A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

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Re: A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

Postby Kate on 17 Apr 2017, 05:03

Phaeded wrote:I think the compass was too closely identified with Prudence in the mid-Quattrocento and the most prominent set of virtues in Florence - that of the Campanile and the Loggia dei Lanzi - shows Temperance holding the mixing vessels:
[the baptistery's temperance's sheathed sword is neither here nor there for this argument: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--gbTQy6I1ns/Ul8SK_Vs8gI/AAAAAAAAB3Y/mWdcUspvItM/s1600/GOOD+TEMPERANCE.JPG ]

Indeed, the CVI’s own Temperance trump adheres to the older model of mixing vessels.

I am aware of the association between the compasses and Prudence. (For an earlier example of this association, see Giotto’s Prudence, Arena Chapel, ca. 1306). That said, I believe you overstate this association. I’ve also seen the motif of the compasses linked with the virtue, Justice. (Cf. the Capella Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, by Bronzino, ca. 1540-45, where it appears, along with the gallows square, as an attribute of this virtue.) The majority of works for the subject period continued to show the polycephalic Prudence with mirror and serpent or book, sans compasses. This holds true as well for the Loggia dei Lanzi and Campanile, which you cited. On the other hand, the Temperance by Brueghel the Elder (ca. 1560), which I referenced in my earlier post reflects a competing tradition that continued to link the compasses with Temperance.

Interestingly, however, Prudence was also linked with the Venus Pudica (or hand gestures associated with her). Along these lines, please see the Pulpit, Pisa Cathedral (1302-1310), which Giovanni Pisano apparently modeled after that constructed by his father, Nicola, at Siena. You’ll also note that the Pisa Temperance is given the attribute of the compasses. Fortitude holds the carcass of a lion. Justice holds her usual scales and sword.

I find this of interest in view of the Venus Pudica-like hand gestures given the naked, female protagonist in the CVI Judgment/Fama trump, as well as the monarch in green cloak shown in the CVI Death trump.

Fortitude and Prudence.jpg
Fortitude and Prudence
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Justice and Temperance.jpg
Justice and Temperance
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Phaeded wrote:Considering that one of the compass arms, per your detail, is placed on one of the bands of the armillary-like sphere - either the celestial equator or ecliptic - wouldn't it be most likely that the latter as indicated and the other arm attempting to indicate one of the lunar nodes for the important issue of eclipses? This is the moon card after all.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_node

An interesting possibility. That said, I fail to see how this might preclude an association between the Moon trump and Temperance or Lachesis, for that matter. The theme of measuring is still present.

Re: A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

Postby Kate on 17 Apr 2017, 05:21

mikeh wrote:Kate wrote
Another remarkable feature of the CVI is the marked resemblance between the Hermit/Vecchio and the Emperor. The facial features of the two are the same, except that the Emperor presents his left profile to the viewer, whereas, the Hermit presents his right profile. The Hermit’s beard is longer, presumably, reflecting the passage of time. The Emperor’s cuirass has been discarded, appropriately, in favor of a travelling cloak and shoes for the Hermit. The gold detailing, which decorates the hem of the Emperor’s blue tunic faces left; that of the Hermit’s tunic faces right consistent with their reversed facial profiles. The five-petalled flower, which decorates the Emperor’s cuirass becomes a five-petalled, living flower at the feet of the Hermit as he, presumably, prepares to ascend the mount before him. Clearly, the two are the same man. But who or what does this man represent?

Interesting idea, that they are the same person.
The only 15th century ruler I know of who went from ruling to being a monk is Amadeus VIII of Savoy, made duke by Emperor Sigismund (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadeus_V ... e_of_Savoy). That was before he was elected pope. However it was a military order of monks, so perhaps he would have kept on his cuirass. Savoy was an ally of both Milan and Florenence, and not only that, Amadeus was the younger Sforzas' step-grandfather, of a sorts (i.e. not legally), as well as being some sort of distant cousin (through an earlier Visconti-Savoy marriage).

On the other hand, many people spent time in monasteries temporarily. Cosimo il Vecchio had his own private cell at San Marco. I don't know how much the cards look like him. It doesn't have to. Another possibility: it is a family resemblance only, so related as Jupiter to Saturn, or Piero the Gouty to Cosimo il Vecchio. It does not even have to be a reference to a particular actual person, if it is an allegorical progression. In any case, there does seem to be a definite linkage intended between these cards, different stages of life modeling different teachings about life.


