Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#1
Mike Howard and I have been arguing over the meaning of the so-called “World” trump for some time, myself arguing that the CY shows the fama (the allegorical woman with winged trumpet above the nimbus cloud and crown) of a prudent ruler – the knight bearing the Visconti standard below in the landscape. Mike has insisted all we have is fama’s winged trumpet and no sign of prudence, ergo just fama.

I’ve been promising a long-winded post about the “World” as the Prudence of a Prince, or rather the prudently ordered dominion shown in the tondo of the various hand-painted “world cards, but I’m not getting around to that anytime soon (its an in depth look at Trecento variant depictions of Prudence and how it developed from there into the Quattrocento). In the interim, I thought I would at least state the fact that in the PMB there is a different card that unquestionably depicts fama, the Chariot; therefore the “World” cannot also be fama, it being pointless to have the exact same allegory twice.

The Chariot is clearly tied to the World in all of the hand-painted luxury decks of the Quattrocento, as after the CY/PMB, the Chariot is a male ruler and clearly the “World” is his dominion. The Chariot’s meaning within the CY/PMB is itself not stable, as clearly the virginal bride on the CY Chariot holding Chastity’s jousting shield, emblazoned with the radiant dove impresa, becomes the established Duchess Bianca in the PMB, holding the orb of rulership and pulled by “two winged horses.” In the CY World's allegorical female holding fame's trumpet appears to be an iteration of the CY Chariot Visconti impresa held out for the groom by the bride on the chariot, her virtue paired with the groom's fortitude, etc., producing fama, that will in turn attend on the groom for marrying into the Visconti and being assigned the Visconti possession of Cremona. In the PMB, the Wolrd instead reflects the fact that the bride has now become a mother and had two children at the time Milan was taken, and thus two putti holding up an idealized image of restored Milan. Accordingly, fama is only asssociated with the "World" in the CY and is clearly moved to the Chariot in the PMB due to the specific change of circumstances involving Bianca.

So on what basis do I make the leap to seeing the Chariot as fama in the PMB? The winged horse Pegasus was associated as a symbol -

...comes from the allegorization in Fulgentius, Mythologiae 1.21 of Pegasus as the Fame that attends Virtue: ‘Pegasus, said to have been born from the blood of Medusa, is established as a figure of fame (in figura famae); for when virtue has cut off fear, it generates fame; hence Pegasus is also said to fly, since fame is winged.’ (Phillip Hardie, Rumour and Renown: Representations of Fama in Western Literature, 2012: 622).

One needs to keep in mind the close connection of Pegasus, born from the blood of Medusa, then strikes Mount Helicon (or alternately Parnassos) to create the Castalian spring from which the nine Muses sprung. Usually it is the Muses (especially Clio, muse of history) that spread a hero/prince’s fame (consider Filelfo’s Odes for instance, each encomiastic section named for a Muse; the Ambrosian Republic is instead painted as a gorgon, slaughtered by Sforza from which Pegasus could rise, per Ode 3.4, describing Sforza’s ingresso; but also see Ode III.1.10). Guastella further explicates the development of Pegasus-fama in the hands of Boccaccio, turning Virgil’s negative conception of fama as mere rumor to a positive, from whom it then spread:

Beyond the allegorical screen of the Pegasus figure Boccaccio evidently sees a positive conception of fama, mainly understood as honourable renown. While still closely linked to the worldly, temporal dimension, this kind of fama comes from virtuous, wise, and meditated deeds performed by illustrious heroes (those typically celebrated by the poets); as such, it is strongly opposed to the ‘infamy’ generated by reckless initiatives. Although words and writing still constitute the main vehicle for this renown over time, the virtue that Boccaccio speaks of once again recalls the conception of worldly glory….

Boccaccio’s interpretation, in conclusion, is part of a long and complex vein of tradition that, starting from the very passages by Fulgentius and the Vatican Mythographers that we have examined, and later on integrated with images of ancient numismatic heritage, would eventually introduce the image of Pegasus as a figure of good (or clear) Fama that men can conquer though illustrious feats. (Gianni Guastella, Word of Mouth. Fama and its Personifications in Art and Literature from Ancient Rome to the Middle Ages. 2017: 350).
But, you protest, the PMB has an illogical two Pegasuses. To that let me introduce the “smoking gun”: Caterina Sforza-Riario, countess of Forli, issued a medal after her husband was killed (so c. 1488-90) that has a reverse of Winged Victory in girdled tunic driving to the right, a cart drawn by two prancing winged horses. She holds in her right hand a palm-branch. On the side of the cart there is a shield with the Sforza biscione. Lest there be any confusion of the meaning here, the reverse states:
VICTORIAM FAMA SEQVETVR / 'Fame will follow victory'

Apparently due to the famous fresco of Vaingloria by Giotto in the palace of Azzone Visconti, in Milan, the forerunner to the iconographic tradition illustrating Petrarch's Triumph of Fame, the Sforza were predisposed to depicting two horses, as shown on the 1379 frontispiece to Petrarch's De Viris Illustribus (BnF MS Latin 6069F), complete with the primary Visconti stemma of the biscione.

