Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#91
For 1448 or 1449:

No, it's about the logic in the dating of Scipio's journey, who surely appeared in person as answer to Francesco's letter. The deck might have come at every time. And it's about the logic of Mantegna's (not confirmed) journey to Milan, before he went to Ferrara in May 1449. And that Mantegna and the artists at the Orvieto chapel were probably the "engravers", of which Marcello thought, when he searched for a way to realize a nice deck of a queen.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#92
Huck wrote:For 1448 or 1449:

No, it's about the logic in the dating of Scipio's journey, who surely appeared in person as answer to Francesco's letter. The deck might have come at every time. And it's about the logic of Mantegna's (not confirmed) journey to Milan, before he went to Ferrara in May 1449. And that Mantegna and the artists at the Orvieto chapel were probably the "engravers", of which Marcello thought, when he searched for a way to realize a nice deck of a queen.
The date of Scipio's visit still doesn't say when the cards were first given to Marcello as a gift. We can't specify it further than Marcello's own "last year". That might be before Easter 1449 (his 1448), or in what we might call 1448 (calendar year ending December 31, 1448).

Marcello doesn't speak of "engravers" (which you should not put in quotation marks because it is not a quote) - he speaks of looking for an "artisan":
"gentium solertissimus harum rerum artifex reperiri posset exquirerem."

- I sought out whether there might be found an artisan of those most skilled in these things.

Nothing about engravers - could have been Bembo's workshop he was talking about, or any cardmakers.
Image

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#93
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Marcello doesn't speak of "engravers" (which you should not put in quotation marks because it is not a quote) - he speaks of looking for an "artisan":
"gentium solertissimus harum rerum artifex reperiri posset exquirerem."

- I sought out whether there might be found an artisan of those most skilled in these things.

Nothing about engravers - could have been Bembo's workshop he was talking about, or any cardmakers.
There exists a difference between your translation and Franco Pratesi's earlier interpretation about this passage. I noted this already earlier, it's a sensible point.
Perhaps the translation should contain a footnote at this place.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#94
Huck wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Marcello doesn't speak of "engravers" (which you should not put in quotation marks because it is not a quote) - he speaks of looking for an "artisan":
"gentium solertissimus harum rerum artifex reperiri posset exquirerem."

- I sought out whether there might be found an artisan of those most skilled in these things.

Nothing about engravers - could have been Bembo's workshop he was talking about, or any cardmakers.
There exists a difference between your translation and Franco Pratesi's earlier interpretation about this passage. I noted this already earlier, it's a sensible point.
Perhaps the translation should contain a footnote at this place.
True, he doesn't say "pictor" (painter), but "artist" or "artisan" (normally "faber" in Latin (not including artists) but English understands handmade cards are "artisanal"). I will have to go back to Franco's article to see why he interprets "artifex" to mean "engraver" (perhaps because it is not "pictor"?).
Image

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#95
mikeh wrote:I took a few days off from writing to think about Huck’s long mathematical defense of the 5x14, disagreement with the "one workshop" theory, and do some more reading on the other subjects we were discussing. So now I am back.

First, I think I have been assuming with Huck that there is little evidence for a standard deck with a standard number of special cards before Boiardo, the Sola-Busca, and the Steele Sermon (assuming they were about the same time). Before that, the evidence for 5x14 is mostly in Ferrara, although it does happen right at times when children are visiting from Milan. The evidence in Milan is mostly for 16 or more special cards. The only evidence for 5x14 is the payments for what appears to be 14 special-card decks in Ferrara when Milan people were there. And we don’t know about Florence, except to say that at some point 1442-1470 there were at least 16 (or is it 15—I can’t remember). So the evidence, such as it is, is that there was no standard number of cards per deck in that time period. But it seems to me that there is some evidence that there was a standard number in particular cities. 14 keeps cropping up in Ferrara. 16 recurs in Milan. It is difficult for me to know what to say about Florence and Bologna.
16 - Milan (Filippo Maria) ca. 1425 - Michelino deck
14 - Ferrara - Milan (Bianca Maria) - note from 1.1.1441
16 - Milan (Filippo Maria) marriage deck 1441 (reconstructed Cary Yale)
14 - Milan (Bianca Maria) Bembo cards ca. 1452
14 - Ferrara - Milan (Galeazzo/Borso) 1457 (70-cards deck)
16 - Florence (Lorenzo de Medici) Charles VI ca. 1463

so 14 appears in Ferrara and in the Milan of Bianca Maria
and 16 in Florence and in the Milan of Filippo Maria Visconti

Neither in Milan or Ferrara they had stronger prohibition against playing cards. But they had stronger prohibition against them in Florence. So in Florence there was reason to disguise playing cards as a chess variant. For Filippo Maria the chess relation was natural, as he loved chess and he loved cards - this had nothing to do with prohibition tendencies. And Filippo Maria was a despot, and the Medici were citizens - in contrast to Filippo the Medici had to care, what the people talked about them.
Second, I agree with Ross and Bertrand: the mathematical side needs a lot more underpinning before it can be regarded as other than arbitrary.
So you're not alone with this problem ... .-) ... well, that's the reason, why we finally kept this argument in the background, it confuses people, when they see too much numbers. Nonetheless it's seen, that this feature has the far better argument (compared to the 70-card note) - naturally this is totally IMHO and it's not cared, if others don't believe it.
Recently somebody called "C" at aeclectic claimed, that geomancy was a forming force for the building of the 22- (20+6) model of Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo, which he presented as a riddle. .. :-) .. in short time he reached that more than 70 posts were send and the moderator freaked out. The solution was searched on the symbolic level ... but geomancy is a binary model.

