I want to make an additional comment on Franco's essay "Triumphs and Triumphi" (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1092&start=20#p17714
), specifically the part pertaining to Moakley. These are some thoughts stimulated by the MA thesis I have reviewed on another thread. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but I needed to sit on it a bit before posting.
Here is what Franco says about Moakley in relation to Petrarch's poem:
To include Moakley among the amateurs seems indeed a bit reductive. Her profession would have been that of archivist; distinguishing whether her involvement with the tarot was amateur or professional seems to me a matter of splitting hairs, especially for her book, a pioneering contribution discussed in all monographs on the subject (23). The book is of interest even today, after half a century, but here we have to go back a decade, to her article centered on our topic, of which I did not know and was informed of it by Ross Caldwell (24).
I report it in the form of the proposed table, with minimal changes, such as including the Fool at the beginning, rather than the end, the only card for which a match is not given, since it is outside the series; for all the other cards - receiving help from minchiate - there is a correspondence with the Triumphi, naturally with appropriate groupings.
23. G. Moakley, The tarot cards painted by Bonifacio Bembo
. New York 1966.
24. G. Moakley, Bulletin of The New York Public Library
. Vol. 60 No. 2 (1956) 55-69.
Moakley reports a couple of features that make her proposal appear particularly valuable; one is that even within groups corresponding to only one triumph of Petrarch (the card at five) one can identify a ranking in accordance with the position in the group. The circumstance appears even more significant, emphasized by her, that the modern order of the cards did not need a significant reshuffling, having only to put out of order the cards ranking number 9 and number 14.
__*Not part of the procession.
As weak points of this proposal, which is rather stimulating, we can mention the lack of an appropriate association with Fame (although it might hint at an astonishing antiquity to minchiate and become a plus) and also the fact that Moakley in the book cited, printed a decade later, argues that a correspondence like this would be just a kind of irreverent
parody of the carnival type, with almost burlesque transformations of the personages involved.
What is not here is a full discussion of Moakley's presentation in her 1966 book.What does this "parody" look like, precisely? Now that we have both the book and the article online (in the thread viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1168
), it is worth discussing that question in the context of her presentation.
Here is what Moakley says in 1966. First, on minchiate (p. 47, at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1168&start=10#p19066
All six of Petrarch's triumphs are clearly to be seen in the minchiate trumps. They show Cupid and his captives, as in the tarocchi, but with more respectable captives than the Pope and Popess; then the triumph of Chastity accompanied by Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, and her captive, Fortune. The triumphs of Death and Time are the same as in the tarocchi, except that the Hanged Man has a pair of money bags, and Time has not been changed into the Hermit of the modern tarocchi. The triumph of Fame is represented by the virtues Hope, Prudence, Faith, and Charity, each wearing Fame's curious aureole. The triumph of Time also appears in the cards representing each of the four elements and the twelve signs of the zodiac. In the six unnumbered cards appears the triumph of Eternity: the Star of the Magi, the Sun and Moon (for some odd reason the Sun ranks below the Moon in the minchiate), the World, the Angel (blowing Fame's many-mouthed trumpet, and sometimes actually going by her name, "La Renommée"), and the Fool. (12)
This is the same as her 1956 presentation. Now the tarocchi (p. 48, same post as previous), I highlight the most relevant sentences:
The tarocchi trumps are not so much a softening of the Petrarch story as they are a ribald take-off. Perhaps because, in the merry mood of Carnival, everything possible was done to make fun of the solemn story. Two of the great Cardinal Virtues are, in the tarocchi, taken out of context and made to accompany Cupid with obviously sexual and scatological reference ("inter urinas et faeces nascimur"). The Pope is given a mate, but those who wish may take the Pope and Popess for Jupiter and Juno. Chastity is banished in favor of her enemy, Fortune. Time is reduced to being an attendant of Death, and Fame is forgotten. Most impudent of all, Eternity is put on a level with the other triumphs, instead of being unnumbered and so left "out of this world" as in the minchiate pack. Undoubtedly it was this audacity and irreverence that made the tarocchi trumps so popular, in fact the game of triumphs par excellence.
So Chastity is missing from the PMB, and Time is downgraded to being an attendant of Death, in other words part of the Triumph of Death. Later Moakley puts it this way:
We have seen that the trumps of our cards are visual representations of the popular triumphs of the fifteenth century, and that they were originally a separate game, based on the story of the three triumphs of Cupid, Death, and Eternity.
