The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Maino?

#1
I was rereading Pratesi’s musings on the Marziano deck and its problematic relationship to the standard tarot and was struck by his strong feelings that there must be a literary source, probably as developed in Florence in the context of the artisan culture there…but that search has been essentially fruitless. I’m not sure if Pratesi’s own webpage, Naibi, has been linked here, but see “2/14. About 1420: Reflecting on Marziano’s Pack. (25.03.2013)” here: http://naibi.net/

Given that there is no strong link to a literary source that connects all of the 16 gods/heroes of Marziano’s deck, and moreover, no reference anywhere to the Marziano/Michelino deck aside from its acquisition by Marcello in 1449, should we not conclude this classical gods deck was a personal gift that otherwise never saw the light of day in terms of a more public circulation?

If it were a gift to someone within his court (i.e., someone cultured, who would appreciate the didactic nature of the game), and given the strong theme of love within the deck (more on that below), why not his beloved Agnes del Maino? Three circumstantial items all support this theory:
1. Agnese – or Agnes - derives from the Greek hagnē, meaning "pure" or "holy". The name passed to Italian as Agnese …that saint is depicted in art with a lamb, as her name resembles the Latin word for "lamb", agnus, which also indicates purity as the symbol of Jesus. Daphne as the refuser of Apollo is the pagan epitome of chastity – thus an appropriate stand-in for a woman named Agnes, whose virtue would have been extolled by her Ducal lover (despite being merely a lover, and not a wife).

2. Daphne is a “central” motif of the Marziano deck, as proposed by Huck: http://trionfi.com/daphne-in-tarot, albeit I disagree with Huck’s theory of why Aeolus was included. The 12 standard gods need no explanation and Hercules inclusion to Olympus has a classical pedigree, so that leaves Aeolus, Daphne and Eros as unexplained. In the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, however, these three figures are all mentioned; a summary of Metamorphoses 1. 262 ff: the destruction of wayward mankind involves Zeus calling upon Aeolus to release his winds from his famous cave, releasing storms of blinding rain from heaven. The story of mankind’s rebirth from the flood via the story of Deucalion/Pyrrha is then told, with earth then sending out Python against mankind. Python is slain by Apollo who then mocks Eros’ puny bow, with Venus’ son in turn smiting the sun god with his erotic bow with irrational love for Daphne. Why would any of this appeal to Visconti? Visconti, descended from the 12 gods via Venus and Anchises, had this mythical geneaology also painted by Michelino. Visconti, as Hirsh has shown in her discussion of Visconti manuscripts (discussed here viewtopic.php?f=11&t=983&p=14572&hilit= ... own#p14572 ), identified with the sun and indeed, one of their main stemma is the radiate (turtle)dove. Germane to the Marziano deck, within his suit of Turtledoves in the category of “virginities” we find Daphne. Filippo, descended from the gods like an Apollo, has reached out for his own Daphne – Agnese, who nonetheless retains some semblance of purity in his eyes. This is an illicit love and condemend by the goddess of rightful wedlock, Hera, who in turn controls Aeolus. Turning to perhaps an even more famous text in medieval Italy, we find in Virgil’s Aeneid 1. 50 ff, Juno/Hera calling on Aiolos to send a storm to destroy the fleet of the Trojan hero Aeneas. In fact Marziano specifically singles out Virgil for his description of this card (“...to his authority it was conceded, like Virgil, to soothe the waves, and by the wind to raise them, and in whatever way to agitate in all respects the kingdom of Neptune.”). Aiolos/Aeolus then is an enemy of mankind generally (Ovid) and specifically against the origin of Viconti’s line, the Trojan Aeneas (Virgil). Aiolus is present as “dragon" slayed by Visconti's line, that triumph proving his courtly worth for Agnes/Daphne. Given the connection of Visconti's main enemey to the sea, Venice, Aeolus was a pefect metaphorical enemy.

3. The date of the Marziano deck: 1418 (Pratesi’s proposed dating and the earliest that Marziano was in Visconti's court; Michelino also was not in Milan until 1417). Per Biglia, the affair between Visconti and Agnes also began in 1418 http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/agn ... ografico)/. Given that coincidence, is it far-fetched to see the Marziano deck as a wooing gift to his lover at the onset of the love affair?