For instance the binary geomancy has "chess nature":

1 BASIC PAIR
1111 king
2222 queen

3 PAIRS
Chess officers:

1122
2211

1212
2121

1221
2112

Chess pawns:

1222
2111

1211
2122

1121
2212

1112
2221

which are (for instance) easily arranged to a sense making pawn row by position:

1222 - 2122 - 2212 - 2221 - 2111 - 1211 - 1121 - 1112
better seen this way
1--- / -1-- / --1- / ---1 / 2--- / -2-- / --2- / ---2

So, the binary scheme of geomancy has chess character (and it is easily detectable and not really mysterious), and geomancy and chess in Europe developed around the same time - so one might assume a connection. But Franco Pratesi, who had worked about chess history, said, when confronted with the above simple relation, that he didn't know about it and that he isn't aware, that any historic text of 13th or 14th century ever made statements about this connection. You can also request the search engine and the result is more or less negative. So you can learn from it, that structure patterns can easily escape the attention.

When transferring geomancy to astrology (which happened in history) the natural problem existed, that geomancy had 8 pairs or 16 figures, but the world of astronomy only 7 "planets" ... so they invented the Dragon with tail and head to complete the show, giving each planet to 2 signs of the geomantic scheme. Then they incorporated the model of the chaldaic row as it was developed for the 12 zodiac signs (as it is till nowadays, but in antique time others existed) and had something, what they desired, but in the different versions with so much contradictions or translation errors or whatever, that it is not really fun to deal with them.

Actually geomancy is a sort of pocket I-Ching with 16 figures instead of 64. Indeed in the older I-Ching the system of nuclear trigrams (which only considers 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th line) existed, which is based on the same figures as geomancy.
And I don't understand why the Sforzas, d’Estes, or Bentvoglios in the 15th century would have thought in binary-notation terms, or been interested in getting an "unusual" number in such terms, or why they would have thought in terms of binary numbers that followed the standard Marseille order, or why they would even have known the standard Marseille order.
.. :-) tja, there it turns out, how deep the misunderstanding is located ... nobody said, that the Sforza's or Este or Bentiviglio would have thought in binary-notation terms, the binary code is only used to make it apparent to your eyes, that you deal with a high number of probabilities in this case. Also of course nobody knew about the later Marseille order as it didn't exist. But if we compare the real cards of Bembo with the "still not existing Marseille order", you get an unusual number, a circumstance, which suggests, that this PROBABLY doesn't happen by accident. And the PROBABILITY is in this case so high, that it almost only nonsense to think about an "loss by accident" or "damaged by accident".

In history you can never reach truth, but you can reach high probability in your assumptions ... similar it is in reality.
The whole everyday life, your actions and predictions about reality and exspections, what will happen next, always are based on "hidden probability calculation", that's a trivial fact. "The bus will come in 10 minutes", that's probably correct, but often the wrong exspectation ... with some developed sense of reality it's more logical to speak of "in 10-15 minutes the bus usually comes around this time" and with some precaution one thinks, "occasionally it happens, that it's a few minutes too early". And all this statistic and evaluation works not at the day, when the bus simply doesn't come for unknown reasons. The probability is with you, when you assume, that in the usual case comes in 10-15 minutes, if it's 10 minutes till the printed time - but naturally you're not always correct.
I also do not understand why they would have wanted the cards' numbers to add up to anything.
As I already said once, you don't know German card games. It's very common in card games to count points after each trick. Very good card players know at each stage, how many points each party has. In Skat the total value of points is 120, in Doppelkopf 240.
In one Tarot version they've arranged the rules in the manner, that the total points are 78 ... surely not without reason.
Complex calculation repeats in games with many points. Americans game tend to play with tricks (for instance Spades - so you have to count till 13) or less points (Hearts has 26) - that's a different approach.
In a game which is played with points a "100" is more pleasant than a "105".
Now to refer to something between Huck and me: I don’t understand Huck’s rejection of the “single workshop” theory for the PMB first and second artist. If two sets of cards are made in the same workshop, they don't have to be made at the same time. They can be made 20 years apart, if a later customer wants some new or replacement card that the workshop did for an earlier customer. The Bembo shop lasted a long time. Maybe one brother was busy on a job when another wasn't. Or if they were all busy they might know someone else who could come in and do the job with a little help. Or the customer could have said to someone, hey, I like your work, have the Bembos help you paint six cards in such and such a way, etc.
Either you've "Ferrarese style" or "Bembo's workshop" ... and the whole difference is based on "two different artists". The nice thing at the Lorenzo story is, that it provides a date and the date combines with other findings as

- the Charles VI in 1463 / and the new allowance in 1463
- trionfi activities around the Medici chapel in 1465 in Florence
- the change of heraldic in the same month
- the 1465 appearance of a deck in Florentine style in Mantova
- the 1466 letter of Pulci about Minchiate
- generally the fact, that Lorenzo is a young man ... cards are for young man

