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

#71
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 (http://trionfi.com/martiano-da-tortona- ... -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)

#72
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 http://pre-gebelin.blogspot.com/2010/09 ... 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.

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

#73
...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 caveat to that statement is there is no earlier use of that term (it was a novel hapax, as Ross Caldwell explained elsewhere), so in fact there is no prior tradition one can point to with Naibi di trionfi in use (despite Pratesi's research and notes about card laws in Tuscany in the years leading up to Anghiari). Its just as likely that this very descriptive term - "cards with triumphs" - was a novel term used for a novel suit of cards (triumphs), invented in 1440; a product needs a name to be sold, especially if new; "cards with triumphs" fit the bill and Giusti ordered accordingly. All the more likely if the Medici were behind them (and who else would be more likely in Florence?), where they used the cards to celebrate their pivotal victory at Anghiari in 1440 (hence, "triumph"). Giusti supplied arms and men for that cause, and simply followed his Medici patrons in his gift for the wayward Malatesta (left the Medici alliance before Anghiari). And I also agree with Mike (who is not "mikeh[urst]", who is deceased) that common packs were made for the common man - and the common man, versus the Albizzi oligarchy defeated at Anghiari, were very much the Medici social base (if only in rhetoric).

As for the CY specifically, the preponderance of details within it all point to the betrothal of Bianca Visconti in exchange for the military service of F. Sforza in 1441, a little more than a year after Filippo Visconti's defeat at Anghiari (hence it followed the Medici invention, if not subverting it for Filippo's own propaganda needs; i.e., "I just wooed over the best condottiero in the land from the Medici"). The iconographic facts:
* The coin discussed above dates to before 1440
* The 4 suits are evenly split between the merging families, 2 for Sforza and 2 for Visconti, both with each family' arms. Surely important to the wedding in 1440, but not after that accomplished fact and indeed this feature of the suits was not retained in the post-1450 PMB.
* The "Chariot" - for the only time in its iconographic history - is associated with the Chastity of a bride to be (henceforth it will be warrior woman drawn by winged horses in the PMB [victorious Bianca after her defense of Cremona, IMO] - and then a male warrior). The key element of the card is Chastity's jousting shield held up by the woman in the cart (Bianca offering up her chastity to Sforza, and the shield is emblazoned with the radiate dove device of the Visconti so that women is clearly Bianca). The Sforza fountain device on the groom clearly identifies that person.
* The disputed white cross-on-red pennants on the marriage tent, with a low conjugal bed behind them (again, clearly a marriage here) - "the Lovers" trump, is not the much-discussed Savoy (a wrong-headed theory which fails to explain the Sforza devices on the two suits) but the coat of arms of Pavia, where the Visconti made their ancestral home and was in fact Duke Filippo's original title, Count of Pavia, which in effect was what Sforza was being made and promised through this marriage (he sure as hell wasn't going through with this for "love"). In fact the first city Sforza took in the siege of Milan was Pavia and when Sforza finally took Milan he made all of the above claims via the forged will of Filippo (whatever promises were originally made to Sforza, he must have thought the daughter was in herself enough to guarantee title to the Duchy in 1441, and did not get in writing in 1441 what he would need much later in 1450). Sforza's dire succession propaganda needs are clearly spelled out in this crucial work by Gary Ianziti: Humanistic Historiography under the Sforzas: Politics and Propaganda in Fifteenth-Century Milan (1988). I view the c. 1451-2 PMB as a species of that propaganda.
* "The World" trump uniquely shows a knight coming to a maiden on the shores of a river (the Po's path to the Adriatic, IMO, which Bianca traveled down from Pavia to her wedding dowry city of Cremona in 1441), clearly yet another wooing scene. That makes sense in 1441 - certainly not in 1450. Two existing children (Bianca was pregnant with a third in 1450) make sense on the PMB, where we find an idealized city (a rejuvenated Milan), held up by two cherubs (indicating the then-living Sforza children, one of whom was the male heir to the Duchy - not a minor point when it comes to a new dynasty).

The unique iconography of the CY can all be explained by the 1441 wedding. That it followed quickly on the heels of tarot's invention in Florence the previous year is hardly surprising.

