Here is a provisional translation of Alain's essay on LeTarot. The only awkwardness was in translating "plusieurs devices", which is ambiguous in the original between "several suits" and "many devices" i.e. heraldics, although, according to Caldwell, Depaulis prefers "suis", i.e,. French "couleurs", because the word "devices" meaning heraldics is not documented in France before the 16th century. I have used Caldwell's translation of the passage but with a long explanation of the ambiguity inserted in brackets.
I would welcome any suggestions for improvement.
Note added July 10 :
I have made two additions since original posting. In line with Huck's suggestion in the post, I have added the point about Sheggia and the Castello Urbino cards to the translation, with Alain's assent. I assume that Alain will add it to the French. Also, I have added what the letters " SGDL" next to Alain's name stand for, as confirmed by him.
The Tarot called “of Charles VI”
Update on the historical research
by Alain Bougearel, member of the Scientific Committee of the Associazione LeTarot
Notice of the BNF [Bibliotheque Nationale de France, i.e., French National Library]
Link to BnF: http://expositions.bnf.fr/renais/arret/3/
The Tarot called "of Charles VI" [TdChVI] was kept by the collector Roger de Gaignières, (1642-1715): http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb12115323h
This deck, of which only 17 cards survive, 16 Triumphs or Trumps and a Page of Swords, was falsely attributed to Charles VI by a note of 1392 (?) by Charles Poupart, which mentioned a certain Jacquemin Gringonneur [comments in brackets by translator]: "To Jaquemin Gringonneur, painter, for three packs of cards in gold and in diverse colours, ornamented in many [or several] divisions [devices=suits, per Depaulis, for which see Caldwell below; another possibility is devices=heraldics] to be brought to the said lord King for his entertainment: 56 parisian sols).” («A Jaquemin Gringonneur, peintre, pour trois jeux de cartes à or et à diverses couleurs, ornés de plusieurs devises pour porter devers ledit seigneur roi pour son ebattement : LVI sols parisis».)
Charles Poupart, Registre de la Chambre des Comptes [Register of the Chamber of Accounts]
The note is authentic but would actually refer to a a completely different pack than the TdChVI, as pointed out by Ross Caldwell:
The Gringonneur case
The TdChVI would probably date from the second half of the 15th century (before 1465?); the images would be Florentine (see the Chariot with the presence of the 7 Palle [Balls] stemma, without the Fleur de Lys given by Louis XI to Piero de’ Medici in May 1465(?) with ordinal numbers added a posteriori and similar to the order of Bologna.
Nevertheless, one will remain cautious because the detailed analysis of the clothing present on each of the TdChVI cards, as studied by one of the highest authorities in the field, Dr. Elisabetta Gnignera, resulted in a mixed origin: Ferrara and Bologna. Nothing prevents us from assuming with some probability that the pack could have been executed by an anonymous painter whose origin would remain ipso facto
In addition, the precise dating and exact origin of this beautiful pack are still subject to caution: see below, Remarks in I and Provisional Conclusions in II.
I. REMARKS: uncertainties as to when and where ...
1) The dating is from the results of the examination carried out by the Research Laboratory of the Louvre Museums (1). As Thierry Depaulis points out, they are formal: the pigments used do not allow us to go beyond a very general dating. The presence of flaps, which is emphasized in the analysis report, is evidence of late manufacture, even though, obviously, the drawing and the painting were done once each card was mounted, as is also the case for Rothschild Collection cards »(1)
2) The Order of Triumphs is comparable to the order in the Bolognese tradition. However the numbers on the cards are later than the pictures themselves. But is TdChVI [i.e. its set of numbers] at the origin of this tradition [of numbering], or is it inspired by that tradition?
"The figures shown are those readable, partially or not, at the top of the cards - except for the Hanged Man, where the figure is written at the bottom, 'upside down'. These Roman numerals are drawn in ink and appear slightly after the completion of the cards (first half of the 16th century at the latest)" (1)
"Michael Dummett looked at the Roman numerals written in ink on the top of the cards (except for the case of the Hanged Man) and partially trimmed: we can thus reconstitute an order of triumphs that seems close to the Bolognese tradition ..." [...] "Unless the tarot of Bologna was inspired by it" (1)
(1) Bibliography: Thierry Depaulis, Tarot, Jeu, Magie, [Tarot, Game, Magic],
pp. 40 - 41 (Bibliothèque Nationale, 1984)
II. PROVISIONAL CONCLUSIONS
The TdChVI is a Tarot because it includes a series of Triumphs, as Michael Howard has pointed out: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1154&start=120#p19498
The dating 1442 for Tarot = triomphorum ludus - offered by the editor of the article of the BnF, written c. 2006, was nonetheless offered in a hypothetical mode, "it seems...:".