Elsewhere the singular Pegasus would take root, as in the Allegorie Triomphe de la Renomme shown below (c. 1520, Francais 22541, fol. 101v), and became a popular motif into the 18th century (e.g., as a monumental statute at Versailles).

In c. 1451, however, the Fulgentius/Boccaccio symbolism of Pegasus was quite rare and would have likely depended on a learned humanist (hello Filelfo). Sforza's lack of imperial investiture placed him in being almost completely reliant on his wife Bianca having been Filippo’s only offspring in his claim to the Duchy of Milan, so Bianca was naturally given a pronounced role in the PMB, where she has gone from bride on the chariot to co-ruler with Francesco, their union indeed producing fama (and equally critical, heirs, as shown on the PMB ‘World’).

Image

Phaeded

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#2
Readers who should come across this thread without knowing concurrent discussion in other threads should know that this thread is introduced in relationship to a rather lengthy and complex discussion on the "Chariot" thread in "Bianca's Garden", initiated by Nathaniel., p. 4 at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=390&start=40. I hope readers will see it in that context.

Despite the "Worlds" of the title, Phaeded's post is mainly about the Chariot card, and in particular that of the PMB. What Phaeded says is basically what he has said several times before, but with some new elements. Here I will address only the PMB Chariot, as I agree with what he says about the CY Chariot. I also agree that there is nothing particular Fame-ish about the PMB World card (as opposed to the CY's).

Phaeded wrote,
But, you protest, the PMB has an illogical two Pegasuses. To that let me introduce the “smoking gun”: Caterina Sforza-Riario, countess of Forli, issued a medal after her husband was killed (so c. 1488-90) that has a reverse of Winged Victory in girdled tunic driving to the right, a cart drawn by two prancing winged horses. She holds in her right hand a palm-branch. On the side of the cart there is a shield with the Sforza biscione. Lest there be any confusion of the meaning here, the reverse states: VICTORIAM FAMA SEQVETVR / 'Fame will follow Victory.
The relevance of the medal to the PMB card is, among other things, that Caterina Sforza grew up in Bianca Maria's household and would have known the interpretations of the PMB. So let us look at the medal and its motto. There are three elements: "Fame", "will follow", and "Victory". How does the medal express the motto? Well, on the face of it, we have the lady "following" the horses. So I would guess, without more information, that the winged lady is Fama, and the horses represent Victory. That is similar to other allegorical depictions of animal-drawn chariots, in the Petrarch illustrations and elsewhere, that they represent triumph, i.e. victory. The only difference is that these horses are winged, like the lady. Well, Fame travels fast, so naturally either her horses or their grooms will be equipped with wings, even if the lady alone is sufficient. But that does not yet make the horses "fama". "Fama" is the lady behind them. I do not know why she has a palm branch. In the Petrarch illustrations, that is an attribute of Pudicitia. So I wonder if this medal is not an adaptation of a previous image of Pudicitia.

On the PMB card, the lady has no wings; it is not she who is Fama, Phaeded says, but the horses. She is Duchess Bianca Maria. Yet if winged horses do not imply that they are fama in the medal, surely they do not imply that in a card without a winged lady. But of course Phaeded is not arguing from the medal alone.

In favor of the horses being "fama", Phaeded has several arguments, one of which I find has some merit, which I will get to later.. One that needs more work, I think, is the reference to Fulgentius, who has Pegasus as allegorically the Fama that results from overcoming terror. I will give the passage, in an old translation, probably inaccurate in some places, https://www.theoi.com/Text/FulgentiusMy ... s1.html#21. First he recounts the myth in general terms, then his allegorization, which he attributes to the Greeks:
But let me explain what the Greeks, inclined as they are to embroider, would signify by this finely spun fabrication. They intended three Gorgons, that is, the three kinds of terror: the first terror is indeed that which weakens the mind; the second, that which fills the mind with terror; the third, that which not only enforces its purpose upon the mind but also its gloom upon the face. From this notion the three Gorgons took their names: first, Sthenno, for stenno is the Greek for weakening, whence we call astenian sickness; second, Euryale, that is, broad extent, whence Homer said: “Troy with its broad streets”; then Medusa, for meidusam, because one cannot look upon her. Thus Perseus with the help of Minerva, that is, manliness aided by wisdom, destroyed these terrors. He flew away with face averted because manliness never considers terror. He is also said to carry a mirror, because all terror is reflected not only in the heart but also in the outward appearance. From her blood Pegasus is said to have been born, shaped in the form of renown; whereby Pegasus is said to have wings, because fame is winged. Therefore also Tiberianus says: “Pegasus neighing thus across the upper air.”

