collection Montefeltro

1. Montefeltro appears as a figure in a Provencal carnival march (in other words, in a sort of Trionfi march), a tradition possibly founded on the Anjou/Aragon conflict about Naples in the year 1462, in which Montefeltro had guiding function in the Naples troops, that is at the enemy side of Anjou (so it seems, that Montefeltro appears as a hated figure in the March). Provence was then reigned by Renee d'Anjou, who had spend some time in Italy as regent of Naples and lost it against Alfonso of Aragon in 1442.

Alfonso had celebrated the victory with a Trionfi in 1443, later in the time aroun 460-62 his son had attempted to regain the kingdom of Naples again.

This case was researched a few years in the LTarot group, but finished without sure results bout the real context.

2. Montefeltro was invited to interfere in the siege of Citta di Castello by papal troops under Giulio de Rovere, Giulio de Cesare and Lorenzo Zane in August of the year 1474. When Vitelli, the defending signore of the city, heard, that Montefeltro participated in the siege, he offered resignation.

After this (or parallel) Montefeltro was invited to Rome and got the title "duke of Urbino". Likely (according research) at this opportunity Montefeltro got the manuscript of Lazzarelli, which included pictures, which the author had collected in a Venetian bookstore, which had at least to a part strong similarities to motifs of the Mantegna Tarocchi. The manuscript reports in poetical form about 27 motifs totally.

Montefeltro had in this year a series of honors: According ... ... Gubbio.htm
... he had a militaric success in Volterra 1472 and in 1473 ... "promette a Girolamo Riario di dargli in prestito 5000 ducati necessari per acquistare dal duca di Milano il titolo di conte di Imola" (promises to give Jerome Riario borrowed 5000 ducats needed to buy from Duke of Milan the titel Count of Imola)
Girolamo was in 1473 not so important as later. His importance raised, when the favored cardinal Pietro Riario died under not very clear conditions (3rd of January 1474) ... was it due to this investment of 5000 ducats, that Montefeltro ...

* got in May 1474 the agreement, that his daughter Giovanna should marry Giovanni el Rovere
* received the order of the Ermelin in Naples in June 1474
* got the title duke in August 1474 in Rome
* became member in the order of the Garter in October 1474
* got a "rose d'oro" in Vatican camera del pappagallo in April 1475
... ?

Lazzarelli had before worked for Giulio Cesare Varano, lord of Varano, and had a friendly relation to Lorenzo Zane, both participating in the Citta di Castello conflict.
It is assumed by the theory to the Mantegna Tarocchi, that it was formed in a 5x10-scheme in 1475 in Rome, based mainly on pictures which were collected by Lazzarelli.
The general alternative to this assumption is the far spread theory based mainly on the research of Arthur Hind, that the 5x10-scheme + engravings were made before 1467 - in 1467 a Bolognese manuscript is dated, which in one picture has strong similarities to some of the Mantegna figures, from 1468 4 virtues engravings exist in St. Gallen, which (in their central figures) definitely are identical to the engravings in the usual Mantegna Tarocchi, but had differences in the border and background and which had no names or numbers.

Research to this can be found at the Mantegna Tarocchi page:
(surely in a state, which is not in all points up-to-date with the current state of research)

3. In the Urbino library (famous in the time) also appeared a Capella manuscript (interpreted to have been made in 1470's), which was decorated with Artes liberalis pitures with further similarities o Mantegna Tarocchi motifs.