The Benedetto story completely overlooks the social relevance of card playing ... what use should an elder lady like Bianca Maria around ca. 1462 have for card deck? Probably she would order another sort of art.
Huck, I have been working on your comment about the 6 balls and the 3 feathers, which at first I didn’t understand. Tell me if I get it right. The six balls, five red plain and one blue with French lilies, are round like the sun, moon, and stars. The three feathers are Cosimo's device, standing for temperance, courage, and prudence. So the cards are a visual bond between the Sforza and the Medici.
They're the device of Piero de Medici, Lorenzo's father.
(So far the only source I have found that says how many balls there were in 1465, a 1933 book called The Medici, says there were seven, 6 red and 1 blue, and that it changed to six in 1469. I still would like to know your source.)
http://www.heraldica.org/topics/national/tuscany.htm

but it's not the only one. But most sources are snippets, occasionally contradicting. So the 3 feathers shall also relate to the theological virtues, not to the 3 reduced cardinal virtues.
Cleugh, author of a work "The Medici", noted for the change 1463-65 from 6 to 7 palle, this was the first snippet - the French Lille came in May 1465, as far I remember, we were sure, that it happened in the first days of May, maybe 5th or 6th or something like this.
There is also a "GLOVIS" (possibly since 1469, possibly earlier) motto" meaning "it revolves" or "it repeats", using the six terms gloria, laus, honor, victoria, iustitia and sapientia ... recently here in the forum appeared similar constructions with other words, but similar revolving ideas.
Well, that makes a nice story for Lorenzo to tell the Sforza in presenting the six cards at the wedding (along with how the child on the Sun card is the first son, and the ones on the World card are the next two). But it doesn't go far in explaining the iconography. Where do these new Star, Moon, and Sun designs (compared to the Charles VI and other decks) come from, which coincidentally have visual and symbolic similarities to the Cary-Yale? And what happened to Prudence? The World card has none of its conventional symbolism. Instead we have a walled city.

I have done more reading relating to this World card. I suggested earlier that both it and the CY represent Glory rather than Fame, and Sapientia rather than Prudence.
... .-) ... well, then you're possibly happy about the Glovis
Here is an example for glory. Francesco Sforza, in 1460, explains that he wants his new state-of-the-art large hospital to be finished, "because our people have great expectations and desires to see such a work and also because it will bring great glory to our whole city and to us (Welch, Art and Authority in Renaissance Italy, p. 121). The point is that while his military skills may have made him famous, they don't bring glory. Only good works do that, on a scale that make them the wonder of the age and a model for the world. His hospital was to be a model of sanitation: a latrine for every two beds, a sewer system of continuous running water, and a ventilation system through the roof. And Vasari, a century later, said that indeed it was a wonder. The same architect that designed the hospital also designed for Francesco a model for improving the city as a whole, which he calls, in its ideal form, Sforzinda (Courts, Patrons, and Poets, p. 112ff). So when the two putti are pointing to a walled city in the sky, they are pointing to Sforzinda (among other things). This is not something Lorenzo would have known about.
... :-) ... Surely he knew about Sforzinda - the Medici and the Sforza had all their diplomats and spies and there were considerable exchange, what who was doing, what were his favors and interests and how one could possibly influence him
And about Prudentia: its iconography shows it to be considerably below Sapientia in the ladder of virtue. Here is an example, the frontispiece to The Holy Mountain, Florence 1477 (The Gualenghi-d’Este Hours, p. 196):
... a lot of contradicting models were developed ... This ladder shows 10 stages ... why not ... these paintings express opinions in philosophic discussions, and occasionally snapshots of personal preferences.


... I have been investigating how well Borso and Francesco got along. It is true that Borso proposed the marriage between his half-sister, the widow Beatrice (1427-1477), and Francesco's son Tristano.

***** Wrong. Tristano died 1477, Beatrice lived till 1497 - in Milan. *****

But this does not mean friendship: marriages are sometimes meant as a deterrent to aggression by one party while the other party attacks someone else that the first party is allied with. It is also a way of smuggling spies into a rival's camp.

In the book Herculean Ferrara, Thomas Touhy lists some of the Estes' military involvements during the 1460s (p. 13, in Google Books). In each case, they fought against both the Sforza and the Medici. Ercole fought for the Angevins against the Italian League, which included Milan and Florence, at the Battle of Troia in 1462.

***** Ercole had personal trouble with Ferrante. This doesn't mean, that Ferrara fought against Ferrante (Borso avoided wars) or even Sforza. Ercole had lived in Naples since 1445. Many persons were hired as condottiero and changed occasionally their commissions. The usual rule was, that one shouldn't fight till two years after a commission ended, but it naturally was often broken. Sforza took the side of Ferrante, but many others (inclusive Florence with Cosimo) had the idea to take the side of the Anjou. Even a son of Sforza (Sforza Secundo) took this decision, but Francesco prisoned him for 2 years.

“Borso pursued a policy of supporting Venice and the Papacy against Florence and Naples,” Touhy says (p. 13). So I can’t see him going out of his way to help Lorenzo strengthen ties between the Medici and the Sforza.

***** I don't know, how he arguments this. I don't see too bad relations, as long as Francesco lived. ***

In 1466 Borso had Ercole lead a Ferrarese force to aid the conspirators against the Medici, while Milan's forces, which happened to be nearby, too, stood ready to intervene against Ercole.
In 1467, Ferrara fought against Florence and Milan at the Battle of Molinella, where Ercole acquired his life-long limp.

