Tarocchi goes west

The near-twins of Paris, Viéville and Noblet, and the five lost trumps

[ This continues "Catelin Geofroy and the C order" but since it is not primarily about order I thought I should start a new thread. ]

After Geofroy in Lyon, in 1557, the story of tarot in France shifts to Paris for 150 years; there isn't another tarot deck made in Lyon or anywhere south of Paris until 1709. This is a vast expanse of time. In Paris there were three cartiers: the Anonymous Parisian, Jacques Viéville, and Jean Noblet. Noblet's deck is dated by the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France) to 1659, a century after Geofroy. The other two are more vaguely dated, but the AP is likely first. Viéville gets a date of 1650 from the BnF, before Noblet, but not everyone agrees that Viéville's deck is before Noblet's. Noblet's deck was later copied nearly exactly by all makers of tarot cards in France, making the style that later became known as the Tarot de Marseille. Two early copiers are Jean Dodal, 1710, of Lyon, and Pierre Madenié, 1709, of Dijon. The Cary sheet played a role in this Paris story, but when and where it was made is quite a mystery,

While Noblet was copied to the south, Viéville was copied to the north, by Adam de Hautot of Rouen, and by cartiers in Liege and Brussels. They copied Viéville's images, but in Geofroy's order. Four of these decks are online at the British Museum. The first three are very similar to each other, and the fourth one may be similar also, but can't be seen online fully due to some error. The decks are:
1) F. I. Vandenborre, online here:
https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ ... 2&partId=1
Vandenborre's deck is the subject of a modern reproduction, as are AP's deck (under the name Tarot de Paris) and Viéville's deck.
2) Jean Galler, online here:
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... 5&partId=1
3) Jean Gisaine, online here:
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... 5&partId=1
4) Martin Dupont, online here:
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... 0&partId=1

The AP and Noblet follow Geofroy's order, but Viéville tried to restore the correct Italian C order. No one followed him; it is Geofroy's order that prevailed in the west. Even the Brussels copiers of Viéville use Geofroy's order.

Geofroy' images, and the AP's, are very interesting indeed, but first I want to look at Viéville and Noblet.

When we compare the trumps of the Viéville and Noblet decks, the results are striking. Remember that we don't know for sure who is first. For sixteen trumps, plus the fool, Viéville and Noblet are so close you can hardly tell them apart. But for five consecutive trumps, Devil XV through Sun XIX, they are not even remotely similar. If Viéville was first, Noblet copied him extremely closely for all except those five trumps, but for those five trumps Noblet did not copy Viéville at all; he was not even influenced by him, but came up with five striking and original images like nothing the world had ever seen. However, and this is quite interesting, for two of these novel concepts, the lobster climbing up the beach for Moon, and the naked woman pouring two jugs for Star, Noblet's image is nearly the same as the card on the Cary sheet.

Here is Bagato, one of the trumps where the copying is very close. I have switched the Viéville right to left, because when a card is copied, the copier, working from the cards or a printed sheet, carves the pattern into a block, so the copied printed card comes out switched right to left from the original. All later French decks copied Noblet this closely. The third Bagato shown here is by Jean Dodal, 1710, of Lyon. Of these three, Dodal is most similar to Viéville, down to exactly how much of his fingertips the fraudster has hidden behind the table [note the thread tied to his wrist]. The point about switching right and left applies to the carver of the printing blocks; it does not apply to the colorist (I think these are stenciled). The shirt in Dodal is just like the one in Viéville, blue on the right and red on the left, with a yellow button plaquet down the middle. We will see this same shirt again and again.
three compare VND RW595.png
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Viéville : https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10510963k
Noblet : https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105109641
Dodal : https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10537343h
[ I would link to Pierre Madenié, 1709, Dijon, if I could. The BM has a deck with no trumps, here:
https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ ... 8&partId=1
This next site concerns a repro, but possibly the images are the ones they used, rather than pictures of the cards they made:
https://tarot-de-marseille-heritage.com ... llery.html
the images can be downloaded, but not easily, and perhaps they don't intend that they should be.
Zurich has four trumps, but in this case, the images available are tiny. ]

