Re: Pratesi on birthtrays, cassoni, Petr. mss. & parades (now 2)

By "CY" I meant decks of the CY type, of which the actual CY is one luxury example. For everyday play there might well have been cheaper products. There is no reason to suppose it was one of a kind. The CY looks to me to have been used very little, if at all. It is in better shape than the PMB original cards., in fact. The CY-type would not have had Sforza heraldics, of course.

Not much can be proved from the suit of coins, except that the CY was done before around 1452, or whenever Francesco Sforza started producing coins of a different design than Filippo before him. What is on the card is not made from actual coins, or a or even a larger version of an actual Visconti coin, although it is quite similar to the standard design that the Visconti had been using for a long time, long before Filippo. What is different, between the coins and the images of coisn on the cards, is the writing around the circumference, as Marco showed at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13798&hilit=rearing#p13807. If there are coins that conform to the cards, nobody has produced them that I can find.

Since Francesco wanted there to be continuity between his regime and the previous one, he might even have produced the CY himself, based on a standard design adopted by Filippo but with the addition of Sforza heraldics in two of the suits and a few of the triumphs, so as to commemorate the union of the two families, Sforza and Visconti. Sforza's first coins, I read somewhere, still had the same "rearing horse" design as the Visconti used.

By a religious emphasis, all I meant was that it emphasized the seven virtues of the Church, the four cardinals and the three theologicals. These were popular subjects in private, public, and religious art before, after, and during Filippo Visconti's reign, and also outside of Milan. There are also the Last Judgment and Death but those come from the titles of Petrarch's poems. I don't know how prevalent the skeleton and the souls rising up from the tombs were before the tarot. Death, as far as I can tell, was seldom represented before the 15th century; when it was, it was as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and it just looked like a horseman, not a skeleton. I think the souls rising from the tombs motif was common enough, in books of hours at least.

Regarding Marziano's deck of the gods, I expect they would have been something like the 7 planets in the Mantegna sequence, but without the writing on the bottom and with the departures suggested by Marziano, e.g. in the case of Jupiter, the four stars above and the two stars below. I see no reason to suppose that everything in Marziano's descriptions would have been put on the cards. For Jupiter, for example, only the second half of his account would be on the cards, the part beginning "he is seated" and not all of that ( ... -16-heroum): just the visuals he specifies.

There may be one thing that is "Renaissance" about Marziano's specifications, namely, they do not seem to stick to the standard conventional medieval attributes; they are creative. That might be a distinguishing mark of its being Renaissance, as medieval representations tended to use the same basic attributes over and over again, for the benefit of illiterates. Even though the Renaissance used those, too, there was more freedom (and more literacy), That also would restrict the appeal, to those who liked to know the symbolism, to a literate audience, who could read his explanations. But there are enough conventional symbols -- and if not, the artist could add them --, to make the card recognizably Jupiter to those who knew anything about planetary symbolism.

In that sense the CY-type is more medieval, by being more conventional, and so more readily understood by illiterate players, or players in the process of becoming literate, like children.

We cannot assume that the CY-type had cards such as the Devil, the Pope, the Tower, etc., From the 11 known card I can extrapolate to 5 others using the pattern 7 Petrarchan ( including 1 Boccaccian, the Wheel) triumphs + 7 virtues + Emperor and Empress. Anything beyond those, seems to me to require an argument. That 21 plus the Fool became standard everywhere does not seem to me enough of an argument, because one or two centers dominating the market after 1440 but having added cards to what was before then a smaller deck, would explain that.

The lack of numbers on the CY-type cards would still limit the players to those who knew the intended order, more or less, and could keep to the same order through numerous games--and of course the rules, including the scoring system. In that sense it is a game which, if originating in the court, could more readily spread to a larger group, such as ordinary soldiers. It seems to me more unlikely than likely that Filippo would have invented a game expressly for the masses. It would have been beneath his dignity. And the rules might have been too complicated.

Re: Pratesi on birthtrays, cassoni, Petr. mss. & parades (now 2)

Thanks once again for a long and informative reply.

