrarch? When I first saw it my thought was that it was Virgil and Dante (Virgil, Dantes Guide, as spirit)
That didn't occur to me, which make sense that Dante obviously does receive the laurel after Virgil, but then again the Harvard panel does bear some likeness with Castagno's fresco depiction of the 'three crowns' - Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio (none with laurel or gold crown):

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