Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: ↑
25 Jul 2019, 07:20
Phaeded, you're missing the bigger context of these discussions - none of these Italian historians knew about the Tractatus de deificatione sexdecim heroum, or that Marziano wrote anything at all
This is the context Donati is working in, where he feels free to speculate that the unknown frescoes in the library of Pavia might have resembled the humanist subjects of the Mantegna Tarocchi, and that therefore the ultimate inventor of the E/S Series scheme might have been Marziano da Tortona.
You have to keep that in mind when reading these guys - they know nothing at all of the real Marziano deck or the book describing it. They are writing with the understanding that the cards Decembrio described Marziano as inventing resembled the early Tarot, or Pseudo-Mantegna.
Thanks for clarifying the (non-)reception of Marziano's text among many Italian scholars and of course few of them ever reference tarot (one reason I never mention tarot myself when pestering the likes of Newbigin, Ianziti, etc. - I don't want to be dismissed as a kook; unfortunately tarot studies simply has not been integrated into mainstream Quattrocento studies, much to the detriment of the latter). However it appears Millard Meiss is at least aware of the Marcello letter (which states the deck was painted by Michelino) at the latest in 1957 and certainly Margaret King's 1994 work, cited below, is well-known, so I'm not sure what explains complete ignorance of the deck - which clearly had "sixteen celestial princes and barons" and could not be the "Tarocchi" if by Michelino - other than disdain for tarot:
“Perhaps it is through contacts in Milan that Marcello eventually extracts from the Visconti possessions a set of illuminated playing cards to send to Isabella, wife of Rene (Meiss 1957, 2-3)” [Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator: An Episode in Renaissance Art, Humanism and Diplomacy]. (M. King, Death of the Child Valerio Marcello, 1994: 263)
However, the "bigger context", as I understand Mike's original post, is not merely to nail down Marziano's whereabouts (and surely Michelino is just as important) but in establishing the plausibility of Florence-Milan inter-city influences, specifically tied to Marziano. Neither of us posit the ur-tarot before c. 1438 so Ur-tarot->Marziano- is a moot one, and the reverse influence Marziano->Ur-Tarot is fraught with problems since we know the subjects of the trumps simply do not match, with the only potential influence being the "matrix" of 16 (again, my own speculation limits the potential influence to am emphasis on "courting", with 3 males and 3 females in each suit's court cards, which - when including the pips of each suit - would match the number of 16 "trumps" of Marziano; I would further argue the human subjects of the court cards are the playthings of the gods - to be combated with virtue - just as in the Ovidian myth of Daphne).
But like the ignorance of Italian scholars, there is simply no evidence that anyone in Florence had any idea the Marziano deck existed; certainly no one in the Sforza-Marcello camp recognized it, with Marcello commenting it came into his hands and that it was invented not by Marziano but by Visconti himself who conceived the "exquisite sort of triumphs." Apparently Marziano had already become obscure enough not to be mentioned by name ("afterward [Filippo] gave the plan of this entire game to someone
most learned among men"). Sforza had plenty of Florentine contacts and his own deck in the form of the CY, but all that came out of that learned milieu (as far as tarot is concerned) was to label the Marziano a sort
of triumphs. So I posit again: Marziano's primary influence on tarot would have been on the PMB, a deck that would have come slightly after the rediscovery of the Marziano. Marziano's categorization as "sixteen celestial princes and barons" (not something we think of with the CY), would lend itself to the invention of cards categorized as "celestial."
The only truly new and potentially impactful evidence in this thread is evidence of the lost fresco cycle in the Castle at Pavia's library - at least that is my narrow interest here. The problem is we have a 16th century description of the rooms in that castle (Stefano Breventano, Istoria delle antichita, et delle cose notabili della citta di Pavia
, Pavia, Bartoli, 1570), but aside from presuming Bembo's numerous commissions there are these very frescoes (Rodolfo Maiocchi, Codice diplomatico artistico di Pavia dall’anno 1330 all’anno 1550, Pavia
, Bianchi, 1937, I), we know nothing about the commissioning of those frescoes. Michelino can be tied to a lunette design in the castle courtyard (which, to me, looks very close to Bembo's "bagatto" - perhaps Michelino's copybooks influenced Bembo), but a study of Breventano's descriptions (not Donati's summary) would be needed to see if we can glean anything else that would tie those frescoes to a certain time period.