Re: News and Updates

SteveM wrote:Another point in favour of the earlier dating is that records of Ferrara have numerous examples for production of painted trionfi decks for period 1442 to 1460, but none after 1460 (when purchases of printed decks were the norm, occassionally with use of painters to paint heraldic devices on them, but not completely hand-painted decks). The ease with which printed decks could be obtained at a far cheaper price for what are after all emphemeral items meant there was no need for high cost hand-painted playing cards. Also, there is no indication that any of the numerous painted decks produced for the d'Estes prior to 1460 was made to commemorate anything, such as weddings, but were simply produced for the card playing members of court. The period for Leonello d'Este and Maria d'Aragon falls in the range when hand painted cards were being produced for the court, according to available records; that of Ercole and his Aragon wife is a period far later than any hand painted decks are known to have been produced for the court.
Borso's court stopped with Trionfi notes in 1463 (for the Ortalli text, I remember, that we found a later note some years after this time from 1463), not in 1460. Other notes from later times exist (Milan, Naples, early 1470s).
We have generally not so much notes of 1466-1500 as we have from 1440-1465, and especially we have not much prices. So the chances to compare the times are very limited.

But here ...
Ferrara (or Modena ?) 4th November 1469: "A Federico di Bonacossi per pagamento de uno paro de carte da triomphi ... Lira Marchesana 11.04"
(11 Lira Marchesana 4 Soldi paid to Federico di Bonacossi for delivering a pack of Trionfi cards).

That's more than the average price paid by Borso. So we may conclude from this, that in 1473 the price for luxury decks (probably) wasn't (much) less than 10 years before.

Re: News and Updates

Yes I was going by Ortali, so with the update then we go from 1460 to 1463 (for d'Este luxury hand-painted cards)? Or is the 1469 Bonacossi records for (ERcole?) d'Este?

edited, Ah I see, here, page 312: ... &q&f=false

and here:



(Sorry, the links weren't working for me before, but found a way through a proxy server.)
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: News and Updates

SteveM wrote:Yes I was going by Ortali, so with the update then we go from 1460 to 1463 (for d'Este luxury hand-painted cards)? Or is the 1469 Bonacossi records for Borso d'Este?
The 1469 document is precisely this page (likely somehow connected to Modena). Ross found it in 2009. ... &q&f=false

There are notes to persons, which belong to the Este family, on it, two notes refer to playing cards, as described at ...
... one to an expensive Ronfa playing (gambling ?), another to the production of a Trionfi playing card deck.

It is not the same source as the notes of Ferrara till 1463. It's an extract of costs in the year 1469, but it's not clear, what it is. It seems to belong to Borso (he is mentioned at the page before).
Likely Borso's money spend in Modena or the duchy of Modena. Likely Modena and Reggio and Ferrara had different Borso-books.


Where did you find the second note ... at which page?

Re: News and Updates

Apologies if already posted - but if anyone will be in Florence next year, the following piece will be exhibited then with other dal Ponte works (from a spring Christies' auction):


This sumptuously decorated cassone panel is a rare and important work by Giovanni dal Ponte. The Seven Virtues was a popular subject for cassoni, which were often commissioned on the occasion of a marriage celebration in Renaissance Florence. Charity occupies the center, presumably with Marcus Amelius Scaurus at her feet. From left to right, the various Virtues are presented alongside their most notable historical or mythological exemplar: Fortitude with Hercules; Justice with Trajan; Faith probably with Marcus Atilius Regulus; Hope with Alexander the Great; Prudence with Solon; and Temperance with Scipio Africanus. Above each Virtue and Master, hovering putti animated with individualized gestures emerge from the sky.

Giovanni dal Ponte began his training under Spinello Aretino and went on to run a studio near Santo Stefano a Ponte in Florence, which led to his playful sobriquet. The artist’s tax report and inventories from 1420 reveal that he was frequently working on cassone panels of this sort, but few of his marriage chests survive today. Remarkably, both the present work and its companion, The Seven Arts (fig. 1; Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid) survive. In the Prado panel, each of the Liberal Arts is shown with both its personification and a representative allegorical figure: Euclid with Geometry; Pythagoras with Arithmetic; Tubal-Cain with Music; Ptolemy with Astronomy; Cicero with Rhetoric; Aristotle with Dialectic; and Priscian or Donatus with Grammar. Although a small panel showing Dante and Petrarch in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge was formerly thought to be a side panel originally associated with our Seven Virtues, that theory has recently been rejected. Both the present and Prado panels are datable to c. 1434-1435, placing them among the artist’s most mature works.....