But indeed there is only one Pegasus even here, as Phaeded grants is the case elsewhere in modern references to the myth. Two is very rare (can he cite even one clear case?). Why should Fulgentius have been dragged in, since he, too, only has one, as opposed to "Winged Victory" and other winged gods and demigods? To be winged is mainly to be aloft, like a bird, or else to pass quickly, like Time (and yes, Fama: well, I am not denying that Fama needs winged horses; but do other people on chariots?).

In favor of the particular relevance of Fama there is Phaeded's parenthetical citation of Filelfo's Odes, of which Phaeded says:
Usually it is the Muses (especially Clio, muse of history) that spread a hero/prince’s fame (consider Filelfo’s Odes for instance, each encomiastic section named for a Muse; the Ambrosian Republic is instead painted as a gorgon, slaughtered by Sforza from which Pegasus could rise, per Ode 3.4, describing Sforza’s ingresso; but also see Ode III.1.10).
I would appreciate a quotation from the Odes here, since in Google Books hasn't scanned them All I have is Diane Robin at https://books.google.com/books?id=iC4AB ... sa&f=false. She doesn't tell me enogh. There has to be some indication that these Odes reference Fulgentius. One does not need Fulgentius to portray the Ambrosian Republic as a gorgon slain by Sforza, with Pegasus as the city's rebirth. If, however, it is portrayed as an object of terror, so that Sforza had to overcome and look away from that terror of the Republic in order to defeat it and bring about the Pegasus of Milan's honorable fama at last, then yes, Fulgentius is a probable source. But we need the passage or passages with these allusions to Fulgentius. I do not see Robin suggesting such a thing, nor in her notes to the Odes (which are in Google Books) does she reference Fulgentius. It still takes quite a bit of imagination to imagine the two horses as Pegasus and thus the worthy Fame of the new Milan springing from the destruction of the old under Bianca Maria's rule. There is nothing to suggest such a context other than the question-begging winged horses. Nothing on the card, or the cards before or after it in the sequence, etc..

Another argument Phaeded gives - a better one, I think -- is to refer to a manuscript "triumph of fame" in which everything but the horses and the chariot are winged. The manuscript is in the BnF; if so, it might formerly have been in the Visconti Library, as well as another that is similar, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Petr ... detail.jpg, It is said that it was inspired by a Giotto fresco since destroyed. But we don't know how much like the fresco the illumination is, as there is also a manuscript illumination said to reflect it with no wings in sight (rarch's_triumphs#/media/File:Petrarch-triumph-vainglory-padua-1400.jpg). We also don't know when the fresco was destroyed. No matter; I expect there were others, with wings aplenty.

So perhaps wings were associated more with Fame than with Victory, and that even though customarily the wings were on the lady, the grooms, and the trumpets, they could be on the horses instead, as the means by which to spread the news. That is possible. There tend to be lots of wings on depictions of fame. If so, winged horses are not just victory, but famous victory, regardless of whether the lady has wings. I hadn't taken that step before.

But what news is this wing-powered chariot spreading? What is she famous for? Bringing the city back to life, in the early 1450s? If so, that's news to me. Her beauty, grace, devotion to family and heritage, such all-round pudicitia I can believe. That's what we see on the card. No Medusa-shield. She rules in feminine-appropriate ways.

It seems to me that there is another source for understanding the PMB card, although many will resist it, namely, the CY card that is so similar, and still preserved after many travails. Neither card shows the lady with wings. Both have a lady holding a stick. The Cary-Yale's stick is a little fuzzy on top, so possibly suggesting a trimmed palm branch. In any case, if she is Pudicitia in triumph over Libido in the CY, why not, in the PMB, Pudicitia ruling in triumph aloft, while also embodied in Bianca Maria?

Then, for the wings on the horses, I would refer, as well as the meaning of wings in general, to the unwinged but otherwise similar horses in the CY. Besides the wings there are two other differences: the groom with his red ball and the posture of the two horses , one ruly and the other unruly. Here it is the man with the ball as opposed to the woman:: rulership is with him, as Phaeded has observed. A topical literary reference, which I have trotted out often enough, is that those of the CY are the two horses of Plato's male charioteer in the Phaedrus, ruly and unruly, both without wings. In that allegory the ruly horse listens to the charioteer, in this case the groom, while the unruly horse is compelled by the other two to follow their direction. It is the harnessing of the groom's libido by the passion for virtue (the ruly horse) and reason (the groom), who has known the vision of true beauty, At least that seems natural enough to me. Leonardo Bruni's translation of the Phaedrus had been published in 1428 and caused something of a stir. Philippo Visconti, in turn, was a keen follower of Plato. The Republic had been translated around 1408 by Umberto Decembrio, subsequently hired by Filippo, and who promoted Visconti Milan as akin to Plato's construction (see Hankins, Plato in the Italian Renaissance vol. 1, New York, Brill, 1990, p. 67)

Then the PMB card is simply more of the same. Except that now the passage being referenced is Phaedrus 254, describing the suddenly remembered vision while still in the heavens of "Beauty, accompanied by Chastity" (Hamilton translation: other translations have "temperance" or "self-control", which are much the same thing), on a chariot propelled by two winged light horses. Since there is only one lady, beauty now includes chastity.