And here is Devil, one of the five trumps where Viéville and Noblet are completely different. I presume I don't need to show that Dodal and later Tarot de Marseille are very similar to Noblet. I have included instead the Cary sheet Devil: in this case neither Viéville nor Noblet is much like the Cary sheet. Viéville's Devil resembles the one from the Orfeo minchiate, and other Italian Devils.
Devil compare CVN RW595.png
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Cary sheet: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... c1500..jpg

And here is Star, another one of the trumps where Viéville and Noblet are different, but in this case the Noblet is quite like the Cary sheet. Viéville on the other hand has an image, an astronomer, that shows up in Italian B-order and A-order decks, and in some handmade Italian decks, either for Star or for Moon. The naked woman with two jugs is a novel image, very unlike anything anywhere.
STAR compare CVN RW595.png
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And here is Moon: Again, Noblet is like Cary, with a lobster, and not at all like Viéville, who has an image, a woman spinning, that is found in Italy, in A- or B-order decks, either for Moon or Sun.
MOON compare CVN RW595.png
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But on the other hand, here is SUN. The red half of the Cary sheet sun is a reconstruction due to Andy Pollett. This time it is Viéville who is like the Cary sheet, and Noblet has an image of two people in front of a wall with some nudity, unlike anything ever seen before.
Pollett : http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=322&lng=ENG
SUN compare CVN RW595.png
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Noblet's Tower is like the Cary Tower, while Viéville has a lightning bolt, an original image.

The sum of the Italian similarities, and the Cary sheet similarities

For the five cards where they are very different, Noblet is like Cary for Moon, Star, and Tower; Viéville is like Cary for Sun; neither is like Cary for Devil.

Viéville's spinning woman for Moon is like some Italian cards (for either Sun or Moon), Viéville's astronomer for Star is like some Italian cards (for either Moon or Star). Viéville's Devil is alone, striding, and in profile, like some Italian A- or B-order decks. Viéville's naked boy rider for Sun, is a bit like the Visconti-Sforza deck's Sun (this is one of Antonio Cicognara's replacements). But Viéville's lightning flash with no building in sight, for Tower, has no precedent in Italy. We shall discuss the source for this card in a bit. In sum, four are like Italy, one, the lightning bolt, is original.

For the five cards where they differ, Noblet has a tower on fire, for Tower, and to that extent, but in no further details, he is like Italy. But other than Tower, Noblet has a Devil and a Sun and a Moon and a Star very different from anything ever seen before, except that two of them are on the Cary sheet. In sum, one slightly Italian, four quite original (leaving aside the Cary sheet)

This suggests a working theory, although it has a monkey-wrench. Call it the "Viéville copies Milan, Noblet copies Viéville" theory: Viéville, who was before Noblet as the BnF thinks, had a C-order Italian source, from which he acquired the astronomer for Star, the spinning woman for Moon, the striding Profile Devil, and the naked boy on a horse for Sun. He brought also many other Italian images, for the 16 trumps and Fool that Noblet copied from him. He followed his Italian source closely: he even tried, and failed, to bring France into line with the Italian C order, 90 years after Geofroy had started his new French C order, (as brought to Paris by the AP). Viéville printed his cards, and sheets were printed from his blocks and stored as reference. But a strip was torn off one of the sheets, and lost, causing the loss of five trumps. Noblet, a fellow Parisian, had Viéville's sheets, but had to come up with replacement images for the five lost trumps. Noblet's ideas were original. He made a Devil, Star, Moon, and Sun unlike anything ever seen before. About Tower, he knew a little bit more than just the name: he knew it was a tower on fire. But that was all he knew about Tower.

The monkey-wrench is the Cary sheet. How does it have the lobster Moon concept, and the naked woman pouring jugs concept?

The five non-copied trumps are consecutive. The explanation of this that makes most sense to me, is that Noblet worked from sheets printed from Viéville's blocks, and a strip of one of the sheets was torn off. The blocks would have been 4 cards by 5 (as are French blocks for the printing of regular decks). One block would have been the trumps block, including the fool, but since the block was twenty cards, two trumps would have been left off, and most likely the last two. They would have been carved on some other block. The Cary sheet is an example: a 4x5 block which has the fool and most likely never had trumps XX and XXI. The top row (blocks were carved from the bottom up) of Viéville's trumps block would have been, most likely, the last five trumps before the two that weren't on that block. That is, trumps XV - XIX, the exact five trumps which Noblet was not able to copy from Viéville.