***** this was probably more from Ercole's and Venice's or Colleoni's side. But indeed Medici, Naples and Sforza attempted to stimulate a riot in Ferrara in 1469 - so attacked Borso.
The point is probably, that Borso didn't trust Ercole. And Ercole as independent condottiero was engaged for Anjou and engaged for Colleoni, possibly or probably with men from the Ferrarese population. Borso trusted Ercole, after Ercole kept to his side 1469 during the riot.
Beatrice d'Este visited her son occasionally, who lived in Ferrarese territory. When Galeazzo reigned, he did forbid the visits. ****

....

Wright also says (p. 98) that it might be that in the "Apollo and Daphne" painting, Apollo was intended to be Lorenzo.

**** there are many Daphne pictures from Milan, I don't know, if Wright knows that.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#96
Thanks for the explanation,Bertrand. And I'm glad you and Ross jumped in at this point, as I would have just floundered around. And thanks, Huck, for your detailed responses. Yes, I am happy about the Glovis. Of course I'd like to know where the list of 6 came from. The link you gave had May of 1465 as when the blue ball with the fleur de lys came in. That part is clear enough. But how many red balls then? One source I read (I can't find the URL at the moment) said the blue ball was in the center. So there would have been six balls around it. Then it got moved to the top, apparently with Lorenzo, and so there were 5 red balls. Well, it doesn't matter: 6 balls in total, or 6 red balls, either way, it's 6. I will study and reflect upon the rest of your points. I will look up stuff myself and then come back if I need to.

For now, I have been re-reading Wright on the 1460 paintings done for the Medici in 1460 by Antonio Pollaiuolo, to get more clarity about how they could have inspired Lorenzo, or his father Piero, in commissioning the PMB Fortitude card. The paintings were wall-hangings, paint on cloth, and large--5 braccia high, Vasari said. A Florentine bracchio was 583.6 mm (http://www.sizes.com/units/braccio.htm), so that is almost 3 meters. According to an inventory of 1492 they were 6 bracchia, i.e. 3.5 meters (Wright, Pollaiuolo Brothers p. 78). None are the small wood panel Pollaiuolo paintings we know today, done in the late 1460’s or the 1470’s (Wright p. 87). I was wrong earlier in saying that those later paintings were done in 1460; I misread Wright (pp. 78ff, that part in Google Books). The three earlier ones are lost today; but Vasari saw them, and here is his description of one of them, Hercules and the Nemean Lion (http://www.efn.org/~acd/vite/VasariPollywolo.html):
The second Hercules, who is slaying the Lion, has the left knee pressed against its chest, and, setting his teeth and extending his arms, and grasping the Lion's jaws with both his hands, he is opening them and rending them asunder by main force, although the beast is tearing his arms grievously with its claws in self-defence.
From this description, scholars such as Wright have been able to identify another work, done for the door of the ducal palace at Urbino, that probably corresponds closely to the lost Pollaiuolo (Wright p. 78):

Image


Clearly there is no club here. So how could Piero and Lorenzo, who saw this painting every day, have produced a card of Hercules and the Nemean lion with no club, no grasping of the lion's jaws with his hands, and no counter-moves by the beast threatening to tear him apart?

I looked at one of the sources for Pallalaiuo's paintings, a relief on one of the door jambs of the Florence Duomo, done in the 1390’s. Here are the first three labors (below left), corresponding to the three labors that Pollaiuolo illustrated (Wright p. 82):

Image


The third one, "Hercules and the Hydra," is similar in composition to the PMB card: club raised against a menacing animal at his feet. All it took was the replacement of the hydra with the lion, and the result would be the PMB card.

There is only one problem with this solution. The painting of Hercules and the Hydra that the Medici saw every day did not have Hercules holding a club. He was holding a torch. Here is the engraving that scholars have decided corresponds to the painting (Wright p. 78 and http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/hero/ho_27.20.2.htm):

Image


Hercules kills the Hydra with a burning stick, with which he cauterizes its wounds so that it cannot grow back more heads. In case one had any doubt that it was a torch, here is a drawing that Pollaiuolo did, presumably in preparation for the painting (Wright p. 169):

Image


And there is also Vasari's description:
The third picture, wherein Hercules is slaying the Hydra, is something truly marvelous, particularly the serpent, which he made so lively and so natural in coloring that nothing could be made more lifelike. In that beast are seen venom, fire, ferocity, rage, and such vivacity, that he deserves to be celebrated and to be closely imitated in this by all good craftsmen.
Vasari mentions the "fire" here. One end of the torch would have been painted bright orange, red, and yellow, hard to confuse with a mere club. In fact, the fire is suggested on the door jamb, too, with a little curl at the end of his stick pointing upwards.

Piero and Lorenzo would have known the wall-hangings in their house well. Precisely because of this familiarity, it seems to me unlikely that they would have come up with the PMB Fortitude card, with its man wielding a club against a tiny, cowering lion. To do so they would have had to make a double confusion: the Hydra with the Lion, and the torch with a club. Furthermore, these Hercules are in life-and-death struggle at the closest possible quarters against a magically powerful enemy. None of that quality is in the PMB card.

And one last point: Hercules was not only a Medici symbol, but also a symbol of Florence. At the beginning of the century in Florence, he had represented the Republic's resistance to the encroachment of Milan's hydra-like presence on its borders, for at that time GianGaleazzo had indeed threatened to engulf the entire peninsula, until he suddenly died in 1402 (Wright p. 82; Cole, Virtue and Magnificence: Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts p. 95).