Please note the present work has been requested as a loan for the upcoming exhibition Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-1437): Protagonist of Late Gothic Humanism, which will be held at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence from 22 November 2016-12 March 2017 and is being organized by Angelo Tartuferi.

Re: News and Updates

So where does the passage that SteveM showed come from? Is it reliable?

The URL doesn't give me much to go on.

And does the 1473 here refer to a trionfi pack, or just paintings? Also the 1469, same question. I am lost. I suspect other readers would be, too.

Thanks for letting us know about the dal Ponte exhibition, Phaeded. Maybe there will be a publication with more information.

Re: News and Updates

SteveM wrote: The medal was minted in 1441 by Filppo Maria in appreciation of Francesco’s assistance in his campaigns (another one was made for Niccolo Piccinino).
On another medal Pisano created an emblem for Piccinino of the Griffin of Perugia suckling two infants to represent the condottiere Braccio da Montone and Niccolo Piccinino – the design was suggested by the Roman wolf and twins.


This design was also later used for one of the backs for some playing cards. (Robert Place describes it as "This is an uncut sheet of wood block prints that were meant to be backs for playing cards. They are Italian from the 1500s.") The top banner says AUGUSTA and though I can't quite make it out but I think the banner around the Griffin's neck might be PERV... for PERVSIA (Perusia or Perugia). The she-Griffin is the emblem of the City of Perugia, it's on monuments all over the city. "The city chose this creature as its protector during the Renaissance because of its association with strength, courage and intelligence. The wings give it speed; the claws give it ferocious power. It’s a combination of the king of beasts and the king of birds." The word Augusta also appears on some of the base stones of the city walls as part of the phrase Augusta sacr(um) Perusia restituta.
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
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Re: News and Updates

Ludophone at aeclectic wrote:
Here is a quote from Sabine Florence Fabijanec's article ‘Ludus zardorum: Moral and Legal Frameworks of Gambling along the Adriatic in the Middle Ages’ which is collected in At the Edge of the Law: Socially Unacceptable and Illegal Behaviour in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.
Gambling was strictly forbidden only in Split [except during the Christmas season and Carnival], as was any kind of game of chance, but playing cards, that is “the usual card games” was allowed. In contrast, in Rijeka and its whole district, all games were forbidden in general: dice, cards and corrigaloe. But, the city acknowledged the need to play for entertainment, so three types of games were legal: ronfa and trionfa, while basseta (played for profit) was only allowed under the condition that a bet did not exceed 4 shillings and that no player was allowed to exceed the upper daily limit of bets, which was set at 6 pounds in total; the fine was 5 pounds. In Dvigrad it was apparently also forbidden to play cards and gamble; the innkeepers and their staff were authorized to keep order in their places and in the port on Lim bay; thus, they could fine individuals who played these games. In Dubrovnik, gambling and playing cards per se were not forbidden, but if games of chance included the possibility of giving something in pawn, then the people were fined who lent money to the players. In Skradin, gambling at night was punishable, but there was no special regulation of gambling during the day. In Kotor, according to the regulation of 1421, it was forbidden to play “in a cave” and in secret places and games in which someone lost while others gained, however, playing games with dice was allowed – alea, as well as “honest public games.” ... -adriatic/
I found the text (or only a part of it?) at ... ... iddle_Ages

Re: News and Updates

Ludophone found out ...
Fabijanec identifies trionfa with the game played with a standard deck where the trump is decided randomly. The allowance of ronfa, trionfa, and basseta comes from the Statute of Rijeka compiled in 1527. Rijeka was inherited by the Habsburgs in 1466 and the statute was confirmed by Emperor Ferdinand I in 1530. Venetians plundered and burned the city in 1509.

Here's an overview of various statutes in medieval Croatia: ... nt_Sources
I added to this:
In the biography of Christopher Frangipani (the man, that I suspect to have had the deck with the Croatian flag in c1512) the year 1527 is the year, when he died. And before his death he had open fight with Habsburg. Likely it is a causal context, why Ferdinand made new statutes for Rijeka just in year 1527 (the problems with Frangipani are solved).
After the defeat of Hungary against Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Mohács (1526), the Hungarian throne again was empty with the death of Louis II. Immediately the Habsburgs reclaimed it for themselves, as a Hungarian Count, John Zápolya, also claimed his rights as husband of a Jagiellon princess.

