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I saw a tv-documentation yesterday (so it was called on the tv-sender "Arte") about Tarot. ... EILLE__LES_
The Mysteries of the Tarot of Marseille is a documentary about the most enigmatic game of cards of all time. The Tarot of Marseille is known today as the fortune teller’s favourite game of cards. Owing to the strange figures that adorn them, for centuries these cards have exerted a strong power of fascination. What do they mean? Who created them and for what purpose?
In the caves of the Hungarian castle of Esztergom, a fresco attributed to Botticelli gives us the starting point to a fantastic investigation through the art and philosophy of the Renaissance, leading to a savant in the circle of Lorenzo de’ Medici. This man, Marsilio Ficino, was a philosopher, a priest, an astrologer as well as a magician. As argued in the film, he was also the mastermind behind the philosophical enigmas that are the images on the Tarot of Marseille. This set of images, as we shall see, rather than an ordinary game of cards, reveals itself as a pedagogical tool designed to transmit, while playing, the deepest secrets of Platonic philosophy.
Well, in the case, you don't know it: In imitating my friend Bodo's usual satiric comments, the newest cow driven through Trionfi-village is, that Ficino and Botticelli cooperated to produce the prototype of Tarot de Marseille.
If you dare to ask for evidence, then I would say, that it's thin like the liverwurst in a very poor family, and possibly better seen, when you've forgotten your spectacles today. Objects are declared to be similar ... but you have to look three times to see anything.

Image ... ergom.html
A fresco in Esztergom (Hungary)

... is similar to ...


Very important seems to be in this kind of argumentation, that the neck of Temperantia was similar to a neck painted by Botticelli, but no words about the much clearer wings of Temperance in the Marseille deck (which are not in Hungary).

This Botticelli Devil ...

... is similar to ...


... cause the two diagonal lines cross at the genital (and this happened also at the Botticelli picture).

Other minor details are mentioned, mostly things, which might be explained by various reasons, not just a Botticelli/Ficino cooperation in matters of Tarot des Marseilles. For serious research of some notes the movie runs too quick.
The text of Phaedrus is used to prove something about the chariot and Ficino. Ficino shall have modified the "Allegory of the Cave" to something about hell, which shall have influenced the Marseilles devil. The Ficino (?) shall have created a sort of 3x7 scheme, which could be filled with Tarot cards (?), though not in the common order. (As far I understood this part).

Somehow Depaulis was involved in this production, it's not clear, in which function.

Some links which I found: ... html#links ... html#links ... gomban.jpg ... ol%C3%B3ja

A Christophe Poncet is given as a producer. ... xH_djlknEQ
academic text decorated with Tarot cards (2008)

Well, it has nice pictures. And likely it's difficult to make an amusing movie for the mass with too much documentary evidence.
Possibly it's one of our personal friends of the French Tarot scene.

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Huck's personal post No. 3000 ....

:D :) :( :-o :x :ymhug: :p X( :ymsmug: B-) ....
............... :-s #:-s :ymdevil: O:-) :-B i-) L-) :ymsick: :o) :ymparty: =p~ #-o

... celebrating with 22 smileys and ...


.... a Botticelli-Temperantia ...

.... and a big riddle. Ficino ...


... shall have build a 3x7 scheme with symbols (or words), which stood for Tarot cards. So says the movie. It forgets to tell, where Ficino wrote this.

Has anybody an answer? The definitions were 3 for vertical and 7 for horizontal as given at the picture.

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I discussed an earlier article of Poncet's at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1004&p=14956&hilit=Poncet#p14956. All I think he shows is that the style of the Marseille II is not necessarily later than that of the Marseille I, because it is indeed similar to Baldini's. There is some similarity between Baldini's "prophets and sibyls" and certain Marseille cards. That does not show anything except that the Marseille II is probably later than Baldini (1470s Florence), an uncontroversial point.

I have no comment on the 3x7 question you post, Huck. But on the "choice of Hercules", Poncet's quotations from Ficino's Philebus commentary and his commentary on Plotinus are at least interesting. I wasn't aware of them.

Other things, to the extent I know about them, are problematic. He says, writing in 2008, there that there is "no real evidence" that the painting was for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco. The evidence is an inventory of 1499. The painting was described as being in an anteroom to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco's bed chamber, above the back-rest of a sofa, "which would explain not only the length of the painting but also the sharply rising perspective of the meadow on which the eight figures in the picture appear " (Barbara Deimling, Botticelli, 2000, p. 39). A bed chamber suggests that fertility of an earthy nature is not excluded (but sex by force, like Zephyr's, is). Venus's apparent pregnancy would not seem to exclude the earthly either. That that there were two kinds of love, earthly and divine, as Plato has one of the speakers in the Symposium say, and that the "ladder of love" goes from one to the other, did not take Ficino to make the point, although he certainly did make it. How long one may tarry at the bottom rung is another issue; given that Ficino believed in sympathetic magic, the painting might have been intended as a fertility charm. Whether Mercury's distaste (he does not even look toward Venus) is laudatory or partly a joke is another issue. Yes, the painting refers to both types of love; and yes, it could have been made for a similar place in Lorenzo's home. But there is no reason for the latter supposition. Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco was capable of reading Lorenzo's poems. And I wonder if Lorenzo's wife would have wanted a painting with Lorenzo's other ("Platonic") loves on it.

That the painting, or Lorenzo in his poem, is suggesting that a friend's tragically dead young wife was a prostitute, or even, for Lorenzo "common", "seductive", and "deceitful", seems to me a bit hard to swallow.