As another contextual consideration there is one more hand-painted card of that era with a lady on top, the Issy. In that case I would point to the horses again, one dark and the other light, with the dark one looking toward the light one. It is the Platonic soul again, this time fully trained, so that the dark horse has learned to curb its unruliness by following the lead of the light horse. The sword and ball are then attributes of rulership.

It is the same in the only 15th century example we have of the popular tarot of that C region, the Cary Sheet. We do not have the colors, but we do have one horse looking toward the other while the other looks at its surroundings. In this case, based on the very similar Marseille version later, the charioteer is presumably male; if so he would represent reason in the Platonic interpretation, and no longer Pudicitia.

However these references are of a scholarly nature and so rather abstruse. It might well be that the "triumph of Fame" tradition with wings is enough to associate the card with Fame. Winged horses are a multivalent symbol, depending on various contextual considerations, and even then sometimes polysemous.

But I do not think it inappropriate that Pudicitia should have attributes associated with Fame, at least in decks that are later in time whose designers may have not noticed the connection to Petrarch. If so, however, it is the fame of a parade rather than a monument or arch, fame in the earthly lifetime of an individual rather than something after death, such as a city or fame in heaven as befits its place in the sequence. There can be two Famas in the deck if desired, each saying something different. Each can be honorable. It is a matter of where, when, and for what it is recognized.

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#3
Mike,
The bottom line is the only fama attributes in the entire corpus of hand-painted tarot trumps is the winged trumpet in the CY World and the Pegasuses in the PMB World….and it is clear that that after the CY/PMB the Chariot is permanently changed to a straight forward representation of a male ruler (“Platonic reason”? Philosophic-cartomanic speculations are out of place here; save them for Etteilla). There is never again an attribute of fama associated with the “World” trump – where is it even in the PMB? I can link stars, which hover over the idealized city of Milan held up by the two putti in the PMB “World”, with an attribute of Prudence:


Image
Prudence w celestial digram e armillary sphere.JPG
(121.82 KiB) Not downloaded yet
mikeh said:
It seems to me that there is another source for understanding the PMB card, although many will resist it, namely, the CY card that is so similar, and still preserved after many travails. Neither card shows the lady with wings. Both have a lady holding a stick. The Cary-Yale's stick is a little fuzzy on top, so possibly suggesting a trimmed palm branch. In any case, if she is Pudicitia in triumph over Libido in the CY, why not, in the PMB, Pudicitia ruling in triumph aloft, while also embodied in Bianca Maria?
The CY “stick” is clearly the same scepter held by all the other court figures in the deck; no need to “fuzz” the symbolism here (go back to the hi-res Beinecke image if you need to). Caterina Sforza-Riario holds a palm on her medal in honor of her “martyred” husband, notably the commander of papal forces under his uncle, Pope Sixtus IV. The widow’s propaganda worked, the city rallied to her and Riario's assassins, the Orsi brothers, fled Forli. The martyr’s palm there has nothing to do with the married woman’s chastity, who in fact ruled as regent for her son Ottaviano. To see how far the idea of chastity is from all of this, consider this from her convenient Wiki entry:

The Orsis believed Caterina because she left her children as hostages, but once inside she let loose a barrage of vulgar threats and promises of vengeance against her former captors. According to one rumour, when they threatened to kill her children, Caterina, standing in the walls of the fortress exposed her genitals and said: "Fatelo, se volete: impiccateli pure davanti a me ... qui ho quanto basta per farne altri!" ('Do it, if you want to: hang them even in front of me ... here I have what's needed to make others!').[23] This story, however, is most likely an untrue embellishment. The historical record tells that Caterina, in fact, claimed to be pregnant. Although her statement that she was pregnant is, by most historians, considered to have been a ruse, it rendered worthless any power the conspirators had in holding her children, Girolamo's legitimate heirs.[24]

Caterina famously emerged from the assassination of her husband as the victorious ruler of Forli. The medal means nothing else and clearly drew on the PMB precedent of Bianca/Francesco famously emerging as the victors in retaining (in terms of their propaganda) Milan (the Chariot shows her as the last Visconti heir returning to Milan). As De Keyser explains in his introduction to his translation of Filelfo’s Sphortias, that married to the late duke’s daughter Sforza “will rule a city with a glorious past, that will now share in his fame” (Jeroen De Keyser, Francesco Filelfo and Francesco Sforza: Critical Edition of Filelfo’s Sphortias, 2015: xliii).