So let's consider the original images that Noblet found for his five missing trumps. That will be the subject of my next posts; the next one after this will consider sources for the Noblet STAR card.

Re: Tarocchi goes west

The Noblet STAR card.

For Star, Noblet has a naked woman pouring from two jugs: what does this mean, and where did the idea come from? An image for a Star or Moon card is often conveying the idea of night, and night applies to both Star and Moon. For example, the astronomer or astronomers, good images for night, are sometimes used for Star and sometimes for Moon. We don't have Geofroy's Star or his Moon. The AP's Star is an astronomer, an image used by Viéville but not by Noblet. We should look therefore at AP's Moon, since we are looking for images of night. The Visconti-Sforza Star (Antonio Cicognara) is a clothed woman who can hold a star in her hand, and the Budapest sheet star is similar, only naked and male. The Moon cards of these two decks are similar to their Star cards. The VS Sun card (Cicognara) has a naked boy. I didn't find much else. So here are the two nudes, and the AP's Moon.
ZBP RW598.png
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Budapest : http://printsanddrawings.hu/search/?return=1 search "tarocchi"

About the AP's Moon card, Andy Pollet says here:
In the Moon, a serenade is in progress below the window of a damsel, for whom a gentleman is playing a small harp. This interpretation rejects any reference to hermetic symbolism (the lobster, the dogs, etc.), and almost foresees the genre scenes found in the modern French-suited tarot. Illustrations such as the one shown on the right, from a 15th century edition of the Roman de Paris, (one among the many French romances written in the late Middle Ages, but still popular in the 1500s), could have easily been a source of inspiration for this subject.
Well yes, except the woman being serenaded is naked, and he's staring at her naked. I don't think that happened in the Roman de Paris, or anyway it's not in the illustration.
naked serenade.jpg
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In the art of the time, if a naked woman is spied on by moonlight, she is Diana discovered bathing by Actaeon, Susannah spied on bathing by the elders, or Bathsheba bathing seen by King David; all three are popular subjects. I think the woman on AP's Moon card is bathing. Only King David and Bathsheba fit the card. She's on, or behind, a building, he's outside of it, seated in a throne-like chair. The Bible story of David and Bathsheba begins, "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful ..." So Bathsheba was bathing in the evening. What were the realities of bathing, for women, in King David's time, or in 1650 Paris? No taps to turn: water (perhaps heated) was carried to a tub in buckets or jars. Indoors might be hot, smoky, stuffy and crowded, plus you get water on the floor, and there might be men in the house who the woman didn't want to see her naked; privacy was at a premium. So a garden if you have one can be a good option, but walls can be peeked over, so it is more discrete to bathe at night. A woman bathing out of doors is an activity done at night, under the moon or the stars. So much so, that showing a woman bathing, is a good way to indicate that this is a night scene. Depicting Bathsheba in particular reinforces that it is dark, since the Bible story starts at evening with David getting out of his bed at night to wander about (he had quarreled with his wife, who didn't like him dancing naked in front of the maids, in chapter 6). It's true this King wears no crown, but David would hardly put it on when he got out of bed because of a sleepless night. I had already decided this was David, and then I noticed he's playing a harp!
Bathsheba.jpg (87.43 KiB) Viewed 1387 times

If another card artist wanted to use a woman bathing out of doors, as a night activity suitable for a Moon or Star card, he might not show David and Bathsheba in particular, but he would show a naked woman, out of doors, emptying buckets or jars into a basin. If the artist did think of Bathsheba, the bible doesn't say that Bathsheba was bathing on the roof of her house, as the story is sometimes retold (Leonard Cohen song). David was on his roof; it is more likely Bathsheba was in her garden, as in the above image from a book of hours.

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The Cary sheet artist has the water, into which the jugs are emptied, looking more like a stream than a basin. He likes to show water with wavy lines. But since there is no reason why a naked woman would be emptying jugs of water into a stream, while for a woman to bathe was a common activity, the Parisians of the 1600s likely did not see it as a stream. Noblet has made his jugs too small. He also started the notion, on which a lot of ink has been spilled, that one jug is emptied on land. The Cary sheet has both clearly go into the water.