I suppose one could say, well, by 1465 Milan as the Hydra had been long forgotten, at least in Milan, and Lorenzo had the card done by a really bad painter who got everything wrong, with no time to get it redone. I don't think the Medici operated that way. The Medici needed the Sforza to feel that their ally consisted of competent, trustworthy people worthy of support. A confused representation of Hercules would have been spotted the next time a Sforza visited Florence.

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#97
Earlier I hypothesized that the PMB Fortitude card might have been done by Galeazzo with Borso d'Este in mind as well as his own father. I suggested a similarity between the face on the card and that of Borso.

Image


Huck replied that Borso didn't look that way. My reply is that it doesn't matter what he looked like; it matters how he was depicted, such that people would identify the depiction as him. Almost every depiction of Borso that I have found, for example the several depictions of him in the Schifonaia frescoes, is similar to the one I posted, although usually showing him older and goutier, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borso_d%27Este.jpg, or the ones below, from the Schifanoia (all from Roettgen, Italian Frescoes: The Early Renaissance. He must have looked something like this, because viewers would have enjoyed spotting him in the crowd.

Image


Image


The one exception to this type of portrayal is the statue in Ferrara of him as Justice. That one has idealized features. It is unlikely that a painter would have sketched that sculpture when there were more individualized images. There were several sources of such imagery in miniatures; perhaps one was printed for Borso’s funeral. Not only that, Galeazzo acquired a full-length portrait of Borso after his death (Cole p. 33). I would guess that Borso looked the same way there.

Galeazzo, of course, would have been well aware of the d'Estes’ cultivation of the Hercules myth. Not only was the duke after Borso named Ercole, but Borso had sponsored an illuminated manuscript on the subject, "The Feats of Hercules," by Pietro Andrea di Bassi. Galeazzo even commissioned a copy for himself (Ross Caldwell at http://www.angelfire.com/space). Of course this idea of mine, identifying the PMB Fortitude man with Borso, remains merely a hypothesis.

One final thing, about the cliffs on some of the added cards: Why would the designer have thought of this detail at all? Here is one possibility: in February of 1474 Galeazzo orchestrated an elaborate procession to rebury his ancestor Giangaleazzo Visconti at the Certosa in Pavia, the monastery whose church perched on a cliff (Cole p. 107). The cliffs would have been fresh in his mind when Galeazzo decided to add the cards.

So I see a convergence on 1474-1475: the Certosa cliff, the need for a talisman for victory in Galeazzo’s new alliance with Charles of Burgundy coupled with access to the Astrolabium from the humanist designers of the Schifanoia in Ferrara, the recent deaths of Elisabetta and Borso, and stimulation from the visit to Florence in 1471, viewing Pollaiuolo’s Virtue paintings (motifs in the luminaries, carried over from the CY) as well as perhaps the new Hercules and the Hydra, which had a club.

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#98
hi Mike,

as I already mentioned earlier, I don't consider the 6 additional trumps "high art" - which is probably true, as far we we can abstract the central motifs from the background, which follows the usual pattern and is as usual "very elegant". If you see that as "impossible Florentine- or Medici-art", if the Hercules is painted wrong - the matter is, that we have here playing cards and very young persons acting.

In 1457 we have a page painting Trionfi cards in Ferrara in the time, when Galeazzo Maria visited Ferrara. The probable background is, that Borso wished to amuse Galeazzo (13 years old) ... just realising a deck, how Galeazzo personally wished it done, according his own taste.
The background for Sagramoro's paintings at 1.1.1441 was possibly similar - in this case Bianca Maria should have formed the deck, perhaps in cooperation with her two girl friends.
Around 1460 the young Valerio Marcello played Trionfi with visitors of his father - 8 years old. The Trionfi cards had a childish dimension.

As I already explained, the gift of Lorenzo might have gotten an importance, which was never originally intended or thought of by Lorenzo.

Parents often keep something of the first art of their children - in the meeting of 1465 some enduring friendship between Ippolita (who had later private letter exchange with Lorenzo) and also Galeazzo (they visited each other, Lorenzo became godfather to the first born legal son 1469) was developed.

The period of the handpainted decks might have ended in ca. 1475 (just a possibility, we don't have confirmation for it, but also no real evidence of contradiction).

Perhaps the pictures became so high valued, cause they expressed in naive manner the base of this friendship.

************

The six balls were probably invented by Piero, possibly after Cosimo's death. In earlier time the Medici balls even reached even higher numbers than 7 (at least I've read of an "11 palle"). The triumphal chariot in the Charles VI shows 7 palle, given to 1463 (Cosimo is still living). So the change of the numbers was already a family tradition.

Bassi and Hercules:
Ross wrote this once: "The d’Este family in particular seems to have had a passion for Hercules - the Marquis of Ferrara Nicholas III d’Este named his third son, born in 1433, Hercules (Ercole in Italian), and commissioned a book about Hercules to be written and sumptuously illuminated to commemmorate the event. By Pietro Andrea di Bassi, it was called "The Feats of Hercules" (Le Fatiche d'Ercole) and proved very popular."
You write, that Borso ordered to have a manuscript - Galeazzo wished to have a copy. But Borso and Galeazzo were enemies - mostly.
In the web I find, that the Hercules of Bassi was printed in 1475 (Borso was dead then). Niccolo (according Ross) ordered, that something was written about Hercules, probably at the time, when Ercole was born. For Ercole it's logical, that he was interested in Hercules, but for Borso?