Finally, is there any connection between the Marziano deck and the most complete surviving deck created under Visconti, the CY? In suits and trump subjects there is simply no connection; moreover the 3 males for 3 females in the CY court cards is not even matched in an equal gender split of the Marziano deck (there are 9 males, 7 females). However, I do see a strong echo of the Daphne theme in what we now call the Chariot. Hurst has made it amply clear ( viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13575&hilit= ... ing#p13575) that the jousting shield and woman upon a chariot is taken from representations of Chastity. And what is emblazoned on CY’s Chariot/Chastity’s shield, fending off the wanton arrows of Eros? The radiate turtledove, the suit of “virginity” in the Marziano deck in which we find Daphne. Of course my own theory is that on the CY chariot is the chaste offspring of Visconti and Agnese, Bianca, herself offered in marriage to bind Sforza more closely to Visconti via the dowry of the daughter and Cremona. How appropriate that a gift to the mother was commemorated in a card of the second deck for the daughter, if this were all true?

Phaeded

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Re: The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Main

#2
On the Cary-Yale, I would think that Chastity would be Bianca Maria, unless another deck had been made previously for Agnes (or Maria, in a kind of ironic gesture, since Filippo was the agent of her chastity). But there is also the red castle on the World/Fame card, as in Marcos's post, which I find unanswerable.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=6796&hilit=red+castle#p6796

Phaeded wrote:
Given that there is no strong link to a literary source that connects all of the 16 gods/heroes of Marziano’s deck, and moreover, no reference anywhere to the Marziano/Michelino deck aside from its acquisition by Marcello in 1449, should we not conclude this classical gods deck was a personal gift that otherwise never saw the light of day in terms of a more public circulation?
Well, Decembrio, Filippo's secretary, knew about it, writing in 1447 (http://trionfi.com/decembrio-filippo-ma ... [quote]"He was accustomed from his youth to play games of various kinds ...and particularly that type of game in which images are painted, which delighted him to such an extent that he paid 1500 gold pieces for a whole pack (ludum) of them, made in the first place by Marziano daTortona, his secretary, who executed with the utmost diligence images of the gods, and placed under them with wonderful skill figures of animals and birds."[/quote]
Are you thinking that the deck that Marcello sent was that one, by Michelino? That would be a gift indeed! But surely he wouldn't have gotten it from "the enemy" in that case. Agnes would be on Bianca's side, I would think, unless someone had stolen it from her.

Re: The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Main

#3
mikeh wrote: Are you thinking that the deck that Marcello sent was that one, by Michelino? That would be a gift indeed! But surely he wouldn't have gotten it from "the enemy" in that case. Agnes would be on Bianca's side, I would think, unless someone had stolen it from her.
... hm ... I thought, that it's generally accepted and known, that the object called "Michelino deck" was made by Michelino. Already Franco Pratesi in 1989 made the connection between Martiano book and Marcello letter in Paris and the game described by Decembrio in 1447.

btw. Decembrio took high functions in the Ambrosian republic and especially he knew about the high value of this item. So he naturally is part of the persons under suspicion.
If it so well documented, that there were constantly auctions in 1447-49, perhaps there were even auction's lists?

Generally I would still assume, that the deck went its way as private property of Filippo Maria's wife, who took the choice to stay in Milan. If she also was robbed very much, I would think, that she didn't take this choice. The far spread opinion, that she was suppressed by Filippo Maria all the time, was contradicted by a collection, that Ross Caldwell did once and it showed a lot of activities of this woman (as far I remember; perhaps Ross still has this collection). Perhaps in the archives of LTarot?

Generally one has to consider, that Filippo Maria and anti-pope Felix, his father-in-law, were in the same political party - against the council of Ferrara/Florence.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Main

#4
Mikeh wrote
On the Cary-Yale, I would think that Chastity would be Bianca Maria,
That’s exactly what I wrote above: “Of course my own theory is that on the CY chariot is the chaste offspring of Visconti and Agnese, Bianca, herself offered in marriage to bind Sforza more closely to Visconti via the dowry of the daughter and Cremona.”