Although it might suit my overall argument to say otherwise, I agree that the 1449 description of the cards must depart from the actual 1425 cards. I had also picked out "He is seated ..." in the Jove card as the point where Martiano stopped talking about the Michelino card actually in front of him, and went off on his own tangent. But as for the cards not having labels, while the medieval saints each had a fixed attribute so they could be identified by the illiterate, like St. John pointing at a crucifix, the Roman gods did not, not for the illiterate and not for the educated either. Some gods did have, but not all of them, and many of the attributes they do have, such as Athena's (Pallas's) owl, there is no mention of. Therefore I think the cards were labeled, or if not, they had a text that went with them to serve the same purpose. Printed cards might have been given labels, as some woodcuts do have writing, but it seems they were unlabeled, A mercer who sold to a wool-carder, a deck of trionfi cards for 3 soldi, can't have provided a text, and I'm pretty sure he didn't recite a sonnet which gave the trump order. Thus, I think that the Michelino cards are an example of a private deck, which lacks the qualities (figures, familiar to buyers, which could be understood without labels or explanations) which a mass-printed deck would need to have. To produce a deck suitable for mass printing and sale seems to me to take some skill. and a deck not designed for that purpose would not work for that purpose, by accident. The tarocchi images have the right qualities to be mass-printed, in spades.

Although a 1452 date for CYV suits me well enough, I don't really understand why Sforza might not have used his dead father-in-law's coin. I might say, Oh he wouldn't have done that, if I thought I knew what this deck of cards was made for. I don't think I know that.

I am not really trying to prove anything about CYV, only I don't want a speculation about it to become an established fact which can be cited to disprove other speculations. Perhaps it was invented by the kids at some Christmas fireside, but also perhaps, FMV simply ordered it, as Ser Giusto Giusti did a decade earlier, simply saying "I want a trionfi deck" without any need to specify what that meant. "Naibi di trionfi" alone was enough, everyone knew what that meant, and this was 1440!

The point of comparison for me, for the tarocchi images, is the woodblock prints of Germany (I also think the draftsmen and block cutters of the early naibi di trionfi cards were likely German). The earliest dated woodblock is 1410, and the prints I am comparing to in particular, are mostly toward the end of the XV cent. and thus long after the earliest document of the words naibi di trionfi, but at about the same date as our earliest extant examples (especially of printed cards). These later woodblocks have many points of similarity, starting with Bosch's conjurer with the same items on the table as the Bagatto has, then Danse Macabre skeletons, the Wheel of Fortune, Devil, Last Judgment. These woodblocks may be dated as late as 1490, but they sure look medieval to me. The conceptual set linking the card images with the woodblocks is not far from that expounded in the pre-Gébelin Tarot History site (I'm guessing that this Michael H is not you), such as the Moral Allegory page ... ories.html

Overall, for mapping images to broad notions such as medieval into humanism, I have found your explanations very helpful. Broadening, I would say, especially about the medieval end.

So to sum up, I think a deck made in educated humanist circles for private use would have these four properties:
1) The deck would be designed to be hand made, without thought of the needs of printers.
2) The deck would have labels or rely on explanations.
3) Since there were labels or explanations, the images would not need to be such, that they could be understood without labels.
4) The images would be humanist, or in general, images such as might appeal to the educated.

In contrast an game designed to be widely sold, would have these contrasting qualities:
1) The deck would be designed from the start to be printed.
2) The deck would have no labels, and would have to be such that it can succeed, with only minimal explanation reaching the buyers.
3) Therefore, the images would have to be such that they could be understood without labels. One way to do this, is to use familiar images, familiar to the expected buyers.
4) As these buyers would be illiterate in some cases, lacking in education and sophistication, and would often be German, the images will avoid advanced and humanist concepts.

I think the Martiano cards have all four qualities of the first set, and the standard 21 trumps, and therefore any subset of them, have all four qualities of the second set.

I do not take it for granted, as a known fact, that FMV or any VIsconti, or any d'Este either, invented the trionfi cards.

I am about to make a post about seven virtues in the Visconti decks.

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