Most of the Croatian nobility gathered in Cetin and elected Ferdinand I as king on 1 January 1527. Christoph Frankopan was the sole member of the higher Croatian nobility who did not attend.[1] The rival part of Croatian nobility, mostly from Slavonia, gathered on 6 January 1527 in Dubrava and intended to elect count John Zápolya as the king of Croatia. Eventually, both of them were crowned as Kings of Hungary, and Zápolya stayed in the royal city of Buda, as the Habsburg went back to his Austrian domains without giving up claim to the Hungarian throne.[2] Zápolya conferred to Christopher the charge of ban of Croatia and military commander of the Hungarian Kingdom, counting him as one of his closest allies. In the civil war in Croatia, between army of Zápolya and Ferdinand he fought in Slavonia against Count Francis Batthyány, who supported the Habsburg's claims. He was mortally wounded at the siege of the castle of Varaždin and soon died.
German wiki to Rijeka:
Mit der Thronbesteigung der Habsburger in Ungarn wurde Rijeka 1526 Teil der Länder der Stephanskrone.
German wiki has 1526 as the start of the reign of Habsburg in Rijeka. Christopher Frangipani died 1527, September 22.

Re: News and Updates

A new book to the Sola-Busca Tarocchi, noted at aeclectic ...
The publisher ... Scarlet Imprint ... of-saturn/

Forthcoming: The Game of Saturn by Peter Mark Adams
September 16, 2016

¶ We are delighted to announce our next title, The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarot by Peter Mark Adams. Pre-order opens December 14, 2016. Extensively illustrated in full colour, the book will be available in standard hardback and fine editions. Very pleased to welcome Peter Mark Adams to Scarlet Imprint. His author page can be seen here:

The Game of Saturn is the first full length, scholarly study of the enigmatic Renaissance masterwork known as the Sola-Busca tarot. An ethno-historical study, it reveals the existence of a pagan liturgical and ritual tradition active amongst members of the Renaissance elite and encoded within the deck. Beneath its beautifully decorated surface, its imagery ranges from the obscure to the grotesque; we encounter scenes of homoeroticism, wounding, immolation and decapitation redolent of hidden meanings, violent transformations and obscure rites.
For the first time in over five hundred years, the clues embedded within the cards reveal a dark Gnostic grimoire replete with pagan theurgical and astral magical rites. Careful analysis demonstrates that the presiding deity of this ‘cult object’ is none other than the Gnostic demiurge in its most archaic and violent form: the Afro-Levantine serpent-dragon, Ba’al Hammon, also known as Cronus and Saturn, though more notoriously as the biblical Moloch.
Conveyed from Constantinople to Italy in the dying years of the Byzantine Empire, the pagan Platonist, George Gemistos Plethon, sought to ensure the survival of the living essence of Neoplatonic theurgy by transplanting it to the elite families of the Italian Renaissance. Within that violent and sorcerous milieu, Plethon’s vision of a theurgically enlightened elite mutated into its dark shadow – a cosmology of predation which sought to utilise the draconian current to preserve elite wealth, power and control. This development marks the birth of an ‘illumined elite’ over three centuries before Adam Weishaupt’s ‘Illuminati.’ The deck captures the essence of this magical tradition and constitutes a Western terma whose talismanic properties may serve to establish an initiatory link with the current.
This work fully explores the historical context for the deck’s creation against the background of tense Ferrarese-Venetian diplomatic intrigue and espionage. The recovery of the deck’s encoded narratives constitutes a significant contribution to Renaissance scholarship, art history, tarot studies and the history of Western esotericism.

Subscribers will receive notification when available to order.

Another page of the author ...
notes at the end ...

Work on the hidden symbolism of the Sola-Busca Tarot continues. My comments rest upon the research of many fine scholars over the years. It is therefore fitting that the contribution of Sofia di Vincenzo, Giordano Berti, Laura Paola Gnaccolini, Mark J. Zucker and Andrea De Marchi be acknowledged here. Also the many expert contributors to the Tarot History Forum: index.php
... .-) ... he likely talks also about us

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