In other words, the PMB has something like three and a half, or even just three, Petrarchan triumphs, as opposed to six in minchiate. What we have is something that everyone considers to be later than tarocchi, minchiate, being closer in concept to the source, Petrarch, than what came earlier. It is something of a paradox, and further evidence for Franco's parenthetical "although it might hint at an astonishing antiquity to minchiate and become a plus". For him the problem was Fame's presence in minchiate, as opposed to tarocchi, was itself somewhat dubious, if it has to do with the card called the Angel in tarocchi: "Renommée" was the name only in French minchiate, even if the words "FAMA VOLAT" sometimes appeared overlaying the picture. Moakley herself never considered that card to exemplify Fama, but rather Eternity. Moreover, the type of Fame recognized at the Last Judgment is not what concerned Petrarch in his "triumph of fame"; his "Fama" was worldly fame.
But now, in 1966, we have the absence, in the tarocchi, of two more, one absent completely, the other part of the Triumph of Death. And there is still no sign of Fama.
A complication is that the PMB is not likely to have been the first tarocchi deck from Milan to have come down to us. In particular there is the Cary-Yale (CY), which certainly seems to be earlier, from the period before Francesco Sforza took control of the Duchy of Milan, as opposed to the PMB, for which the presence of both the ducal crown and the Sforza three rings seems to suggest that it was done after that event.
In the CY, Fame does seem to be present in precisely Petrarch's sense, namely, the lady at the top of the so-called "World" card, with the characteristic trumpet of Fama, together with the knight in the scene below, who seems to be on an adventure leading to his personal fame. It may implicitly be a Grail Knight, or Filippo Maria Visconti, or--more likely, I think--Francesco Sforza himself.
For Moakley in minchiate, the triumph of Fame corresponds, to the cards Hope, Prudence, Faith, and Charity. These cards also exist in the CY. They seem to me unlikely candidates for Petrarchan Fame in either deck, since Petrarch meant worldly glory, not glory in the eyes of heaven. Such an identification would at best be a re-conceptualization of Fama (which in Italian can apply to either sort of glory) in religious terms, a re-conceptualization that would also apply to the French "Renommee" card, and the "FAMA VOLAT" on the card depicting the Last Judgment. There is nothing wrong with re-conceptualizing Petrarch, but it is now at some remove from Petrarch's concept, a re-appropriation for the purpose of religious propaganda. (The removal of the Popess and the retention of the theological virtues, one could surmise, might have been toward the same end.) The result, however, is at some remove from Petrarch.
In the spirit of re-conceptualization, however, it is worth looking again at the Chariot card in the CY and PMB. Is Petrarch being parodied, or merely re-conceptualized, appropriated to the ideology of its commissioner, who defines love in terms of the marriage bond instead of desire? I would think the latter; the two people are pledging their troth. Likewise, what seems to be shown on the CY Chariot card is the arrival of a bride at her wedding, which is to say the surrender of that very Chastity which Petrarch extolled. Burlesque indeed! But we must bear in mind that a chariot bearing Chastity was not inappropriate at a wedding in 15th century Italy. Here is Moakley again, p. 44 (same link as above, emphasis added by me):
When Costanzo Sforza married Camilla D'Aragona in 1475, the occasion was celebrated by the performance of a Triumph of Fame, with Fame sitting in a car upon a great globe, surrounded by heroes: Scipio, Alexander, and Caesar. When the bride made her solemn entrance into the city of Pesaro, she was greeted by a Triumph of Chastity. The figure of Chastity was clothed in silver, and carried a golden palm-branch in her hand. Another car carrying six ladies who represented great heroines of purity followed the triumphal car. They were all clothed in white and carried lilies. At the end of a two-day celebration in the castle, with splendid banquets and congratulatory recitations, a confectionery piece representing this same triumph of Chastity was offered to the newlyweds.
It is not the abandonment of Chastity that is being celebrated, but rather its triumph: first, her virginal state before marriage, and second, her chastity in its new form, as the chaste matron to be, bearer of all the feminine virtues including non-virginal motherhood. If Chastity were a model for womanhood, all mothers would have sinned in that respect. Nobody wanted to discourage motherhood (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chastity
). Even the troubadours who extolled the knight's chaste love for his lady did not exclude his having children by someone else, his wife; nor did he expect abstinence of his Lady. Chastity is the restraining of impulse within lawful bounds. Love may be experienced for others, of an exalted and spiritual kind, but not the physical act. Moakley observes (p. 45):
The tradition of courtly love required the lover to choose a married woman for the object of his affections, and the lady to remain coldly aloof.
To be sure, when Petrarch talked about Chastity (or strictly speaking Pudicitie
, the sense of shame), he had in mind as its loftiest form one that which allowed for the spiritual kind of love only, such as his for Laura. But Chastity/Pudicitie as a virtue allowed its re-conceptualization to include marriage. According to the 19th century playing card historian Cicognara, the word "Love" could in his time even be made out on the tent of the CY card. The dog at their feet was a conventional symbol of faithfulness.
