Detail: CVI Moon Trump
Recently, I commented on the link made by the CVI between the Chariot and Temperance via the matching six-petalled, dotted floral motif (with a seventh point at center) or Medici device portrayed on these two respective trumps.
Further, I speculated that the CVI may possibly contain additional references to the virtue, Temperance. Along these lines, I gave as an example the CVI’s Moon trump, which shows two men in the process of measuring through use of a set of compasses. In support of this argument, I cited the work by Pieter Brueghel the Elder entitled, “Temperance” from his “World of Seven Virtues,” c. 1560. You’ll note that Brueghel’s “Temperance” depicts numerous individuals employing various methods of measure, including the use of a set of compasses. (1)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... C_1560.JPG
Subsequent to my last post on this subject, I ascertained that Orcagna (Andrea di Cione) made earlier use of the compasses in relation to Temperance by c. 1355-59—viz. in his tabernacle of Or San Michele, Florence. It is difficult to obtain detailed photos of the tabernacle (the use of cameras is forbidden within the Or San Michele). However, a photograph of Orcagna’s Temperance may be found online at Google Books in Lynn White’s Medieval Religion and Technology: Collected Essays, University of California, 1978, Chapter 12, “The Iconography of Temperantia and the Virtuousness of Technology,” Figure 4 (illustrations, inserted between pp. 194 and 195).
https://books.google.com/books?id=quCh9 ... gy&f=false
The subject Orcagna work shows Lady Temperance holding a set of compasses. Like Orcagna’s other six virtues (Cardinal and Theological), it is rendered as a hexagonal relief and appears at the base of the tabernacle alongside seven octagonal reliefs pertaining to the Life of the Virgin.
According to White (pp. 189, 192), it reflects the concept of Temperance as “Misura” (“Measure”), e.g., as expressed in Brunetto Latini’s “Il Tesoretto e il Favoletto (Bk XIV).”
White then goes on to write:
“But time as well as space may be measured, and the first hint of the new icon of Temperance which was to become dominant is found almost at the same moment in Siena. In 1337-1340 Ambrogio Lorenzetti had decorated the Sala della Pace of the Palazzo Pubblico with frescos which depicted the Cardinal Virtues, including Temperance. Unfortunately, exactly the part of the painting which showed Temperance was destroyed by fire, presumably in the enthusiastic burning of tax records during the riots attending Charles IV’s visit to Siena in 1355. Lorenzetti is thought to have died in the plague of 1348; the repair of the fresco was accomplished by an unknown artist. To judge by the costumes, horse-trappings, shapes of beards, etc., in the repainted section, the new artist did not follow Lorenzetti in all details. The figure of Temperance, therefore, cannot be dated before the latter 1350’s. She is shown holding an object which has sometimes been interpreted as her traditional cup (and may have been such in Lorenzetti’s original) but which is, in fact, our earliest picture anywhere of a sandglass (Fig. 5)” (pp. 192-3).
The sandglass motif appears, of course, in the Hermit/Vecchio trump belonging to the CVI, as well as the two other, earliest handpainted decks. (See Ross Caldwell, 2009, viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=70#p5301; also, Huck, 2012, viewtopic.php?f=23&t=392&start=10#p12444 .) But more on this trump in a moment.
It goes without saying that the set of compasses motif has a number of associations. That said, the use of the misura trope in the CVI’s Moon trump is curious in that it, thereby, appears adjacent the deck’s Sun trump, presumably, depicting Clotho with her spindle. It will be recalled that Clotho’s function was “to spin,” whereas, that of her sister fate, Lachesis, was “to measure”—viz. the thread of life. Mere coincidence? Doubtful. But the question then arises where within the deck’s third sequence of trumps, if at all, should we seek for the third fate, Atropos, whose function was “to cut” the thread of life?
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?
The motif of the sandglass, which is present within the CVI’s Hermit/Vecchio trump, adds another dimension. The consensus would seem to be that this motif belongs to Father Time; its use in relation to Temperance had fallen out of fashion. But if I may pose a hypothetical, what if the CVI’s Hermit/Vecchio trump in some part—and conceivably, by extension, the Emperor trump—pertained to the virtue, Temperance? And what if the CVI’s Moon trump also pertained to this virtue?
(1) In Brueghel’s “Temperance,” the numerous individuals engaged in the so-called mechanical arts resemble the Children of Mercury. It is possible that the planetary symbol of Mercury, ruler of Gemini and Virgo, is depicted on the banner situated immediately above the actors’ stage.