Only Decembrio commenting on the Marziano deck still suggests it was something resticted to the court – for someone within his court. I argue for Agnese – after daughter Bianca was married off she had no reason to remain at the Visconti castle in Abiategrosso (where Bianca was raised) – perhaps she was closer to Filippo then, in Milan or Pavia.
Huck wrote
Generally I would still assume, that the deck went its way as private property of Filippo Maria's wife
.
That’s a baseless assumption – the auction quote I posted earlier said that Filippo’s possessions even included jewelry. And you are still stuck with the dubious argument that she then pawned the cards via the Ambrosian Republic auctions (who were doing everything possible to erase Visconti’s memory, including tearing down palaces) or sold it to her bastard daughter-in-law’s husband.

The straight-forward explanation is that the “enemy” that Marcello refers to in the conditions of 1448 through Easter 1449, was the Ambrosian Republic – precisely the foe Marcello was encamped against with Sforza, as he clearly spells out in his letter. To have agents buy the deck at auction in Milan would have indeed been a great difficulty and behind enemy lines.

Phaeded

Re: The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Main

#5
Phaeded wrote:
Huck wrote
Generally I would still assume, that the deck went its way as private property of Filippo Maria's wife
.
That’s a baseless assumption – the auction quote I posted earlier said that Filippo’s possessions even included jewelry. And you are still stuck with the dubious argument that she then pawned the cards via the Ambrosian Republic auctions (who were doing everything possible to erase Visconti’s memory, including tearing down palaces) or sold it to her bastard daughter-in-law’s husband.

The straight-forward explanation is that the “enemy” that Marcello refers to in the conditions of 1448 through Easter 1449, was the Ambrosian Republic – precisely the foe Marcello was encamped against with Sforza, as he clearly spells out in his letter. To have agents buy the deck at auction in Milan would have indeed been a great difficulty and behind enemy lines.
... :-) ... you're great in the discovery of my baseless assumption in these days .... I love that.

How would you interpret the major sentence of your earlier quoted auction note ... At least it somehow demonstrates, that you're engaged in this question ... :-)

How - with all your research experience - would you evaluate the major sentence in your "auction quote":
A detailed explanation of how this [auctions] was done survives from the period of the short-lived Ambrosian republic that governed Milan from 1447-1449 ….The need for a regularized system of auction sales was primarily due to the new government’s desparate need for cash to pay its mercenary armies. Everything that could be sold was put up for auction. This included the personal possessions of the deceased Visconti Duke, such as his jewelry as well as his tiles and bricks of his fortress, and the lands once under his control (Evelyn S. Welch, Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy 1400-1600, 2005: 189)
Well, it has a web address ...
http://books.google.de/books?id=XPnw4h5 ... ny&f=false

Does this "the personal possessions" mean the logical ...

a. "ALL the personal possessions of FMV"
b. "A LOT OF the personal possessions of FMV"
c. "SOME OF the personal possessions of FMV"
d. "NONE OF the personal possessions of FMV"

... ????

I would judge, that the case of a. and d. can be excluded, and that the correct answer might be "A GOOD PART OF".

FMV had simply a lot of "personal possession" and likely it was distributed to various places inside the duchy. The situation in August/September 1447 was chaotic and the duchy broke to pieces. Nobody could guarantee, that all the property finally became "property of the Ambrosian republic", so that she could sell it at their auctions. Whatever the material of Evelyn Welch might have been, it's impossible, that she came to so much evidence, that she could speak of ALL. I think, this my estimation is just realistic.

Let the Ambrosian republic have gotten a good part of it, which she could administrate and sell.

There's no guarantee, that the Michelino deck belonged to this good part.

It's likely, that Maria of Savoy had personal property, things, which weren't officially owned by FMP. And I think, that the Ambrosian republic had problems to claim this property. If she had secured the Michelino deck, it was difficult to claim it from the side of the republic.

So your assumption, that the Michelino deck was sold by the auctiions, has its chances to tell the true story ...

... and my so-called "baseless assumption" has its chances, too.

In a private communication in September 2005 Ross addressed some details, which he had collected about Maria of Savoy. That's a long time ago, I don't know, if he went to further details.
... it is fun to learn, and to speculate - at least, for me, the
more I study the time, the clearer it becomes, and the more coherent
my ideas become.