4. Montefeltro appears together with his wife at 2 pictures with triumphal chariots, which were used as inside decoration of two doors, the frontside showing portraits of him and his wife:


Inscriptions are readable at ... tro%29.jpg

The left chariot shows Montefeltro with Fama and 4 cardinal virtues, the right chariot his wife Battista with 3 theological virtues (cardinal and theological virtues are part of the Mantegna Tarocchi)

5. Trionfi edition of Montefeltro:

Sribe: Contugi of Volterra (wrote also a richly decorated version of Dante's Divine Comedy between 1478-82, illuminated by Giuglielmo Giraldi and others, completed by unkown artist of 17th century)

"Written on parchment ... was Federico's copy of Trionfi and Conzonieri of Petrach. This was richly illuminated by Bartomeo della Gatta, and the initials FD appear within the Garter (an honour conferred on Federico by Edward IV in 1474). The triumphs, for instance tht of Chastity, drawn by unicorns, are reminiscent of those on the back of the double portrait of Federico and Battista Sforza of the double portrait of Federico and Battista Sforz painted by Piero della Francesca." ... q=&f=false

Pictures would be interesting.

6. Montefeltro engaged also for the liberal arts (another Mantegna Tarocchi motifs series) ... emish1.htm
[quote]Justus of Ghent (Joos van Wassenhove)
c. 1480
Seven Liberal Arts (Music)
National Gallery
Part of Justus's work for Federico da Montefeltro's studiolo in his new palace in Gubbio.
Inscribed on the entablature behind the throne is I (?)ECLESIE CONFALONERIVS. This draws the viewer's attention to Federico's office as Standard Bearer (Commander in Chief) of the papal armies.
Music, one of the Seven Liberal Arts, is enthroned and points to an organ. The kneeling youth may be Costanzo Sforza (born 1447), whose imprese was a spray of laurel which is seen hanging behind him.[/largeimg]


See also Astronomy and Dialectic(with description):



It's assumed, that this picture series was intended for the studiolo in Gubbio, which was undertaken 1479-82. Another theory says, "made for the library in Urbino"

As far I remember, two pictures still exists and two others were lost 1945 in Berlin (?).

7. Chess

As already said, Montefeltro got the Lazzarelli text with "27 figure" around 1474/75

a. A chess variation called Tamerlane Chess existed at least since ca. 1340 in Persia and used 112 fields and 28 figures for each side. It contained totally 21 different kinds of figures and 56 figures ... somehow in its numbers a relative to Tarot. ... imur-1.gif

b. An 8x14 chess board with 112 fields (and probably 28 figures for each side) appears at a painting of Franceso di Georgio, who is said to have worked for Montefeltro since begin of 1475. Probably this game was played with 28 figures for each side.

c. A series of "28 famous men" was made for the studiolo of Montefeltro in Urbino, probably arranged around the relevant time 1474 - 1476


d. At the festivity of the wedding of Costanzo Sforza and Camilla Aragon, which was attended by Montefeltro and possibly also influenced by him, the festivity book presents a banquett with 28 mythical persons.


e. In 1474 Montefeltro should have become interested in knight orders, because he became member in two of them. Earlier other knight orders were founded, that of Renee d'Anjou (1449) with a limit to 29 members, the order of the crescent (the member-number likely chosen cause is relation to the days of one moon, 29.53), and Louis XI.' order of St. Michel (1469) with a limit to 31 members, both numbers near to 28. Did Montefeltro consider to found a knight order himself or a knight order for the papacy or for "Italy"? He was then the most far accepted "first condottiero" of his time, who, if not him, should have done such an attempt?

f. A strange chess ring (containing aboard 4x32 fields) appears in the marqueterie of the studiolo in Urbino, somehow connected to astronomical contents.


... somehow similar to the upper art of Montefeltro's sword ...



g. Tamarlane chess with 28 figures was played at the court of Tamerlane and naturally also at that of Uzun Hassan, who was contemporary to Montefeltro and an ally to Venezia-Rome-Naples, which engaged to attack the Osmans. Uzun Hassan still was of Mongolian descend.
Other Mongolian variants might have been also known, one of them, the version Hiashatar ("bodyguard chess") .....


..... knows the move of a modern European Chess Queen for a mythical animal, which has the position of the usual chess queen.

There is not enough material in the web to be sure, but it is said, that these variants are 500 years old or medieval.