But it is faithfulness to the conventional terms of marriage, however it may dress up in chivalric terms: he agrees to provide her a certain lifestyle, and she agrees to avoid all suggestion of unseemliness, a stipulation that her late predecessor seems to have broken (at least by allowing her alleged lover to be seen sitting on her bed). These are stipulations that Filippo could commend, and also Francesco after him, for propaganda purposes and to his progeny. This re-conceptualization is what we see on the CY and PMB Love and Chariot cards.
In this regard, the minchiate Love and Chariot cards, unlike Moakley's candidates for Fame, seem closer to Petrarch's own conceptions than those of the Visconti and Sforza. In the Love card, a knight kneels before a lady who putting a crown on his head. She honors him, and he is chastely devoted to her: that is in conformity with the Petrarchan ideal. On the other hand, there was also the chivalric convention of the knights' competition for the hand of the king's daughter (or widow, which would count Oedipus). That would be closer to the situation of the CY.
The Chariot card, unlike other type A Chariot cards, shows a female figure on the chariot.
Oddly, perhaps, she is nude, only her sex hidden. She would seem to be a goddess rather than a woman, or perhaps the ideal Beauty of Plato's Phaedrus
, from which the dark horse is restrained from satisfying his appetite. On the other hand, Platonic Forms were meant as models, and her display of her body is hardly seemly. The CY and PMB figures would be more likely candidates for Chastity, if not Petrarchan Chastity.
Perhaps the minchiate charioteer is Fama, as her banner sometimes indicates (above, from the Lucca so-called Minchiate, 17th-18th c., http://trionfi.com/0/g/72/t.html
, "deck 2"). Along with that, we may recall that the preacher of the Steele Sermon called the Chariot card mundus parvus
, "little world", meaning, I think, the world that Petrarch had in mind for Fame, as opposed to the heavenly world of Eternity. Perhaps also the figure's nudity subtly suggests that worldly fame gets women to take off their clothes. I would note that someone very much like the minchiate charioteer also appears on its Tower card, fleeing the burning tower
As for Chastity, perhaps it is implied in the attitudes of the figures in the minchiate Love card, thus representing both Petrarchan triumphs. On the other hand, perhaps the minchiate charioteer was originally clothed; the problem is that we are dealing only with later cards.
Another re-conceptualization of Petrarch would be the Old Man with the hourglass, Moakley's candidate for Time. Petrarch's Time is that which is measured by the sun in its daily and yearly course across the sky, something that far outlives any mortal. The PMB's Old Man, assuming it was also in the CY, reflects the Time of a human life, of which we are allotted only a few of the sun's years. As such, it is fittingly placed before the Death card, as indeed it also is in minchiate, the figure there with the same hourglass and with crutches rather than the PMB's cane. Perhaps it was intended to suggest Filippo Maria Visconti, hated in Florence, who was said to use crutches and who would soon be dying. The PMB card would then be his rehabilitation: his clothing is expensive, not the rags of the minchiate, and needing only the cane.
If the Old Man originally represented Time, out of the Petrarchan order, then it may well be that the celestials, especially the Sun, were added so as to re-insert celestial Time in its proper Petrarchan place. On the other hand, it is possible that Time was represented by the Sun originally, and the Old Man was added later, both in Milan and Florence.
Ignoring for the moment Moakley's idea that it is groups of cards rather than individual ones that correspond to Petrarch's triumphs, we come out, in all the alternatives, with six Petrarchans in both the CY and minchiate. However the minchiate's version (whether we take my suggestion that the Charioteer represents Fame or Moakley's of the theological virtues and prudence) is closer to Petrarch's own conception than the Milanese. That may suggest that the minchiate's images, at least some of them, are earlier than those of Milan. On the other hand, re-appropriation of imagery and concepts--"creative misreading", as Harold Bloom called it in literature--often comes before their "restoration" by those who wish faithfulness to the text (think of Plotinus and his "restoration" of Plato after a perceived distortion and degeneration by his followers). What mattered in Filippo's Milan was decorum; in Florence, there was the proliferation, after 1440, of Petrarch's text and its illuminations, which captured the spirit if not always the letter of the text.
In the PMB, it would appear that at least 5 of the Petrarchans are present. There is the same conception of Love and Chariot as in the CY. The lady on the Chariot card may be meant to be older than on the CY; if so it is likely the Chastity of a woman already married. Possibly both refer to Bianca Maria Sforza, at different times. Another change is the wings on the horses; this compares the lady, I think, with those of the immortal beings in the heavens in Plato's Phaedrus
. That dialogue speaks of the human charioteer as the soul before its descent to earth, seeing over a wall "Beauty with her attendant Chastity” (254b) riding in a chariot with two white horses (as opposed to one white and one dark for the souls of mortals). Here one charioteer stands for all: Beauty, Chastity, and Virtue in general.