So we have a night scene indicated by a common night activity. This is in line with the subjects of all the other Star, Moon, and Sun cards, activities that indicate day or night, as collected in this table by Andy Pollett.

http://l-pollett.tripod.com/cards62.htm -- then seek for the text, "astronomer"

I might note that the object Andy calls a spindle, is a distaff, and is of normal length for a distaff. To the decks Andy has tabulated, we might add:
celestable.PNG (34.18 KiB) Viewed 1387 times
The Cary-Yale Visconti deck has the virtues Faith, Hope, and Charity: it is only a speculation that these were in the positions of the three celestials when the game was played, and even then we don't know the order: Hope was likely Star but the other two could be in either order.

Tarocco Siciliano identifications see Dummett article in The Playing Card here:
and they are further discussed here:
viewtopic.php?t=728 (seek for Romulus)

Rothschild sheets: ENSBA http://www.ensba.fr/ow2/catzarts/voir.x ... 0101-20321
Louvre : http://arts-graphiques.louvre.fr/detail ... -de-tarots

Rosenwald sheets:
https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-obje ... 41321.html
seek Rosenwald for 2 others

Budapest : http://printsanddrawings.hu/search/?return=1 search "tarocchi"
Met : https://tinyurl.com/ycz8hzfb

As shown on Andy's table and on my additions above, the scenes on the Sun, Moon, and Star cards of all tarot decks, are either common activities typically done by daylight or typically done in darkness, or historical scenes such as Alexander and Diogenes that can indicate which light is shining. Since the number of activities that might be used is large, it is significant that both the AP's Moon card, and Cary sheet's and Noblet's Star card, use a naked bathing woman to indicate night. The AP and the Cary artist might, by coincidence, have both hit upon the idea of using a woman bathing to indicate darkness, but it is more likely copying, either one copying the other, or both copying some common source. So the source for Noblet's naked woman bathing, was most likely that he took the idea of using a naked woman bathing as a good choice for a night card, from some earlier deck, and quite likely from AP's Moon card. Then he implemented the naked woman bathing idea, in a simple way.

The role of the Cary sheet is mysterious. If Cary sheet was first as is generally supposed, Noblet has clearly copied from that deck.

My next post in this series on the sources for Noblet's images, will be called: The TOWER card in France.

Re: Tarocchi goes west

I love these iconological excursions, Sandy. I had never thought of David and Bathsheba for the Anonymous Parisian, but even with "David" below her, why not?

In the Cary Sheet's Star, since I am looking at it closely now, I am not sure it is even a woman. The chest is flat, and even if you can convince yourself there are nipples present, there are certainly no bulges of breast. The long hair alone does not necessarily define the figure as female, and the star on the left shoulder makes it a celestial figure, which can only be Aquarius. The word "aquarius" is of course masculine, and I would guess, if my memory serves, that depictions of the figure are often male. It could be that there is a source for the Cary Sheet image in a star chart somewhere, and if an identical match could be found, it might help date and locate the sheet better.

Clearly Noblet's figure is a woman, but she is flat chested, at least in outline, even if he has made crescents to indicate breasts. Your speculation that Noblet copied the Cary Sheet directly may be too bold, but he is definitely at an early stage of the transformation of the figure from some ambiguity into a full-fledged woman.

One thing to keep in mind about the Cary Sheet is that it has not been studied directly - that is, nobody, to my knowledge, has gone to Yale and done a thorough forensic study of the sheet, looking, in the first place, for a watermark, or any other direct indication of provenance. It is only known through photographs. I would love to find someone who is able to do it.

Re: Tarocchi goes west

sandyh wrote:
16 Nov 2018, 19:46
After Geofroy in Lyon, in 1557, the story of tarot in France shifts to Paris for 150 years; there isn't another tarot deck made in Lyon or anywhere south of Paris until 1709. This is a vast expanse of time. In Paris there were three cartiers: the Anonymous Parisian, Jacques Viéville, and Jean Noblet. Noblet's deck is dated by the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France) to 1659, a century after Geofroy.
The name Catelin Geofroy in context of the word Tarot is mentioned c. 1590 outside of Paris in Nancy ...