Typical for Borso was his peaceful stability and his engagement for "his justice" ... this is somehow a logical result, as Ferrara had since ca. 1427 the role of the peacemaker between the wars of Venice-Milan. When Borso once in his youth attempted to become a condottiero, he made such a bad experience at Soncino, that he lost the fun on such experiments. Francesco Sforza was then his opponent.
SONCINO – June 1440, Borso was major general for Milan, Sforza with Colleoni for Venice

Viscontei: 5000 cavalli. Fra i ducali sono uccisi o feriti 1000 uomini. I veneziani catturano 1500/2000 cavalli e 2000 fanti; si impossano, inoltre, di quasi tutte le salmerie con 5000 ducati.

Very bad loss, very bad experience. Many men lost, money and material lost, most of the army became prisoners. No glamor or honor for Borso.

Borso had been the only general at Milanese side, who became prisoner. Actually we haven't found information, what happened to him precisely. At least soon after Soncino both sides agreed on a truce, and it became the time, in which Bianca Maria visited Ferrara (October 1440 till March 1441). Actually Milanese aggression in February 1441 under Piccinino restarted the war.

Well, this was Borso as Hercules and it didn't work well. Borso hadn't much reason to remember the matter.
I remember, it was later Ariost, who wrote an evaluation of Borso's and Ercole's success in politics. Ercole had been engaged in "heroic" adventures and that was bad in the eyes of Ariost and bad for Ferrara (the Ferrarese war 1483/84 was a rather severe cut). Borso made it in the peaceful way, and that was good for Ferrara ... from the perspective of a late observer.
Presenting himself as Hercules shouldn't be regarded as the typical "peaceful way", I would assume. Hercules naturally was favored by the great Alexander and other "expansive types" of regents.

Also Ross offered this Pallaiuolo picture:
Image

this is not a torch, this is from a later Pollaiuolo and probably commissioned from the Medici - however clever Lorenzo might have been about correct mythology at this time. So your argument of a "confused representation of Hercules" doesn't count really much. The Hercules with a club was already an antique model. Occasionally Italians found such earlier statues. Also small amuletts:
wikipedia wrote:Hercules' Club (also Hercules-club, Club-of-Hercules; German Herkuleskeule, Donarkeule) is a Roman Empire and Migration era artefact type.

Roman era Hercules' Clubs appear from the 2nd to 3rd century, spread over the empire (including Roman Britain, c.f. Cool 1986), mostly made of gold, shaped like wooden clubs. A specimen found in Köln-Nippes bears the inscription "DEO HER[culi]", confirming the association with Hercules. Indeed, already Tacitus mentions a special affinity of the Germans for Hercules, stating

they say that Hercules, too, once visited them; and when going into battle, they sing of him first of all heroes.

There are two basic types, the smaller type (ca. 3 cm) cast in molds, and the larger (ca. 5 cm) wrought from sheet metal.
Image


Also coins used the motif:

Image

Macedonian Kingdom, Aesillas as Quaestor, AR Tetradrachm, 70-60 BC, Roman Control
M[ACEDONWN]
Head of Alexander the Great right, wearing Horn of Ammon, Q behind
AESILLAS
Hercules club downwards in center, money chest to left, quaestor's chair to right, Q in right field, all within olive wreath
30mm x 31mm, 16.45g
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#99
hi Bertrand: I nearly overlooked this letter, sorry.
Bertrand wrote:hello,

Just to (try to) clarify some of the mathematics : I don't think Huck ever implied that a significant pattern was voluntary produced, nor that anyone thought in binary, since as he said he is speaking from the empiric point of view ; what he points out is that, when represented as a binary number, this number would make a clearly readable pattern, which would make that pattern noticeable, and would be statiscally significant. What I tried to point out was that :
1- seeing patterns in binary representations was a lot more common than observing them in a decimal representation due to the higher contrast in the binary numbers
For point 1: when Leibniz discovered to count in binaries "as a new way to deal with numbers", he was very surprised to find in the Chinese I-Ching something, which looked very similar. This happened 200 years later, so it's not actually the state of 15th century, but it's not plausible to say, that it was very common ... naturally binary numbers appear in many natural features, for instance genealogy, but they are not naturally realized as a 1-0-scheme. Geomancy uses the binary system, but differ the alternative values in a 1-2 pattern. The use of the number "0" probably still was not common enough to be seen as another possibility to see the same feature.
2- the chosen representation (by affecting a specific row to a card and even choosing a binary representation) was precisely what created the pattern, hence that it wasn't an observation or a modelisation of what happened but a creation a posteriori.
Playing cards were connected to numbers since Johannes of Rheinfelden, who used the numbers 1-15 for the single suits in 1377. The Marseille order later (and other Tarot orders) uses obviously numbers for the trumps. We have no numbers for the 14 Bembo cards, but in the given situation it's more or less probable, that the players also used a sequence (at least occasionally) and also used numbers for it.
I don't know, what you define as "observation" or "modelisation" or "creation a posteriori", in my own German language we can summarize these things together to "Beobachtung" (probably the English observation) and it appears as the result of the Beobachtung, that out of the heaven of the unobserved or unknown the "Beobachtung 11111111111101100000010" descends, which in a second heaven is checked for its features and gets further analysis (further Beobachtungen), which result in "once their had been a counting "11111111111111" of 14 elements with 1-14, which was transferred to an altered row, when the worth 11 (Fool) was changed to the number 0 and the value 14 (judgment) was changed to the number 20, so that the total used points summarize to the worth "100" ... and that for reasons of better counting during card game. This naturally is then another state of Beobachtung which we can call heaven 3, if we like to count something.