I’ve assumed these figures to be allegorical in nature—not a reference to any contemporary persons. I’ve not precluded an alchemical subtext, where the deck is concerned.

Re: A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

Postby Huck on 17 Apr 2017, 09:52

Kate wrote:Huck:

The CVI would seem to employ considerable economy insofar as depicting more than one theme in a given trump. Like you, I believe that the CVI incorporates the three Theological Virtues. Along these lines, a contemporary practice, which I believe merits consideration, paired the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. One such model attributed to 12th Century theologian/philosopher, Alain de Lille (as cited by Lynn White, 1978), paired Faith with Prudence, Hope with Fortitude, and Charity/Love with Justice. I broached this subject with Phaeded some time ago after he posted a photo of Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Maesta (ca. 1335)—viz. in terms of the colors associated with the Theological Virtues in Dante’s Commedia and, later, the Medici device/Magi. Of course, other related models existed. I believe that Augustine paired Faith and Justice, for instance.

http://it.wahooart.com/Art.nsf/O/8XZN7F ... aesta-.JPG

In terms of the woman with spindle depicted in the CVI Sun trump, certainly, it could allude to the Florentine textile industry, in addition to a healthy number of other persons/themes. For instance, in the Campanile’s Industries of Man series of bas-reliefs by Andrea Pisano, the West wall’s third relief known as “The First Labors of Adam and Eve” portrays Eve with a spindle as Adam sows seed. Alternatively, it has been speculated that the south wall’s bas-relief concerned with weaving depicts either Naamah (sister of Tubalcain) or the goddess, Athene, as the purported patron of that art. Given the lady’s association with the CVI Sun trump, I’m tempted to speculate that it might reflect a Neoplatonic/Ficinian influence, but this speculation is tentative at this point.

The CVI develops its association to chess in context of an already existing Chess association for the Cary-Yale, which possibly had a logical basis by taking a 5x16-structure (well, hypothetical). If the analyzes are right, than star-moon-sun replaced the 3 theological virtues ... for the later Tarot structure ... however, the Charles VI has no star.
So ... if the idea is right, that sun-moon-star arrived in a later development, the Trionfi-system of CVI would have stood between a 7-virtues (+ Love) as pawns (Cary-Yale) and and a Trionfi-model with 4 cardinal virtues and sun-moon-star (+ Love).

Why Love as the 8th pawn?

Older chess had occasionally these starting formation:

Short-assize versions, said to be from 16th century, but the principle was definitely older.

Queen and Queen's pawn had a special function in these openings. A similar special role was given to the Queen in the "Freudensprung" in the Courier game:


There's only one female figure in the chess set and this might have inspired the fantasy first in the chess versions and then in the Chess-with-Trionfi or Trionfi-with-chess meditations.

The Charles VI imported sun+moon (without star) ... possibly the idea existed to use "7 planets" for the pawns:

Sun, as we see it
Moon, as we see it
Venus, as it is in the Love card
Jupiter for the virtue Justice
Saturn for the virtue Temperance ???
Mars for the virtue Fortitudo
Mercury for the virtue Prudentia (Fame ?)

... just as an idea.

The general situation was so, that Pulci got the commission to write the Morgante (1460). On the general run a big friendship to Lorenzo de Medici (17 years younger, in 1960 11 years old) developed and the Morgante became an orgasm about funny knights and a foolish giant (Morgante), later a second foolish giant Margutte (a giant cook, who could eat very much).
My idea is, that Pulci got the commission to write the long poem for children and to educate some sort of interest for literature. The long-time project of the Morgante was part of this education. When the years passed ... 1463 ... the Morgante had reached chapter 15 (so it is analyzed) and Lorenzo was old enough to be seen as "grown-up". So, I assume, the literature teaching was finished, and a playing card project was made to give it a crown, naturally reflecting the funny ideas in this long time. A Pulci-plus-children mix, with not much respect for high humanistic sensibilities.

A little later (1466) Pulci appears as the one, who is the first to mention the game Minchiate, in a letter to Lorenzo. On the long run, Minchiate, not Tarot, became the the national game of Tuscany ... under the long rule of the Medici. And Lorenzo became famous as the most important Medici.