I think, for instance, that the Savoy nobility must have had trionfi
cards long before they are recorded. First, the Savoy people and
Milan had been dealing with each other intimately for a century.

When it comes to Maria, she had visits all the time from Savoy. She
had minstrels, jongleurs, etc. She must have played cards. She was
around when trionfi cards were around. She was on good terms with
the Borromeo family, who painted a scene with trionfi cards in their
palace, which still exists. This was painted in the 1440s, just when
she wrote a letter thanking Borromeo for all he had done for her.

She was on good terms with the Sforza - cordial, it is said. I
believe she knew this game trionfi, and her relatives did too - just
as the Borromeo did.

Later Galeazzo Maria married another Savoyard princess, and he had
her painted with her ladies playing trionfi. This was begun in 1468,
just after they had married. So she probably knew the game before as
well.

But Maria seems to have been known for her piety and simplicity. All
the commentators say this, and they do not agree on everything. As
early as 1428 she was donating to the monasteries and convents in
Milan, and commissioned this prayerbook you mentioned. Prayerbooks
were not rare for nobility, but combined with her reputation
already, it shows something.

It appears that the story of Filippo and her not consummating the
marriage is just a story - it is not certain. Some say yes, some say
no. Anybody who could have been a witness, didn't write a story
about it. But the commentators of the Vita say that the idea of
Maria being kept in a monastic existence with only female servants
is not true - and they list all the times she went about meeting her
family and representatives of Savoy, dealings with her brother, etc.
Even one time she made an ostentatious entrance into the Porta
Giovia palace (the Castle, Filippo's residence), on her own. She
seems rather to have been a very determined woman who knew what she
had to do, and knew what she could do, and did both. She obviously
led a life outside of her husband's.

In any case, the connection with Borromeo in the 1440s pricked up my
ears. A woman in her early 30s with close connections to a banking
family from Pisa, who painted trionfi players on their walls. I
think she must have played with them. Even though pious and
discrete, she had muscians and jongleurs around.
From this comment I assume, that Ross had found some details, which contradict a far spread picture of Maria of Savoy as a "totally weak person".
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The Marziano/Michelino deck - a gift for Agnese del Main

#6
Again, there is no historical record connecting Marie of Savoy to tarot...except as an attempt to explain one of the flags of the CY Lovers/Love card as Savoy. From that red/white flag an entire history is concocted for Marie and her connection not just to the CY but the Marziano. Marcello never mentions her. Decembrio does not mention her in connection to the cards. There is nada.

There is every reason to connect Sforza to tarot cards and to his concerted effort to be known as the legitimate heir of Visconti. Let's review that situation and Pavia's role in that sucession problem:
* Visconti was the Count of Pavia, before he became Duke - therefore any successor could rightly see the Pavia title as a "crown prince" stepping stone to the Dukedom.
* 10 November 1446: "Nominal date of a forged Sforza document attesting to the donatio inter vivos by which Visconti granted Sforza the dukedom of Milan after the former's death." (King 260). By back-dating this document before he takes Pavia he shows himself as the legitimate successor. By occupying Pavia he is merely assuming that which is rightfully his...before he takes the entire Duchy (also his, a bon droyt)
* 25 September 1447: Venetian senate lettes to provveditori "If Sforza takes Piacenza, we should proceed to cause damage in area around Pavia" (King, 264). Why Pavia? Because Sforza had already taken it and had it reluctantly granted to him by the Ambrosian Republic (it is one of the reasons the Republic betrays Sforza - they do not trust his ambitions for the Duchy). Again, Pavia was the "succesion stepping stone" that would help legitimate Sforza's claims on Milan and the Duchy as a whole. Venice knew full well what Sforza was after.

And yet the CY deck precedes all of these events - so left with the hypothesis that succession was discussed between Visconti and Sforza as part of the implications of the marriage to Bianca (i.e., Sforza would get Cremona and Pontremoli for now in 1441, but the Duchy after Visconti died). The Pavia flag is present in the "Love" card to indicate that (broken) succession promise.

Your theory: The red/white flag is not Pavia but Savoy, because....well, there's the rub, because what do two of the CY suits bearing Sforza stemmi - the fountain and pomegranate - have to do with Savoy??? You keep avoidng this last inconvenient fact that point to Sforza, not the House of Savoy.

Phaeded

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