Yet you continue to grasp at straws….

Mikeh said:
But what news is this wing-powered chariot spreading? What is she famous for? Bringing the city back to life, in the early 1450s? If so, that's news to me.

Bianca was famous for her defense of Cremona, celebrated in that role in the aforementioned Filelfo’s Sphortias epic, Book V. She donned armor and rallied the troops, while her husband was elsewhere, to defend Cremona against the Venetians who had a river fleet sail up the Po River and were besieging Cremona – why the PMB Queen of Swords uniquely wears gauntlets over her hands/forearms, unsheathed sword in hand. Elsewhere in the preface to his Odes (line 121) Filelfo calls her a “woman warrior” in commemoration of this deed.

Furthermore, in Book I of the Sphortias, in order for Sforza to become ruler of Milan, Jupiter sends Mercury to the underworld to stir up Pluto who summons Discord and a fury to drive Venice against him; Sforza is informed about this by fama but is still mourning his father-in-law (ha) and so Pallas appears to Sforza in the shape of Bianca to rouse him to action: Descendit Olympo Pallas ab astrifero, Mariae sub imagine Blancae. ( Pallas descended from starry Olympus, as the image of the Bianca Maria) (1.157-58).

Its not hard to see the older material of the CY World's allegorical figure in this combined fama-Pallas action (particularly in light of the Pizan Othea illuminations with the same nimbus clouds) at work here, where Pallas is gifting prudence as Wisdom herself. Also resonant with the PMB World trump is the use of astrifero as in the starry firmament over the idealized city of Milan, held up from below by the children of Bianca who no doubt have a propitious astral fate.

As for more of Ode 3.4, dedicated to “Ambrogio” (clearly A. Trivulzio who represented the faction that delayed Sforza’s ingresso into Milan with concession demands and is here being fully beckoned over to Sforza), here you go:
Ambrogio….we call on all the most glorious of the poets to come to the sacred waters of the spring, which the Medusa-born steed [Pegasus] dug up from beneath the lofty mountaintop [home of the Muses]. Now Mt. Cytheron resounds with the soaring music of trhe sisters, which father Paean [Apollo] artfully conducts. Obeying him, lovely Clio [muse of History] sings for Sforza lyrics well deserved, presenting subperb encomia for the leader and fther of his victorious people. And lovely Euterpre, wearing flowers in her hair, rejoices too in his lofty triumphs, and she herself sings wondrous meolodies.
For becsue of his accomplishmnents, she prefers Sforz to all the heroes whom virtue alone has given us to revere – all those of our own time and antiquity as well If ever some ingenious pleasure beguiles you, then hurry to join the dancing bands our duke leds through the joyous city with peaceful brow, as the people follow hium, proclaiming in sweet song whatever the fire in their breasts commands, rekindled and relived of gelid toil – now that Fortune smiles.

Fama is never named per se, but the Fulgentius metaphor of Pegasus-as-fame and his creation of the font of the Muses is instead. The theme of fama, however, couldn’t be more pronounced, elevating Sforza above all the historical heroes shown in standard Petrarchan triumphs of fame. Pegasus is himself not named but alluded to his via his own origins, "Medusa-born"; this was already made clear in the first ode of Book 3 where Fileflo mentioned the “mountaintop that winged Pegasus is said to have made famous with a sacred spring when he emerged from the blood of the dark Gorgon" (III.1.10-12, p. 153). The linking of gorgons with the slain Ambrosian Republic was also already made in the earlier Book II in the Ode dedicated to Sforza, where the City of Milan herself thankfully narrates to him the fall of the Ambrosian Republic:

What ruin and disaster pretended liberty has visited upon our citizens! No one has been interested in the safety of the state or in its glory. And so deceit, madness, and pillaging flow through the city, while impious Megaera, her head swarming with hissing snakes, pours poison over all the people equally. Just as only Phoebus shines over the earth, and just as God along governs the world, so one leader lone manages and guides my reins. (Ode II.3.69-80, p. 109).