English speaking observers often even have problems, what the worth of "better counting during card game" is. That's bad. They should learn German card games, perhaps they learn it.

In Whist, Bridge and Spade you count tricks. Tricks are relevant.

German Games like Skat or Doppelkopf use points. Tricks are not counted, points are counted. Tricks are not relevant, although you naturally need tricks to get points.

Tarot games mostly use tricks and points counting. But the trick-counting factor is only the smaller part of the used counting method. The trick counting factor is usually evaluated by a card counting method ... the methods differ.

In any case the counting decides victory or loss. The value "100" would be only interesting, if the played game used point counting. If your imagination of card playing only thinks of tricks, you completely miss the point in the argument.

... :-) ... I've not the patience to explain it, there is a complex world of playing card rules http://pagat.com . You should note, that I more than once said, that for an understanding of playing card history one should have some study at the card board or at least observe a little bit the rules of the played games.
This is what Ross clearly demonstrated when he explained there was no reason to choose the french order as a reference onstead of the A, B or minchiate orders, making the pattern a lot less noticeable.
If I give an assumed worth 1/400 two alternative possibilities, the result can not be higher than 1/133 (and still the chances for an accident would be rather small and the pattern is not "a lot less noticeable").
However, as Ferrara is Ferrara and Florence is Florence and Milan is Milan and in Milan the Marseille order is used, the 14 Bembo cards from the Milanese region precisely do that, what is exspected, they give information about the Milanese development and not about the others. So increasing the value to 1:133 wouldn't be fair ... the different card rows have by far not the same rank in the question.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: "The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation" part II

#100
16 - Milan (Filippo Maria) ca. 1425 - Michelino deck
14 - Ferrara - Milan (Bianca Maria) - note from 1.1.1441
16 - Milan (Filippo Maria) marriage deck 1441 (reconstructed Cary Yale)
14 - Milan (Bianca Maria) Bembo cards ca. 1452
14 - Ferrara - Milan (Galeazzo/Borso) 1457 (70-cards deck)
16 - Florence (Lorenzo de Medici) Charles VI ca. 1463

so 14 appears in Ferrara and in the Milan of Bianca Maria
and 16 in Florence and in the Milan of Filippo Maria Visconti
Your inclusion of "Milan" for 1.1.1441 is your speculative conclusion and interpretation of the data; likewise for 1452 and 1457. Just because 14 special cards are made for someone from Milan was doesn't mean it was for a Milan deck. You are inserting your conclusions into your premises.
As I already said once, you don't know German card games. It's very common in card games to count points after each trick. Very good card players know at each stage, how many points each party has.
Wickson (http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/wicksontarot.html) gives some of the rules for determining points according to the 1637 Rule. They are complex. Individually, only Kings, Fool, Magician, and World earned points. Other court cards and trumps earned points in combinations. In such combinations, the various trumps had an equal number of points, of varying number depending on how many . All this was at the beginning, before any cards were played. For points won during play and at the end, there were other rules, which Wickson does not go into, except for mentioning bonuses for capturing the Magician or a King in the last trick. De Gebelin also talks about the added points during and after the hand in his Article III, sections 3-5 (http://tarotpaedia.com/wiki/Du_Jeu_Des_Tarots); the French is a little easier to read. I'm not sure what the total number of points per hand would be, but it certainly isn't the total of the trumps' numbers added together.
Either you've "Ferrarese style" or "Bembo's workshop" ... and the whole difference is based on "two different artists".
Who among art historians called either the added cards or Benedetto "Ferrarese style"? I'd like to know more. I know Dummett did, but he's no art historian, and all the characteristics he found in common to the cards and Benedetto--pursed lips, high forehead--are actually characteristics of Milanese International Gothic. And why can't Benedetto be both "Bembo's workshop" and "Ferrarese style"? The "Ferrara style" is something that developed in the 1440's under Leonello. But Borso paid his artists so little that they worked all over the place. (He paid Cosimo Tura 60 ducats a year, compared to Pisonello's 500 ducats in Naples.) By the 1460's Ferrara styles had radiated out to Modena and Bologna, and Lombard artists by then had learned from them as well. And there was more than one style: Tura had his (which is closest to the cards), Mantegna was somewhat different, and del Cossa had his own. They were all derivative from Padua. And so were Benedetto Bembo, Vincenzo Foppa, and other Lombard artists after the 1440's.
what use should an elder lady like Bianca Maria around ca. 1462 have for card deck? Probably she would order another sort of art.
I am not wedded to a particular date. As far as I'm concerned, the added cards could have been c. 1475 Galeazzo. The workshop would have kept their sketchbooks around indefinitely. If she did loan it her deck--and there is no reason why she needed to--it would have been to provide decks for the next generation, other branches of the family, and perhaps even wedding gifts. Incidentally, Bianca wasn't very "elder" in 1462. She was 38 with a 6 year old daughter. She would have played cards with her children.
Surely he knew about Sforzinda - the Medici and the Sforza had all their diplomats and spies and there were considerable exchange, what who was doing, what were his favors and interests and how one could possibly influence him.
Yes, you are right. I hadn't read Wikipedia's article on the architect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filarete). Sforzinda wasn't exactly a secret. Filarete was a Florentine who had come to Milan on Cosimo's recommendation. He dedicated the book, finished in 1464, to Piero; Florence's copy is dated 1465 (what you would call perhaps not a coincidence). Also, the shape of the walled city on the World card is eerily similar to the design reproduced in the article.