In Spanish chess history there are worked out lot of good arguments, that the modern bishop and the modern queen were introduced in Spain possibly mid of the 1470's or at least with evidence in 1497. But, what, if these moves existed in combination already in a Mongol chess variation?

Then the question is there, how and if this version might have found to Europe ... ca. in Montefeltre's time.

Re: collection Montefeltro

This is the relevant picture, which documents the visit of the Persian ambassador in Urbino.

The detail shows left the Persian ambassador in talk with Montefeltro, The ambassador was earlier identified as Caterino Zeno (which was a Venetian ambassador at the court of Uzun Hassan), but earlier research identfies the person as Isaak, a Spanish jew in the profession of a physician.

Later added:
In 1465 Uccello was in Urbino with his son Donato, where he was engaged until 1469 working for the Confraternity of Corpus Domini, a brotherhood of laymen. He painted a predella with the Miracle of the Profaned Host part of a monumental altarpiece. The main panel was finished by Justus van Ghent with a scene from the "Communion of the Apostles" in 1474. Ucello's predella consisted of six scenes (with meticulous naturalistic interiors) related to the anti-Semitic legend of the "Miracle of the Profaned Host" that had taken place in Paris in 1290. In one of them he depicted Jews burning at the stake the blasphemous act of desecrating the Holy Host. This was an effort by Duke Frederick of Montefeltro of Urbino to vilify the Jews (while tolerating Jewish activity in Urbino). Not all these scenes are unanimously attributed to Paolo Uccello. ... ccello.php

The passage of Bernardino Baldi (noted in the text of Dana E. Katz in "Footnote 44") is given in Italian here:
p. 241-242 ... ac&f=false

The mentioned text of Paolo Alatri (noted in the text of Dana E. Katz in "Footnote 45") is given here: ... ak&f=false
... not complete, the deciding page 79 is missing

Dana E. Katz wrote an article here at Jstor

Re: collection Montefeltro

Isaac Beg or Isach hebreo medicho et ambassador ... ac&f=false

Issac Beg was an ambassador commissioned by Uzun Hassan
At 1472 in Hungary at the court of Matthias Corvinus, he went then to Venice and Rome (and - perhaps - to Urbino), returned to Hungary (Buda), where he was influential to cause peace between Corvinus and the prince (Voivod) Stephan of Moldavia.
One or two years later a converted Jew of Toledo came to Buda, Martin Cotta (probably with Queen Beatrice of Aragon).

Intensive article to Isaac Beg:
According this Isaac Beg had been already 1471 as "orator" in Venice, his function is observable till 1474.
Later he possibly appeared as ambassador or court physician at the court of the Polish king (in the case, that it is the same man). He died 1509/10.

The above mentioned Stephen of Moldavia is ...
Stephen III of Moldavia
and he caused - if one believe in the given numbers - considerable trouble to the Osmanic forces, more than the Christian fleet in 1471-72 and also more more than Uzun Hassan in 1473.

Re: collection Montefeltro

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A brutal murder, a nefarious plot, a coded letter. After five hundred years, the most notorious mystery of the Renaissance is finally solved.

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More than five hundred years later, Marcello Simonetta, working in a private archive in Italy, stumbled upon a coded letter written by Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, to Pope Sixtus IV. Using a codebook written by his own ancestor to crack its secrets, Simonetta unearthed proof of an all-out power grab by the Pope for control of Florence. Montefeltro, long believed to be a close friend of Lorenzo de Medici, was in fact conspiring with the Pope to unseat the Medici and put the more malleable Pazzi in their place.