"The tarot deck is mentioned for the first time, it seems, in Ferrara, in 1442, under the expression carte da trionfi
or triumphorum ludus
(triumphs). Around 1500, the term tarocchi
appears in a book of accounts of the court of Ferrara. The French transcription "tarot" is met in a document dated 1505."
The oldest reference to the word "Trionfi" is dated September 16, 1440: http://trionfi.com/giusto-giusti
As for the first attested mention of the words "Tarochi" (Ferrara) and "Taraux" (Avignon) 1505: http://trionfi.com/0/p/23/
Ferrara 1505, 2 notes of Tarochi reported in: QUANDO SI INIZIA IN PARLARE DI "TAROCCO": FERRARA 1505 by Adriano Franceschini
Archivio di Stato di Modena, Camera ducale Estense, Guardaroba, 126, Conto de debiti e crediti, II semester 1505
c. 93r, 30 giugno:«Conto de merzaria de Guardaroba de' havere... E de' havere adì ultimo dito [giugno] per pare dexedoto de carte videlicet pare oto de tarochi e pare dexe fra schartini e carte de ronfa, quali fono portati a Viguenza, vene di Guradaroba al 3+, a c. 65 ... pare 18»
c. 96r, 26 dicembre: «E de' havere adì ditto per quindexe para de schartini e tarochi fo mandati a Viguenza per el Signore; vene di Guardaroba a 3+, a c. 68....[para] n. 15»
Avignon, Taraux, December 6, 1505: "The first known mentions of the word 'tarot' date from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Up to then called trionfi
, it became tarocchi
without anyone knowing why. We see it mentioned thus in an order of Duke Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara, and again in a notarized act of Avignon in which the Cardmaker Jean Fort undertakes to deliver "four dozen [packs of] cards commonly called taraux.” (See: https://www.tarot-paris.com/d-ou-vient-le-mot-tarot
Recommended articles on “taraux” (Avignon) and “tarochi” (Ferrara):
- Depaulis 2013 in Le Tarot Revéle [The Tarot Revealed]
, translated by M; Howard at: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=502&p=19407#p19407
Vitali at http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 20&lng=ENG
Nonetheless, the expression “tarocus” is found in use 1495, before 1499....
As Andrea Vitali emphasizes, in literature one finds the word Taroch
We also know that in literature, Tarocco
see “Theroco Wind”
See: “Tarocco sta per Matto”, http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=689&lng=ITA
Dummett, Depaulis and Vitali in the past noted a kind of similarity between the order of the TdChVI and that of Bologna.
Andrea VITALI: http://letarot.it/page.aspx?id=179
See: http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page. ... 21&lng=ENG
M. HOWARD has recently provided valuable insights regarding this thesis:
Note: Depaulis remarks that the numbers on the cards were added after the pictures - so most probably unnumbered originally.
The Medici Stemma (7 Palle) is present on the TdChVI Chariot.
For the 7 Palle Coat of Arms of the Medici:
Before 1465, under Piero de’ Medici, it is 7 Palle but without the Fleur de Lys, as on the TdChVI Chariot.
This is a rational deduction but it is not unanimous because after 1465 there are still some Stemmas of 7 Palle, no Fleur de Lys.
This would indicate a probable Florentine origin of the images of the initially unnumbered deck.
Summary of the question by Steve Mangan:
Who could be the painter of the images of the TdChVI?
Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guidi (called Scheggia), Italian painter and miniaturist, San Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486, would be a very plausible candidate for the realization of the images of this deck - for two reasons.
(1) He is a painter documented as producing playing cards (see Franco Pratesi at http://trionfi.com/evx-lo-scheggia
(2) He painted the birth plate illustrating the "triumph of fame" for the Medici family on the occasion of the birth of Lorenzo, who became "Il Magnifico" (ibid). Therefore, Scheggia would be a natural choice of the painter of triumph cards for the same family, perhaps for the same Lorenzo.
(3) One of the triumphs in the Castello Urbino group has special details similar to those of a young man on a wedding chest attributed to Scheggia. Other Urbino cards have much in common with those in the TdChVI. (See Huck at viewtopic.php?p=20308#p20308.)
(Thanks to M. Howard for his rephrasing of this hypothesis.)
Alain BOUGEAREL of the SGDL [Société des Gens de Lettres de France].
Published 20 04 2017 on Tradition des Tarots de Marseille: Le Tarot di “de Charles VI”