If you want to be pedantic you might argue Megaera is not Medusa, just both gorgons; but in the fluidity of Filelfo’s poetry (alternate classical personal and place names were used ad nauseam by humanists) the equivalence in this context is clear; as Robins clarifies in the passage you linked but did not transcribe, in regard to both Odes:
[C]entral to the second half of the poem (3.4) is a gory icon: Pegasus’s birth from the blood of the severed head of the Medusa. Only through the mutilation and murder of this figure of primordial terror, surely here a double for snake-haired Megaera, Filelfo’s favorite emblem for the republic, can the Muses emerge. With the tap of Pegasus’s hoof the waters of Mt. Helicon are set free from their dungeon, and Muses and poetic inspiration come to life. It is from the demonic, then, that art is born. Thus, Filelfo’s painting of the triumph ends with the duke leading the Milanese people in rounds of joyous songs and dancing. (Diana Robins, Filelfo in Milan: Writings 1451-1477, 1991, 103).
So we have Pegasus associated with Sforza’s re-entry into Milan – a claim to which went through his wife, Bianca, elevated on the Chariot as a ruler in the PMB, no longer just a chaste bride as she was in the CY. This propaganda angle was acutely needed and self-apparent; its just the poetic dressings of an erudite humanist that has confused matters some 500 plus years later.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#4
Phaeded wrote,
he CY “stick” is clearly the same scepter held by all the other court figures in the deck; no need to “fuzz” the symbolism here (go back to the hi-res Beinecke image if you need to). Caterina Sforza-Riario holds a palm on her medal in honor of her “martyred” husband, notably the commander of papal forces under his uncle, Pope Sixtus IV. The widow’s propaganda worked, the city rallied to her and Riario's assassins, the Orsi brothers, fled Forli. The martyr’s palm there has nothing to do with the married woman’s chastity, who in fact ruled as regent for her son Ottaviano. To see how far the idea of chastity is from all of this, consider this from her convenient Wiki entry:
I looked up "Palm Branch" on Wikipedia, something I neglected to do before: it is primarily a symbol of victory and immortality. If the palm branch is associated with martyrs, it is because of their victory through immortality. Fama is spreading news of victory and triumph. That is probably why Pudicitia carried one in the Petrarch illustrations: a sign of her victory over Cupidinis, and maybe of victory over Death by the end of the series. I did look at the high-resolution image: it is still fuzzy. But it doesn't matter. Scepters are symbols of ruling, and so of victory, too. It's just that they aren't especially associated with martyrs, which is fine in this case because Cupidinis is no martyr. But palm branches weren't only for martyrs. They weren't strewn in Jesus's path in honor of his coming martyrdom: they acknowledged his entry as a triumphal one. But the lady on top is not being compared to Jesus, I don't think.

Thanks for quoting more from Filelfo's Odes. But I don't see how it helps. I can accept the horses as stand-ins for the Muses, who spread the Fama of Sforza. If so, the rider is Sforza, or, since she is feminine, Sforza's Fama, even if I think that is a long shot (I prefer it to be Bianca Maria's Fama, if anybody's). I don't see where Filelfo talks about Pegasus as Fama, or any allusion to Bianca Maria in that context. The reference in the Sphortias is in a different context: it is to rouse him from grief over the death of Filippo, as you say, and go after Milan. That is not Perseus.

I regret that you only sneer at my reference to Platonic philosophy, instead of giving an argument for its irrelevance in this case. Platonic philosophy is a long way from cartomancy and Etteilla. It mattered at that time and place, by which I mean not just Milan, but northern Italy generally, but especially Milan and Florence. It was better known among the nobles and other powerful people who would have viewed these hand-painted cards, at least outside of plague-years Cremona, than Filelfo's non-Platonic thoughts and rough drafts.

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#5
mikeh wrote:
08 Mar 2020, 03:48
Thanks for quoting more from Filelfo's Odes. But I don't see how it helps. I can accept the horses as stand-ins for the Muses, who spread the Fama of Sforza.

Good lawd, the winged horses are not stand-ins for the Muses - that does not exist anywhere in the period's iconography; and I'll accept Filelfo's translator's (Diana Robin) explication over your attempts at obfuscation. Fulgentius associated Pegasus explicitly with Fama and that was picked up by Boccaccio so got renewed circulation in the Renaissance; the Muses are likewise associated with fame - being brought into existence through the action of fame-bearing Pegasus and nourished, as it were, by the stream he created with his hoof; but to reiterate, they are never represented as Pegasus. I show you the exact same image from 1520, mythologically "corrected" to show just one Pegasus, but you instead fly off into some realm of unintelligibility, refusing to recognize they are the exact same theme - fame bearing a royal. That two horses were used in a Visconti card production was due to the famous Giotto fresco in a Visconti palazzo associating two horses with Gloria, later linked to fama. The Caterina medal is explicit about the two Pegasuses representing the fame of her victory (nothing else on the medal represents fama besides the winged horses - so why else does the medal say fama?). You're looking at the obvious but can't see it through your scrim of Petrarch's trionfi (which developed its own particular way of depicting fama, and not always a uniform one). You can lead a (winged) horse to water....
mikeh wrote:
08 Mar 2020, 03:48
I regret that you only sneer at my reference to Platonic philosophy, instead of giving an argument for its irrelevance in this case. Platonic philosophy is a long way from cartomancy and Etteilla. It mattered at that time and place, by which I mean not just Milan, but northern Italy generally, but especially Milan and Florence. It was better known among the nobles and other powerful people who would have viewed these hand-painted cards, at least outside of plague-years Cremona, than Filelfo's non-Platonic thoughts and rough drafts.
Another straw man's argument - where did I deny philosophy existed (as if I'm unaware of Manuel Chrysoloras, Filelfo's own late work De morali disciplina, etc.) ? The cards represent the power brokers (Chariot, "papi", court cards, etc.), their virtuous ideals and eschatological hopes, the world and their dominion within it...but what they do not show is a single Platonic idea (certainly not the damn CY or PMB Chariot with a bride then mother/wife on it). Even the Love card is not "Platonic" - the CY matrimonial bed clearly begs for a child; consummation, not philosophic sublimation.