In The Montefeltro Conspiracy, Simonetta unravels this plot, showing not only how the plot came together but how its failure (only one of the Medici brothers, Giuliano, was killed; Lorenzo survived) changed the course of Italian and papal history for generations. In the course of his gripping narrative, we encounter the period’s most colorful characters, relive its tumultuous politics, and discover that two famous paintings, including one in the Sistine Chapel, contain the Medici’s astounding revenge.
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Critical Review:

This review is from: The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded (Hardcover)
"The Montefeltro Conspiracy" is an attempt, only partially successful, to turn a scholarly discovery of genuine importance within the field of Renaissance history into a sprawling pop-history book for lay readers. In 2001, the author, Marcello Simonetta, a professor at Wesleyan, discovered an encrypted document in an Italian archive that he was able to decipher with the aid of a fifteenth-century code book written by one of his own ancestors, Cicco Simonetta, an advisor to the powerful Sforza family. The document in question implicated the Duke of Urbino -- Federico da Montefeltro, an important allay of the Papacy -- as a primary mover in the so-called "Pazzi conspiracy," a well-known historical episode in which the Pazzi family of Florence attempted to supplant the Medici as the de facto rulers of that city-state. The Pazzi conspirators arranged for the murder of Guiliano de' Medici but did not succeed in finishing off his brother Lorenzo. With hundreds of troops under Montefeltro's command waiting outside the city to aid the Pazzi conspirators, the coup fizzled, and the main conspirators were executed. Florence remained under Medici rule, and Montefeltro's troops never entered the city proper.

This story is certainly interesting, but Simonetta attempts to turn his discovery into something that it isn't: a document that fundamentally alters the world's understanding of the Pazzi conspiracy. Simonetta is actually at his best when narrating the established rendition of events, which he does with elegance and skill. When he veers off into arguing for the centrality of his own academic work -- which is certainly interesting, but not earth-shattering -- he becomes quite tedious. Likewise, the end of the book is entirely ruined, in my opinion, when Simonetta veers off into Dan Brown territory, attempting to find hidden encoded meanings referring to the Pazzi conspiracy in the works of Botticelli. This discussion, aside from being insufficiently substantiated, and, to my mind unconvincing, is a distraction from the primary subject matter of the book.

On the whole, "The Montefeltro Conspiracy" is an interesting read for the middle 150 pages, which unfortunately are bookended by a tendentious introduction and a very disappointing ending.

Re: collection Montefeltro

The studiolo (Urbino) contains 4 figures (one for each wall), the 3 theological virtues and Montefeltro himself.

This is Montefeltro:


The researched "chess ring" is on the side of "Faith".


The following detail picture is described:
"Inkwell with letters FEDE and rosary above, in south wall, Urbino studiolo" ... with no words about the nature of the chess ring and nothing about the white board.


Nonetheless this is a rather good page about the studiolo:

It contains another object of interest: a rather big heptagon, made with 28 lines. As I've a special interest in this "number 28 used by Montefeltro" I'm naturally alarmed. But it's a mystery and I've found no explanation for it.


The detail:


An interesting view at walls and ceiling:


Re: collection Montefeltro


I'm struggling with the figure at the right, the central piece is made of 28 lines. The upper part, as I've seen from another picture, is made with 10 lines, the lower part I'm not sure, it might be made with 10, 11 or 12 lines.

If it's 11 or 12, then the whole catches up the numbers of Tamerlane chess ... which was, what I searched. 28 figures for each side, 10 rows, 11 columns (or 12, counted the citadels as 1 extra column).


I found another thing I searched: Chess figures


These are called "chess figures", it haven't been my idea.

Re: collection Montefeltro

I found this ...


... from which the upper part is from this picture ...

... made by Paolo Uccello, who in the last years of his life (he died 1475) worked for Montefeltro. The above picture itself is already from 1435-40. The object is difficult to see, it's the hat of a man in the foreground (half-left position). You see more at the large picture ... lo_016.jpg
(big picture)

Wikipedia writes to Uccello:
With his precise, analytical mind he tried to apply a scientific method to depict objects in three-dimensional space. In particular, some of his studies of the perspective foreshortening of the torus are preserved, and one standard display of drawing skill was his depictions of the mazzocchio.
Mazzocchio is an expression for a specific hat, described under "Chaperon" in English Wikipedia

... well, these considerations are rather similar to the not classified object in Montefeltro's studiolo, which had been theme here:


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