Re: Tarocchi goes west

STAR postscript

I meant to include in the discussion of the nude woman emptying two jugs, the minchiate Aquarius card, also emptying two jugs. Ross beat me to it.
MinchNoblet.PNG (722.2 KiB) Viewed 1303 times
I don't draw any conclusion from this similarity, but there are some other similarities between minchiate cards and Noblet's (or the Cary sheet's) newly invented images. All these similarities put together probably mean nothing, but they are odd enough to be worth mentioning. I will mention each one as I come to that card.

About the question whether the jug emptier on the Cary sheet is female, we also have a disagreement about the sex of another figure on the Cary sheet, the figure that is either the Pope or the Popess. I have nothing new to add, except the nearly universal presence of a beard on the male characters on just about every card I look at, in my current focus on the early west (not that the east is more clean-shaven, as far as I know.) Beards are common on men in general, not only on men we can say are old (They are even more common on older men.) So I think the Pope/Popess is either female, or (possibly) very young. Popes were not young very often (were they? -- actually I have no idea). My general impression of the Pope/Popess card, also, is female. I do not find the evidence of the placement order, although it does indeed favor Pope, to be very strong, as I think there are several cases on the Cary sheet of the cards not being in any known order. The placement of cards on a sheet, is like filling out the seating tags for a wedding. One naturally tends to fill them out in the order of the seating chart, but it makes no difference if you write the cards out of order -- the guests still sit in the same places. I will not conclude that people played tarocchi in an order that makes no sense, based on the order that cards were placed on a woodblock by a printer, and I give no weight to a conclusion that this is Pope rather than Popess, based on placement, either.

I considered the sex of the jug-emptier, and decided that the body, chest aside, was female. As a sketch of a human body, it is far more skilled than Noblet's card. She is indeed flat-chested. Breasts are often used to convey the message that the person is female. The Noblet card for example uses ink to say, "this is a female," without giving the breasts any actual volume. In any case, the resemblance between the Cary card and the Noblet card is not a coincidence (not a chance in a thousand, I would say). The Noblet card is female. Why would the Noblet card be female if the Cary sheet card is male?

The possibility that this is Aquarius, opens up more speculation. Aquarius is said to be Ganymede, the cup-bearer (and erastês) of Zeus. Zeus is not noted as a drinker of water.

[Ganymedes] was the loveliest born of the race of mortals, and therefore
the gods caught him away to themselves, to be Zeus' wine-pourer,
for the sake of his beauty, so he might be among the immortals.
— Homer, Iliad, Book XX, lines 233-235.[3]

I like the image in the wikipedia page:
220px-Aquarius2.jpg (28.59 KiB) Viewed 1303 times

If it is Ganymede, then the long hair and overall female impression of the Cary jug-emptier are explained.
baldassare-peruzzi-ganimedes-h-1510-villa-farnesina-roma Trim.jpg
baldassare-peruzzi-ganimedes-h-1510-villa-farnesina-roma Trim.jpg (183.16 KiB) Viewed 1303 times
Baldassare Peruzzi 1510 Villa Farnesina

When I propose that the harp-player and bather on the AP's moon card, are David and Bathsheba, I mean that the artist intended that identification, and intended it to be recognized by the players. If the players failed to recognize what the artist meant, the intention is still there, but failure to communicate is not very interesting. I don't think the Cary card is Ganymede, in the sense that the artist hoped that the players would recognize that meaning. There is no eagle. He is not offering a cup of wine to the gods. Although Ganymede was the grandson of the river Scamander, and gods (or anyway goddesses) can be shown as figures endlessly pouring jugs as the origin of rivers, Ganymede was a cup-bearer, and not a river source. I don't see how the artist could have hoped to have this jug-pourer recognized as Ganymede. A better case could be made that the artist meant Aquarius (without the identificatin with Zeus's erastês). I don't entirely rule that out.

If the Cary sheet artist meant Ganymede, Noblet did not.