Pulci expanded the poem later to 23 chapters (around 1473) and finally 28. Pulci's ironic ideas inspired Boiardo, Boiardo inspired Ariost and later Torquato Tasso (the liberated Jerusalem), all in the interest to increase the fame of the Este.

Orlando's friendship to Morgante starts with a stone-throwing battle and that's the motif of the Charles VI Fool.

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Re: A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

Postby Kate on 23 Apr 2017, 01:49

Greetings Huck, et al,

In the CVI Pope trump, the Cardinal, left, holds his left hand over his right breast—a gesture, which by contemporary convention bespeaks the Theological Virtue, Faith. The Cardinal, right, holds his crossed hands over his lower body—a gesture associated with the Theological Virtue, Hope.

By comparison, the CVI Death trump portrays both the Pope and Cardinal, right, holding their crossed hands over their lower bodies as frequently seen at burials or tomb effigies—again, in reference to the virtue, Hope, presumably, in terms of the Resurrection. The Monarch in green cloak, left, holds his hands in a manner recalling the Venus Pudica—viz. right hand over the left breast and left hand proximal to the genital area.

In the CVI Judgment trump, the naked female protagonist holds her hands in like manner for Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty.

In the CVI Love trump, the male lover of the central couple has legs splayed in a manner suggestive of lust. However, the male lover of the rear couple, right, holds his right hand over his left breast (the anatomical position of the heart) and a gesture, understandably, associated with the Theological Virtue, Charity/Love. Meanwhile, the lady, which is the object of his affections, holds her left hand to her lower body, proximal to her mons Venus, as she clasps her dress.

Turning to the first couple, left, of the CVI Love trump, the male lover holds his two hands crossed over his chest—a gesture duplicated by the two genii portrayed in the CVI Emperor trump and one, which I’ve seen variously associated by different artists with the Theological Virtue, Hope, the Cardinal Virtue, Temperance, and the Phlegmatic Humor.

As previously mentioned, the floral pattern of the Pope’s robe matches that of Fortitude. Thus, I began working with the following hypotheses, which pair the Theological and Cardinal Virtues:





As for exemplars in the CVI’s third tier, why not the Sun-World-Judgment sequence?

Re: A definitive Medici marker on the CVI page of swords?

Postby mikeh on 24 Apr 2017, 10:11

Kate: I don't see that the 3rd man in the Love card's putting his hand to his heart suggests the theological virtue of Charity. It is rather that he feels love, in his heart, of the type that exists between the sexes; it might also be a gesture of devotion, as in love of country in a pledge of allegiance or while one's national anthem is being played. That the lady has her hand near her genital area is probably to fend off, or make a pretense of fending off, the man's hand should it go from his heart to below the waist, as in the case for example of the Schifanoia fresco (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/56 ... e7cd3a.jpg).

I think you are right about the man's stance in the central couple. There the lady's hand is nowhere near her genital area, which suggests that she doesn't mind.

It seems to me that the two kneeling figures in the Emperor card are pages, and their crossed hands over their chests suggests a pledge of loyalty, devotion, and obedience. It is the same for the 1st man in the Lover card, pledging his devotion. It is even similar with tomb effigies: submission to God's will, whatever it may be. Hope has a different gesture, that of hands in prayer while looking upward. That they are crossed over the lower body suggests to me a placement by the artist so that the onlooker will not see the lower body: so it is in effect a "Venus pudica" pose, not by the person himself but like that of someone covering that part of a dead body from view.

As for the cardinals' gestures on the Pope card, I would need to see examples of these hand-positions on particular examples of of Faith and Hope. It seems to me hand to the breast could still be an attitude of devotion and allegiance, and likewise for the two hands crossed over the lower body.

I did not understand what you were comparing to Sun, World, and Judgment? Faith, Hope, and Charity? Fortitude, Justice, Prudence? For myself, it seems to me that the Star fits Hope (Star of Bethlehem), the Moon Faith (Faith needed in the darkness of this world), and the Sun with Charity (it gives its bounty to all unceasingly). It is one threesome being compared to another threesome.

As for the theological/cardinal pairings you have, I know that Justice and Charity were frequently paired: justice tempered by mercy. I don't see why Faith shouldn't be paired with Fortitude: it takes Fortitude to maintain one's Faith under adversity. Either Hope or Faith could be paired with Prudence: Prudence demands both, as well as Charity. But I don't see the point of such pairings. Please explain.
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