That the visual gaze was the main conduit of love was a commonplace long before Ficino.

On the website there is a picture of the fresco's chariot. As I've argued elsewhere, the Phaedrean Charioteer was common knowledge among humanists long before Ficino (among some by 1424, and many more after 1427). The fresco's version is not particularly Phaedrean, based on what little I can see of it (nor are Florentine Chariot cards of that era). To be Phaedrean, one horse (and one only, out of two) has to be unruly, or darker, or looking at the other horse for guidance, or else either both horses have wings, or the charioteer has wings and the horses are ascending. That's quite a large number of choices. But I don't see any of them in what I can see of the fresco. I suppose I have to read Poncet's essay on that subject, if I can find it.

Ficino's writings were more influential after his death than in his lifetime, although after the Council of Trent more in France than in Italy. If there is a connection between his writings and the "Choice of Hercules" as analyzed by Ficino, that could have been any time before the first appearance of this design, in c. 1650. Before that, the theme is simply romantic love or, after the Council of Trent, marriage (Geoffroy) or chivalry (Minchiate, Venice).

The artistic connections between Hungary and Northern Italy have been well known for at least a century (I am thinking of Adolfo Venturi), probably much longer. That Botticelli was in Hungary is of course a recent "discovery".

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I can't say I agree with Poncet's theories, especially the planetary schema in the image above (which is at the heart of my own theory), but he has certainly been fairly prolific with articles about the Marseilles deck and its origins (then again that subject does not interest me), but this one may be of interest to you Mike and Huck: ... ard_Museum
English Summary
Halfway between Venice and Florence: the Ferrarese Chariot of the French Playing-card Museum
This note investigates the path that led to the creation of the Chariot trump of the Tarot “of Marseille” . The track originates from a drawing by the Venetian painter Jacopo Bellini showing a triumphal wagon pulled by two horses (g. 3) and probably made in the context of the competition organized in Ferrara shortly after 1441 to select an artistic project for an equestrian sculpture. This sketch appears to have inspired a Ferrarese tarot card, dated around 1450, and presenting an allegorical gure on a chariot (g. 1). Probably due to the participation of Toscan artists in the contest, it seems that the design leaked to Florence, as revealed by a niello engraved by the Florentine Maso Finiguerra before 1464 that presents striking similarities to the Ferrarese card (g. 4, on front cover). Finally, the Chariot card of the tarot “of Marseille” obviously borrows characteristics common to its three ancestors, but also some features specic to each one. Given the very scarce circulation of the three images until recent times, this leads to conjecturing that the Chariot of the tarot “of Marseille” might have been originally created in Florence sometime between 1460 and 1473.

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Phaeded wrote:I can't say I agree with Poncet's theories, especially the planetary schema in the image above (which is at the heart of my own theory), but he has certainly been fairly prolific with articles about the Marseilles deck and its origins (then again that subject does not interest me), but this one may be of interest to you Mike and Huck: ... ard_Museum
hi Phaeded,

Thanks for the link. The article didn't reach me till now. The title picture was used in the movie.

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Phaeded, thanks for the link to an article I didn't know about, plus two drawings I didn't know about. I am not sure what your area of interest is, but Dummett considered that the Issy card was part of the same deck as the Warsaw cards, one of which has a Sforza impresa on it. So he hypothesized that it was for the Milan court by a Ferrarese artist (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15160&hilit=Issy#p15160 for the passage in Il Mondo e l'Angelo.) There are two problems with this: one is that the Sforza were in many places, not just Milan, e.g. Parma (Alessandro Sforza, after 1446), Bologna (Ginevra Sforza, married 1454), and Urbino (Batista Sforza, married 1460), among others. Another problem is that the style could just as well be Florence or Bologna as Ferrara. We don't even know where the d'Este deck of 1473 was done (among Ferrara, Bologna, or Florence). The "Alessandro Sforza" cards, it is speculated, were made in Florence. The Finiguerra drawing also suggests Florence. Perhaps one of these places falls into your area of interest. That it was made for a Sforza seems probable, because there are distinctly Milanese elements on the cards--not the artistic style, but the fact that a lady is on top and that the horses are differentiated, red and white, which I see as related to a Phaedrean theme in the CY and PMB. And the "Marseille" card (either I or II) is very similar to the Cary Sheet, which seems to me clearly of Milanese descent, if not design (the Emperor's eagle, for example). There would also seem to be a connection to Milan via the Catelin Geoffroy, which is of the Milanese order and has a similar red and white horse and non-warrior on top.

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Re. I am not sure what your area of interest is
The Marseille very clearly departs from the PMB in signficant ways, albeit directly derived from it - that the Marseille became the basis for the divinatory decks used by New Age kooks today does not interest me (as it does, for say, Decker), nor the specific changes from the PMB to the Marseille.

The CY and PMB were novel developments and the "why" they came into being as a historical puzzle interests me. The oddity of the Sola Busca, especially its trumps (although I know your interest is in the pips), also interests me as another novel development.

I am (finally) going to be sharing my "theory of everything" in regard to the CY and PMB hopefully before the weekend is I can get back to writing fiction. Believe it or not this whole tarot thing is a tangent for me from a half-written novel of mine...I decided to use the 22 trumps as a lose framework for the chapters (you'd have to look hard for trump attribute references in the novel and certainly the novel in no way explicates tarot), but it kept bugging me: which deck should I use? The PMB intrigued me as the oldest to the point where I went to view the actual cards in the Pierpont Morgan library on my way to Milan in 2011...research that eventually lead me here. And understanding the PMB has done nothing for my fiction writing - its simply a fascinating problem.


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