Another STAR postscript

I also wanted to clean up my references, the ones that are to poems or other literary works; I want to use these sources not only for the order, but for how they describe or name the trumps; this is an important resource when we don't have the cards themselves. In his useful reference file for many source documents concerning order, here:
mmfilesi says of the 1521 pamphlet by "Notturno Napoletano" (perhaps really Antonio Caracciolo), titled "Gioco de triomphi ingenioso ..."
that he can't find it. Perhaps everyone already knows of the two articles by Pratesi,
The first of them has the text, or at least the relevant parts of it. Not however, translated into English.

I must be the least qualified person to make head or tail of Italian that is not only XVI century, but Napoletano. I did not learn much. There is no mention of the Bagato, but "Il matto" is treated as if it were a trump, rather than the excuse card. So I think the poem does not mention the excuse card at this place because there is no particular reason to place the excuse card at the start of the trumps. The "matto" mentioned in the poem is the Bagato. I am reminded of the decks where the bagato looks like a jester.
BagatoFool.PNG (611.92 KiB) Viewed 1303 times
The Bagato and the Fool from Mitelli's tarocchino.

It is quite an error to call the Bagato "Il matto," but this poem does have errors, either because the game was not well known or the poet didn't care -- he wasn't writing an According to Hoyle. He has one of his characters say, I have a very fine tarot deck here just imported from Spain.

The poem says "Il matto che Imperatori Papi e Cardinali vince e domina sol con un sciocco atto." Which just might mean something like: The fool [i.e. the Bagato] overcomes Popes, Cardinals, and Emperors with his fooling. (Someone who knows better will no doubt correct me). The presence of the Cardinal is interesting, and so is the absence of the Popess and Empress. I also find the concept that the carnival Bagato overcomes these high officials to be interesting. It pre-figures the Bologna game where are there are five popes, the Bagato being the "little pope," and of equal rank with the other four. Since they are of equal rank, the last played trumps the others, so the Bagato in that circumstance trumps the Pope. But there may also be a wry remark that the Bagato tricks even high officials with his sleight of hand.

Then I think there are some skeptical remarks about the absence of the virtues Temperance and Justice among the great, but Strength is what counts. Then I think it says that the glory of having a triumphal chariot always gets spoiled. The wheel of fortune tames not just the world but the planets, moon, and sun. The old man is hardly among the living. And then it stops.

Probably my understanding of the poem's Italian is mostly wrong, but it is enough to make me very much want to know what the poem really says! These are ideas, which I know the men of the time said about Fortune, but I have not yet encountered these current attitudes about Fortuna, in a poem about the tarot's Wheel of Fortune card. The same with Chariot. Ideas about fame being fleeting were very standard, but does anyone mention those ideas, when talking about the Chariot card? These are just the things I hope a close study of the various early tarot poems may answer.

Re: Tarocchi goes west

The star on the belly of the Noblet also suggest an astronomical identification (as with the star on the shoulder of the Cary sheet). The question of the figure being male or female does not negate such an association as the figure of Aquarius was sometimes figured as female too, though less commonly than as a male figure. Aquarius was most commonly figured with one urn, but quite often with two urns too:

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius -- Nude woman stands in stream and pours water from jugs held in each hand:
Book of Hours France, Paris, ca. 1480 MS M.253 fol. 1v:
Book of Hours France, probably Cambrai, 1490-1500 MS M.1053 fol. 1v
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius -- Woman stands and pours water from jars held in each hand.
Re: Ganymede - The eagle relating to his abduction by Jupiter - Ganymedes own emblematic bird was the rooster, as in the later Piedmontese (but probably related to concept of morning bird, morning star, rather than Ganymede")
The rooster as an emblem of the Morning Star would associate the female figure with Venus [the Morning Star]?

Venus in the posture of Aquarius could be seen as a type of magical image of the first decan of Aquarius (ruled by Venus).
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Tarocchi goes west

sandyh wrote:
20 Nov 2018, 03:37

I must be the least qualified person to make head or tail of Italian that is not only XVI century, but Napoletano. I did not learn much. There is no mention of the Bagato, but "Il matto" is treated as if it were a trump, rather than the excuse card. So I think the poem does not mention the excuse card at this place because there is no particular reason to place the excuse card at the start of the trumps. The "matto" mentioned in the poem is the Bagato. I am reminded of the decks where the bagato looks like a jester.


The Bagato and the Fool from Mitelli's tarocchino.