The cards are instead akin to the similarly mobile and propagandizing works of medal reverses, advertising an exemplary attribute (virtue) of the obverse's subject shown in a profile bust, often allegorically but not in any philosophic sense. Take the medals of educators (about as close as we'll get to philosophers here); Guarino da Verona 's 1446 medal (nicely falling into our CY-PMB time period) , famous for giving instructions to Leonello d’Este on how to paint the muses, does not espouse any specific philosophy on his medal but merely his being a font of wisdom, the reverse showing Hercules (an exemplary model for the d'Este family), elevated upon a fountain (or rather in Guarino's view, elevated because of his font of wisdom).

Image

Or consider Mantua's own learned humanist, Vittorino da Feltre, whose reverse depicted the centuries-old icon of Charity showing a pelican plucking itself into bleeding to feed its hatch-lings - no longer associated with sacrifice of Christ but "humanized" as the simple sacrifice of the charitable sharing of da Feltre's time and learning with his students:

Image

The trump cards perform in a similar yet more expansive way (14/22 versus just 1 image) - associating the virtues, world players, etc. with a given ruler. Advertising a ruler as prudent and that he exhibits all of the other virtues is not equivalent to teaching philosophy. The cards are propaganda. And the period's humanists were all too willing to engage in that endeavor.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#6
I will address only your additions to what you said previously. I am not advocating that the horses are stand-ins for the Muses. It is just that without Fulgentius that is as far as the Perseus myth could take us. I still do not see Fulgentius being referred to by Filelfo, and you still have not quoted any lines that indicate that he does, despite my request. I do accept on other grounds that the horses on the PMB card can represent Fama, and also on the medal. On the medal, it is mainly because the lady on the medal is Fama, due to the wings, and because wings on horses probably substitute for wings on grooms and trumpets. Otherwise the motto suggests that they would just be Victory, since they precede the lady, Fama. Why you say "nothing else on the medal represents fama besides the winged horses" I cannot guess. Surely the lady is Fama. I do not reject medals as relevant to the discussion, including the medal you found. And I know you think some philosophy is relevant, for example Filelfo's. It is just your rejection of the application of Platonic philosophy that I did not understand. The CY and PMB Love cards are not especially Platonic, since there was a chivalric tradition with a positive view of love. For the Love card, the closest in Plato is the Symposium, where it is a step toward love of the divine, the first rung on the ladder of love.

Re: Visconti-Sforza “Worlds” as Fama

#7
mikeh wrote:
09 Mar 2020, 22:38
It is just that without Fulgentius that is as far as the Perseus myth could take us. I still do not see Fulgentius being referred to by Filelfo, and you still have not quoted any lines that indicate that he does, despite my request.

Perseus is all but irrelevant, as is the need for a work of poetry to cite the origins for an iconographic reference (which was mediated by other authors besides Fulgentius). Filelfo also doesn't mention his source for the Muses; do you really think poetry operates that way (and we're not talking T.S. Elliot's footnotes for The Wasteland, but quattrocento panegyric poetry)? Filelfo was not writing a genealogy of topoi/gods - Boccaccio did, and I provided you the Guastala and Hardie references on fama that explain all of this in full, but you have apparently neglected to explore (plenty is scanned via Google books for both). Filelfo and others often relied on the likes of Boccaccio, regarding whom in this instance:
Let us return to the Geneaologie. Boccaccio also speaks of fama in other parts of this work, both in order to refer to a later personification of it that appears in Statius’s Thebaid, and, especially, to indicate that it is was the symbolic meaning of the two different mythological figures: Echo and Pegasus, the winged horse. The more elaborate – and for us, the more interesting – passage is the one dedicated to the latter (10.27), interpreted as an allegorical figure of the fama of great deeds. For this interpretation, which revisits the fabula that Fulgentius dedicated to Perseus (Myth 1.21), Boccaccio mainly followed the layout of the chapter dedicated to Pegasus by Alberic, that is to say, in the mythographic work better known today as the Third Vatican Mythographer. In thus, we read (14.3 Bode):

‘They say that from her [i.e. the Gorgon’s blood] was born Pegasus, who symbolizes fama, and whose name according to Remigius means fama. In fact, when virtue has managed to prevail over everything and end terror, it then produces fama. This is why it is also said that he flies, since fama is capable of flight.’