In the PMB, Fame appears to be missing, unless it is one of the two last cards and means "glory in the eyes of heaven". Another possibility is that as worldly fame it is represented in the absent Tower card. as the Tower of Babel, of which Genesis 11:4 has its builder say, in the Vulgate, "Come, Let us make a name for ourselves before we are scattered to all lands" (http://www.drbo.org/chapter/01011.htm
). Although not extant in the PMB, this card exists in the "Charles VI" tarot of Florence, only a few years later. If not in the PMB, this card would have been in the Milanese tarot soon enough. In the order, between Death and the Celestials, if one or more of the celestials represent Time, then it is in the right place in the order.
I see no reason to put the cards into "groups" defined by an associated Petrarchan triumph. Individual cards mark the events of the narrative journey well enough without having to have other cards attached to them. Other cards go where it makes sense for them to go, given the narrative. In the CY, the only sort of group that makes sense are those, of four each, around the four cardinal virtues, as in the cards' suit assignments inherited by the Beinecke Library and shown on their website. Here the association of Love with Justice suggests precisely the re-conceptualization of Petrarchan Love as the mutual obligation and respect of a ducal marriage. Fortitude has the un-phallic symbolism of the lady with the lion. And Temperance, in the Milanese orders (unlike the Ferrarese order Moakley used), is nowhere near the Chariot, with its resemblance to the female sex organ supposedly counterbalancing phallic Fortitude.
In the grouping around the four cardinal virtues, Moakley's perception of a correspondence between cardinal virtue and suits still remains valid for the CY, in the ways Moakley put it, although in a different order: justice to Swords, Fortitude to Staves, Temperance to Cups, and Prudence to Coins (Moakley's was Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice). What is lacking in the CY are one or two of the visual correspondences: there is nothing on the Fortitude card corresponding to Staves; if Prudence had a looking-glass, that would correspond to Coins, but of course we don't know. Perhaps one reason for switching, in the PMB, to Hercules for Fortitude was precisely to give a place for a stick (albeit in the legend he didn't actually use one on the lion).
Minchiate also preserves the visual correspondence, with its Fortitude lady holding or at least touching a column, indeed amusingly phallic, more so than the Milanese versions, e.g.
The more complete parallels in the minchiate--Prudence indeed has a mirror--might tempt us to think that the minchiate's designs were earlier than the CY's; on the other hand, perhaps the designer simply hadn't thought about visual correspondences, or noticed the ones that were there. There is no suggestion of cardinal virtues being assigned to groups of cards in the minchiate order, as Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice all appear one after the other.
I do not deny an element of ribaldry in the PMB, and all the decks that go beyond my hypothesized 16 cards of the CY. The PMB has 8 to 10 additional cards, some of which do look like they could be put there in a joking manner: Fool, Bagatella, Popess, Pope, Hanged Man, Devil, even the Old Man (as a joke about aging). Their placement, presumably in Florence first, in their minchiate versions, could well be explained as adding a ribald spirit to the original 16: the Pope is there to trump the Emperor, the Popess then added as a joke corresponding the Empress, the Old Man as even more of a joke than in the PMB (walking on crutches yet with wings), the Hanged Man as a macabre joke (and cautionary tale) before Death, and, at some point, the Devil a joke (and caution) after Death. Star and Moon match Sun, or all three are added to replace the theological virtues, as celestial bodies in order of increasing light.
To sum up: both minchiate and the CY have all 6 triumphs, while the PMB only might have, but might have had 5, as Moakley stated in her 1956 article. Her second thoughts about the absence of Chastity, given the nearby presence of sexual symbolism, are based on a sequential order for which there is no basis for applying to Milan, since the "Steele Sermon" is from the Ferrara region, which had a different order of triumphs than Milan. Moreover, she did not consider the possibility that Petrarchan Chastity was being re-conceptualized rather than abandoned.
However Moakley's awareness of the change from Petrarch does lead us to wonder whether a kind of proto-minchiate, whether in Florence or Milan, might have preceded the CY in Milan, a suggestion made by Franco Pratesi, perhaps one with the same 16 cards as my hypothesized CY, in Florence in the order as later seen in the full minchiate. The grounds for such precedence are two: (1) it may be that what is depicted on the minchiate Love and Chariot cards is closer to Petrarch in conception than the depictions on the corresponding CY and PMB cards. And (2), minchiate has a better fit of suit-signs to cardinal virtues than the CY, since there is nothing about the lady with the lion suggestive of batons or staves. Also, the column on the minchiate Fortitude card fits Moakley's idea of "ribaldry", given that the lady is touching it, sometimes even holding it in a suggestive placement. However it may also be that the designer of the CY, and perhaps even minchiate, while intending the correspondences, both to Petrarch and to the suits, simply wasn't concerned to be precisely faithful to Petrarch's conceptions or to put visual correspondences between suit signs and virtue cards, of a ribald nature or otherwise. In that case there would be no priority suggested either for Milan or Florence.