It is quite an error to call the Bagato "Il matto," but this poem does have errors, either because the game was not well known or the poet didn't care -- he wasn't writing an According to Hoyle.
I don't think there is an error - Il Matto is the Fool, and he wins over the great because even they, if without virtue, are subject to folly - the Fool, in his folly, is a mirror of all others (Glie mia, chl matto è de tutti altri spechio). I think the Bagatto is referenced in the poem - as the Bagatelle which one of the players plays (Mi dispiace ben chio la sparecchio / Il bagatella è questo, dare til voglio). There is no conflation of the trickster and the fool. It appears to me to be like a debating game, in which each player justifies why the trump he plays triumphs over the others, and his reasoning is either refuted or accepted, and the Ship of Fools type trope was a common and popular one of the time - it does not reflect a fixed order of the trumps, but whose reasoning wins the argument. As such it does not represent some fixed, standard order. Nor does it reflect a rule in which some cards are co-equal and the last played wins, the Pope wins over the Emperor not because he was played after the Emperor with whom he is co-equal, but because the Pope is God's representative on earth, and Divine things are greater than Mortal things
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Tarocchi goes west

In books of hours, the Aquarius seems to be male far more often than female, and naked far more often than clothed. It is the Zodiac constellation of January, and books of hours often have one image of an activity for the month, and another of the star sign for the month, so a page might have one picture of peasants gathered around the fire, and another of some nude guy in January standing in a stream pouring water into it.

Any constellation might be picked as a fitting image for Star, but I can't think of a reason for picking this constellation, rather than some other. By, a reason, I mean a reason that the artist might have had, which he could expect the players to understand.

Stars drawn on the figures seem rare.

I do not think the nudist on the Cary sheet is Ganymede. However, I'm beginning to think it was cutting down a straw man, to refute the notion of Ganymede, for as far as I can tell the association of Ganymede with Aquarius is an invention of modern astrologers. Without Ganymede, there doesn't seem to be any myth about Aquarius, as there is a mythic meaning associated with many constellations,

Here is a selection of Aquarius figures; all I found with a few minutes looking.

Here is one of the few clothed ones. It shows stars.
Aquarius rox.jpg
Aquarius rox.jpg (193.7 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

While the Aquaius is clothed, the same book of hours has a nude Gemini.
gemini.jpg (138.84 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

aq duble.jpg
aq duble.jpg (145.29 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

in water.jpg
in water.jpg (403.92 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

Sex not entirely clear, but I think male:
legover.jpg (68.57 KiB) Viewed 1176 times
mini aq.jpg
mini aq.jpg (65.41 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

one jug aq.jpg
one jug aq.jpg (126.44 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

from pint.jpg
from pint.jpg (55.79 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

dutch RH580.jpg
dutch RH580.jpg (292.39 KiB) Viewed 1176 times
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB: ... et_randv_2

worn.jpg (56.63 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

One clothed one:
clothed beach.jpg
clothed beach.jpg (57.84 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

no reference.jpg
no reference.jpg (66.76 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

One nude female. I like the Janus.
Janus.jpg (49.37 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

I omit two, already included in earlier posts

A Gemini, where Castor and Pollux are of opposite sex:
Gemini Varie RW590.jpg
Gemini Varie RW590.jpg (332.56 KiB) Viewed 1176 times

Re: Tarocchi goes west

About the Fool and the Bagato in the Notturno Napoletano poem, if the Fool was played according the rules as I understand them, the dialog would have to go something like this:

C: This trick of coins, here I win it with a Queen.
T: That is the Queen of swords, you fool.
C: Yes, and here I play Il Matto, a fool can't tell one suit from another.

That is what an excuse card is, it allows the player to take a trick without following suit as would normally be required. Bad as my Italian is, I don't think anything along those lines is being said. Since trumps don't have suits, the Fool does not have much to do with them in play. If you tell me the line does not mean Il Matto defeats Popes, Emperors, and Cardinals, I submit to your superior knowledge of the language. Perhaps it means he is defeated by them, not he defeats them (which would be true of the Bagato, but not of the Fool). The Fool should have nothing to do with trump cards such as Pope, Emperor, and [sic] Cardinal; they should not normally even appear in the same trick.

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