The equivalences on which such an allegorical interpretation of the figure of Pegasus is founded are recalled, integrated and analytically justified by Boccaccio. Ancient poetic fiction would have moulded the figure of the winged horse in such a way as to create a symbolic image of fama, gifted with supernatural speed. The winged horse would have been called the son of Neptune and the Gorgon because fama originates from what happened in the sea and on earth; his conception would have come about in the temple of Pallas, meaning that fama is born of feats inspired by wisdom and not by chance, much less by recklessness, which instead generates infamia (Guastala, 2017, 338-339; Google scan does not have pagination so look for Chapter 9.2.2. Pegasus, in figura famae constitutes).

Although the association of Pegasus with fama was originally made in the context of the Perseus myth, in the hands of Alberic/ Third Vatican Mythographer, Remigius and Boccaccio, Pegasus became a stand-alone image of fama - anyone’s fama - not just Perseus (not to deny that some did continue to reference Fulgentius as in Pizan's Othea which does depict Perseus upon Pegasus rescuing Andromeda as a symbol of fama). What does not get separated from Pegasus is his own birth from the blood of Medusa – why Filelfo mentions both together; as Robins explained, the Medusa/gorgons get associated with the Ambrosian Republic – a civil terror, to Filelfo’s mind, and it was Sforza defeat of that failed state and the return of him and Bianca that resulted in what Pegasus accomplishes, per Albericus (again): “managed to prevail over everything and end terror, it then produces fama.” The PMB Chariot is Bianca carried forth by the winged steeds of fame, returning to rule her Milan, the terror of the Republic put down by her husband.

That is the other side of your Petrarchan short-sidedness – only seeing fama as an allegorical woman and never being allowed to link to a historical woman (or man, as all post-PMB Chariots feature men):

Mike H wrote:
I do accept on other grounds that the horses on the PMB card can represent Fama, and also on the medal. On the medal, it is mainly because the lady on the medal is Fama, due to the wings, and because wings on horses probably substitute for wings on grooms and trumpets. Otherwise the motto suggests that they would just be Victory, since they precede the lady, Fama. Why you say "nothing else on the medal represents fama besides the winged horses" I cannot guess. Surely the lady is Fama.

Actually the British Museum describes the woman as "Winged Victory, in girdled tunic, driving to the right a cart drawn by two prancing winged horses. She is holding a palm branch in her right hand. On the side of the cart is a shield with the Sforza biscione."
https://research.britishmuseum.org/rese ... 7&partId=1
That the BM failed to identify the symbolism of the "prancing horses" does not mean that they lacked symbolic meaning, of course. The text of the reverse is explicit though: the fame of a victorious someone - Caterina Sforza-Riario, celebrating her victory over her enemies in order to maintain possession of Forli, just as her grandmother Bianca was able to maintain possession of Milan after ousting the Ambrosian Republic – clearly the model for this medal. If the winged woman is Victory then fama is obviously the Pegasuses. This is not a generic Petrarchan fama, which is the lens through which you are viewing Filelfo, this medal, the trumps, etc. Consider that Petrarchan trionfi don’t even begin to become popular until the same time as the CY (c. 1440) so that influence is negligible and the Petrarchan trionfi are not consistent at all events (e.g., Lorenzo de Medici’s birth tray isn’t even pulled by horses).

In Guastala’s summary of Boccaccio above, “[Pegasus’] conception would have come about in the temple of Pallas, meaning that fama is born of feats inspired by wisdom.” That is precisely the context in which Filelfo conceives of for Bianca, to reiterate what I wrote earlier:

… Sforza is informed about this by fama but is still mourning his father-in-law (ha) and so Pallas appears to Sforza in the shape of Bianca to rouse him to action: Descendit Olympo Pallas ab astrifero, Mariae sub imagine Blancae. ("Pallas descended from starry Olympus, as the image of the Bianca Maria") (Sphortia 1.157-58).

Filelfo arrived in Milan in 1439 with plenty of contacts back in Florence which presumably would have him understand the ur-tarot all too well; the CY is created some two years later, so to surmise Filelfo’s influence on that deck is not reach. In the context of Filelfo’s poetry, its possible then that that the allegorical fama figure in the CY "World" equally could be a mask for Bianca’s fame as Visconti’s only and chaste (chastity often a virtue allowing fame in itself) offspring - an idea recycled into the PMB Chariot and later into the Sphortias (the colocation of fama and Pallas in the same stanza is surely not a coincidence given the cultural background of fama).

Phaeded

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests

cron