Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: ↑
18 Jan 2019, 16:32
I really think that Marziano is here inventing
the very idea of a separate and permanent set of trumps. We are seeing the process by which he thought it up, starting with four moral characteristics, based on a moralization of the four suits. Then he abstracted the 4x4 gods from this, and gave them their own linear hierarchy.
For what this looked like, visually, we have Marcello's testimony as well - 16 celestial princes and barons, and four suits with their kings. So it was structured like a Tarot deck, which is what he compared it to. A trump sequence, and four suits.
But what prompted the inventing onto the medium of cards, when otherwise the rage was manuscripts, often illuminated?
Marziano fundamentally differs from tarot in having bird suits instead of the suits inherited from the Mamluks…just as the early German luxury decks also featured animals, especially birds. Dummett even seems to allow the Germans as the origin for the addition of a fourth court card to the original Mamluk three (some German and Italian decks would have at least shared this feature):
The proposal that the Mamluk pack had only three court cards per suit also has implications for the history of European playing cards. There is virtually no evidence of early packs using the French or Spanish suit-signs having more than three court cards per suit. Among fifteenth century German packs, however, there are as many four court cards (King, Queen, Ober and Unter) as having only three. (Dummett, Michael, and Kamal Abu-Deeb. “Some Remarks on Mamluk Playing Cards.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 36, 1973, pp. 106–128; 115).
The penultimate question then is: was Filippo aware of German luxury decks and was that the impetus for his own desire to create a new deck? Per my original thoughts near the beginning of this subject:
… given the Duchy of Milan as an imperial fief (and necessarily with more correspondence with the emperor than say Florence or Bologna), is there a possible connection to German luxury playing cards as an influence, especially in light of the Council of Constance, 1414 to 1418? The c. 1430 Stuttgart deck is close in time to Marziano (and surely had precedents), its animal suits (ducks, falcons, stags and hounds) features two birds which partially matches Marziano's all-bird suits, and the pronounced hunting theme seems to be relocated by Marziano to the sphere of the Gods' sport with humanity - "love" (rape) - with the virginal Daphne the apogee of virtue (undoubtedly the influence of Ovid in the hands of Petrarch here). [and per your notes on Boccaccio, this mythological material would have been filtered through him]
The sharing of birds for suits stands out, and the Courtly Hunt deck made in Basel (Witz workshop, c. 1440-45) has all four suits that are essentially birds (Falcons, Herons, Hawks with the fourth being Lures, which were decoys made with duck wings) as well as sharing the four court cards. Also of some interest is the Master of the Playing Cards deck (1435-40, also Upper Rhine) having five suits – not an extra tarot deck, but might suggest the idea for a unique fifth suit.
Filippo Visconti’s interactions with the Germans in the Upper Rhine was significant precisely in the years leading up to the c. 1418 Marziano creation; see for instance the strong Italian presence at the Council of Constance in this piece: Morrissey, Thomas E. “Emperor-Elect Sigismund, Cardinal Zabarella, and the Council of Constance,” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 69, no. 3, 1983, pp. 353–370. Although Visconti would not crown Sigismund Emperor until 1433 he was making an alliance with him throughout this Council period beginning in Constance, machinating to have the council moved to his dominion. Within five years of Constance lapsing Visconti does this, getting the Council moved to Pavia in April 1423, but plague strikes the next summer and it is transferred to Siena and then Basel, a center of card production (which at this later date could of course have only influenced the design of the CY). For all of this see Joseph Gill, The Council of Florence, 1959: 41.
What is fundamentally different between all of the surviving German luxury decks and Marziano/tarot in Italy, is the Germans seemed unmoved by humanism, strictly reflecting medieval courtly concerns. For instance, the 1430 Stuttgart deck has gendered the suits court cards (like the CY) – males are with falcons and ducks, while females are with hounds and stags, but no mythological associations are present. The females with stags has the latter nonsensically fawning on them like domestic pets. But how would an Italian already steeped in the early humanism of Petrarch and Boccaccio (and the continuing translations of Latin works by Bruni, etc.) have viewed these female court cards but nothing less than a bad intimation of the Actaeon myth, with these courtly women as kin to the goddess Diana (who is in the Marziano deck), with Actaeon’s dogs under their control and of course Actaeon transformed into a stag devoured by his own dogs.
A theme already current on a desco da parto
by c.1400 in Italy; obverse: Diana and Actaeon (reverse: Justice): https://art.famsf.org/sites/default/fil ... 020005.jpg
I think Mike’s ruminations on German VIII Imperatori
decks organized into monarchies might have also lent itself to the transfer to the original Olympian court of “celestial princes and barons” – the mythological gods now gripping humanist Italy. And surely the Marziano project cannot be viewed outside of Michelino Da Besozzo’s other work for Filippo, the genealogy of his family descending from Aeneas and Venus (and of course the most prominent Visconti stemma worn by Filippo was one of the bird suits, a dove). Also note the Courtly Household deck, also from the Upper Rhine, c. 1450, has four monarchies (Germany, Bohemia, Hungary and France and their royal stemma), and each shows the entire hierarchy of society in its suit (e.g., Germany has King, Master of the Household, Marshal, Chaplain, Steward, Lady-in-Waiting, Footman, Barber, Knight, messenger, Fool). By assigning the gods to suits, Marziano has similarly in some sense provided them with servants.
So to sum up the theory: Being presented with German luxury decks via his envoys to Sigismund or the Council of Constance (or both), Filippo wishes to have Italy’s fashion for early classicism applied to a version of these decks. The bird suits are adopted/adapted, perhaps the notion of a fifth suit utilized, but the tradition of the assignment of court cards is too strong and so a middle-ground is found by Marziano where a ranking internal to the "Celestial" court cards is imposed on the standard assignments of the court cards to suits.
Or perhaps the idea came out of thin air to Marziano or Visconti, but I propose the parallel details of bird suits, shared four court cards, and instances of a 5th suit and "monarchies" in Upper Rhine luxury decks all suggested themselves to adaptation, which in Italy would naturally be based on a classical literary model.
Finally, some German and Visconti court cards that show the possible use of the same artist workshop copybooks circulating in both regions (from http://www.wopc.co.uk/italy/visconti