Phaeded

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

#74
In reply to this by Phaeded
Re: Pratesi on birthtrays, cassoni, Petr. mss. & parades (now 2)
#73
...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 caveat to that statement is there is no earlier use of that term (it was a novel hapax, as Ross Caldwell explained elsewhere), so in fact there is no prior tradition one can point to with Naibi di trionfi in use (despite Pratesi's research and notes about card laws in Tuscany in the years leading up to Anghiari). Its just as likely that this very descriptive term - "cards with triumphs" - was a novel term used for a novel suit of cards (triumphs), invented in 1440; a product needs a name to be sold, especially if new; "cards with triumphs" fit the bill and Giusti ordered accordingly.
If I invented a brilliant new game based on the principle of kidnapping and ransoming cards, I couldn't write someone that same day and ask for a deck of "cards with some ransom cards" and expect them to know what I meant, well enough to supply me with the cards I needed. I would need to include a description of some kind to get the cards I wanted. So I think writer and recipient of this letter must have had a common familiarity with some game, either already called naibi di trionfi or it was a game such that "triumphs" was a good enough description to specify that game. The letter also shows that there were not two such games, or the writer would have had to say which he meant.

That being said, we have no basis to conclude that "naibi di trionfi" used for the first time, meant the same thing as it did later.

The 1425 Martiano cards have the curious rule that two of the suits rank the pip cards normally, so 10 outranks ace, and two suits are reversed, so Ace outranks 10. This is also the rule of later Tarocchi. I find this a strong argument that a game with trick-taking, and trump cards that could be played without regard to suit, outranking the kings, existed continuously from 1425 on. Both the number of trumps and what they were, obviously changed. The role of the fool may or may not have existed in 1425 (I think it didn't). The number of non-trump cards may have been 44 in 1425. But otherwise the game changed mostly in the number and content of the trumps. VIII Emperors on several grounds fits as a variant of this same game, with just eight trumps. Since it was the same family, that played the game in 1425, as got the letter in 1440, I think it most likely that the game meant in 1440 was of this same tradition, differing only in the number and content of the trumps. What those trumps were in 1440, and how many, i see no grounds to say, from the letter. It could have been 16, 8, 14, 21, or some other number, and the content could have been something we know, or something we have never seen. The battle of Anghiari is as likely as anything.

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

#75
sandyh wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 00:52
I would need to include a description of some kind to get the cards I wanted. So I think writer and recipient of this letter must have had a common familiarity with some game, either already called naibi di trionfi or it was a game such that "triumphs" was a good enough description to specify that game. The letter also shows that there were not two such games, or the writer would have had to say which he meant.

Naibi was already a common term. In my view, in Florence in 1440, Medici partisans (if not directly funded by the Medici), created an additional suit called “trionfi”. The new phrase ‘naibi di trionfi’ does not need anything else to happen for this term to come into common use to describe the existing product of cards/naibi expanded into a new product called cards with triumphs. Giusti was a Medici partisan and aware of this development. Nothing unusual is presumed here in the least.
sandyh wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 00:52
What those trumps were in 1440, and how many, i see no grounds to say, from the letter. It could have been 16, 8, 14, 21, or some other number, and the content could have been something we know, or something we have never seen. The battle of Anghiari is as likely as anything.
My own theory here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1062

The Florentine ur-tarot had 14 trumps (matching the existing 14 card suits), the seven canonical virtues with a corresponding exemplary theme in the other seven, derived from Dante (himself heavily influenced by classical learning; e.g., Brutus in the mouth of Satan). The theological trumps get replaced and an additional seven trumps get added with the fool in c. 1451 under the auspices of Filelfo in the service of the nascent Sforza regime.

Earlier in this thread you posted this:
Where is the humanism? Where is even one card that is clearly humanist? The card called angel might be Fama from the Aeneid, but it might after all be an angel. Every card has an obvious and non-humanist meaning which is, most likely, what it means. How exactly did the humanist owner of the second largest library in Europe produce a deck of cards that screams holy picture on the wall of a weaver's cottage with every card? How did the family that made the Martiano cards make these cards? They couldn't have made them if they tried. That's what I see, when I look at the tarocchi trumps.
The black/white dichotomy you are positing between Classical and medieval Christian themes is much more blurred than you arguing for (see my note on Dante, to begin with). The four cardinal virtues derive from Plato and Cicero and had nothing to do with the Theological virtues with which they are grouped in medieval times (and yet all seven virtues are scattered throughout the pre-Martiano deck in the earliest portion of the Visconti Hours, for instance, that dates to before 1398 when the first artist de Grassi died).

Essential reading in this regard is the research of the Warburg school, especially this excellent summary of the findings (with original contributions): Jean Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art, 1940 (tr. 1954). There used to be a full pdf of it on-line, but I can only find the first few chapters here right now: http://people.bu.edu/bobl/paganchristian.pdf

Phaeded

PS A leaf from the Visconti Hours, showing the Old Testament story of Jericho (depicted as a hexagonal city very much like the later PMB “World” card also placed in a tondo - the dominion of an idealized/rebuilt Milan after the Sforza siege), surrounded by the classical cardinal virtues, clockwise from top: Prudence with her mirror, Temperance in the alternate depiction of a sheathed sword instead of two jugs, Strength and Justice.

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