Image


The only question for me is, would they really have thought to design a World card around that theme? It still strikes me as more Galeazzo's style, and more in the tradition of the CY design (which I still call a Grail motif), as compared with the Florentine card. However they did have a major stimulus for such a design staring them in the face, in the morning' post, almost literally. And while I think of it, why do you call the Grail theme for the CY card "impossible"?
Wrong. Tristano died 1477, Beatrice lived till 1497 - in Milan. ****
I was trying to distinguish the Beatrice d'Este that married Tristano from the one that maried Ludovico. Ludovico's was Ercole's daughter, born 1473-1475 (accounts vary), died 1497. Tristano's was Ercole's sister, born 1427, died 1492-1497 (accounts vary). I did write 1477 by mistake for her date of death; I should have just given the date of birth. The 1492 date is from Art in Renaissance Italy by Paoletti and Radke 2005, p. 551, in Google Books, which has a good family tree showing the relationships and marriages.
**** there are many Daphne pictures from Milan, I don't know, if Wright knows that
.

I don't see what difference it makes how many Daphne pictures from Milan there were (although I would like to see them, in books or on the Web). It was a Florentine painting intended for Florence. They had their own identifications with Apollo.

In your following post:
***** Ercole had personal trouble with Ferrante. This doesn't mean, that Ferrara fought against Ferrante (Borso avoided wars) or even Sforza. Ercole had lived in Naples since 1445. Many persons were hired as condottiero and changed occasionally their commissions. The usual rule was, that one shouldn't fight till two years after a commission ended, but it naturally was often broken. Sforza took the side of Ferrante, but many others (inclusive Florence with Cosimo) had the idea to take the side of the Anjou. Even a son of Sforza (Sforza Secundo) took this decision, but Francesco prisoned him for 2 years.
You are probably right about Ercole in 1462, because he was then on his own. But it certainly served Borso's interest; the Pope wasn't in the Italian League, and Borso was angling for a dukedom from him. I find it harder to believe that Ercole acted on his own in 1466 and 1467. He was leading Ferrarese troops in 1466, according to Tuohy (Herculean Ferrara, p. 13, at Google Books). I can find no verification of your claim that Florence and Cosimo sided with Anjou in 1462. Most sources simply say that the alliance formed at Lodi in 1455 (with Milan, Venice, Florence, and Naples all on the same side) continued during this time. The sources list times when the alliance was broken, and the war of Ferrante vs. Anjou was not one of them. I do find on the Web Jamison saying (Italy - Medieval and Modern - A History, p. 203, in Google Books): "But for him [Cosimo] Florence would have certainly supported Rene of Anjou in the Neapolitan succession wars" That is, Cosimo prevented Florence from supporting Anjou.
Ross wrote this once: "The d’Este family in particular seems to have had a passion for Hercules - the Marquis of Ferrara Nicholas III d’Este named his third son, born in 1433, Hercules (Ercole in Italian), and commissioned a book about Hercules to be written and sumptuously illuminated to commemmorate the event. By Pietro Andrea di Bassi, it was called "The Feats of Hercules" (Le Fatiche d'Ercole) and proved very popular."
You write, that Borso ordered to have a manuscript - Galeazzo wished to have a copy. But Borso and Galeazzo were enemies - mostly.
Ross's next sentence, which you omitted from your quote is, "Franscesco Sforza's son Galeazzo Maria commissioned a copy" (http://www.angelfire.com/space/tarot/hercule.html). Ross doesn't say whether it was an illuminated manuscript that Galeazzo commissioned, or a printed version, which you say was 1475. I would assume that the verb "commissioning" implies a manuscript. To me it makes little difference, since 1475 is about when I would date the card. I misspoke about Borso ordering the manuscript. I was trying to paraphrase Ross and put down the wrong name: I meant Niccolo. Sorry. Ross didn't say who Galeazzo ordered the copy from, or when.
this is not a torch, this is from a later Pollaiuolo and probably commissioned from the Medici - however clever Lorenzo might have been about correct mythology at this time. So your argument of a "confused representation of Hercules" doesn't count really much. The Hercules with a club was already an antique model. Occasionally Italians found such earlier statues.
I doubt if the Medici told Pollaiuolo for his later miniature to put in a club and not a torch--they would have asked for a small version of the large painting. Pollaiuolo just left out the fire for some reason, which was in the prior wall-hanging. And I know that Hercules was often shown with a club. My point is that he was not shown with a club in the fight with the lion that Pietro and Lorenzo saw every day in their house, nor was he shown with a club in any of the three big wall-hangings there. So they probably would not have inserted a club in their instructions for a card showing Hercules' famous fight with the lion.

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