Re: Castello di Torrechiara ... house with confusing pictures

#2
What a wonderful posting Huck!
There is much that is confusing. The Coat of Arms (4) all show those of Popes- obviously put there by their proud illegitimate children. It looks like a love nest of Nepotists. Which makes the lovely depiction of Prudence a wonderment about this form of practical wisdom. I never would have thought of a later Bembo painting an erotic fresco lol. I think it makes me think of Tarot as bridal in a weird way. The snakes on the the woman? Could that be saying there is no sin in loving this woman? Or love lies bleeding because he could not marry her? Or is there some alchemy stuff in there?

~Lorredan
Oh I forgot- the straw hats on the women on the ceiling! Reminded me of a mystical quote....
Turn to me with your whole heart and do not despise me because I am black and dark, for the sun has burned me so, and the black depths have covered my face. Something in here about conception of children- I think Huck called it making baby magic?
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Castello di Torrechiara ... house with confusing pictures

#3
The pictures you posted, Huck, are on the lower level, by Cesare Baglione, end of XVI century, as the caption next to the floor plan for that floor, on the link you provided, clearly states (well, it's in Russian, so you're forgiven). They are from the Sala della Vittoria (see
and/or other lower rooms, such as the Room of the Jugglers (or Acrobats). These figures are done in the "grotesque" style popular in Rome, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy .starting at the end of the XV century. Pinturiccio did a lot in that style. Your images might be useful for an understanding of 16th century Italian hieroglyphs, but I doubt it. An article at http://lemiroirauxpreles.fr/Grotesques.htm discusses grotesques in terms of hieroglyphs. Well, the grotesques of Nero's time, when discovered in 1480, were thought to be hieroglyphs, it says. Grotesques had an air of paradox. And the grotesques on the ceiling of the library of the Abbey of S Giovanni Evangelista, c. 1575, Parma were painted with hieroglyphs and alchemical signs in the mix, the article says. I will have to read more. Thanks for helping me to find that interesting web-page (the French one, not the Russian). Except in relation to hieroglyphs, I don't see their relevance to tarot history.

The upper level has the ones that are of interest to 15th century history. They are probably by Benedetto Bembo, as the link states. I discussed them at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=5200&hilit=B ... embo#p5200 ("The 5x14 Theory: An Investigation, Part 2" for Dec. 3, 2009).

Added next day: that the Nero-era grotesques, discovered 1480, were thought to be hieroglyphs (in burial chambers, no less) might have influenced the style of the SB pips, which are more grotesque than their predecessors, the "parchment book" of Zoppo: the style would further identify the cards as hieroglyphs.

Re: Castello di Torrechiara ... house with confusing pictures

#6
Well, yes, some sites say Bonifacio. Others say Benedetto. The ones I happened to be looking at just then said Benedetto. I stand corrected: One or more of the Bembo probably did the Golden Room. I think the main reason people say Benedetto was that there used to be an altarpiece there in the Torrechiara, with his signature on it. But that's not a conclusive reason to think he did the frescoes. Re-reading what I wrote earlier, I see that I cited Roettgen's chapter on the Torrechiara, saying that probably both Bonifacio and Benedetto were involved. I think the similarity of the Golden Room frescoes to a few of the Milan cards is interesting, too: some of the frescoes are stylistically like the first artist of the PMB, while others are like the second artist. (Just don't confuse the frescoes of the Golden Room with those that Huck posted here.)

Castello di Torrechiara: the Golden Room

#7
Apparently, the Bembo frescos have been recently attributed to one more member of the family: Gerolamo (see http://www.portaletorrechiara.net/sito/ ... _nuovo.pdf)


A view of the South and West walls:
castello-di-torrechiara.jpg
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I attach images of the Bembo frescoes on the four walls.

The Golden Room is marked with letter H on this map. Here is a slightly corrected google translation of this web page:


The Golden Room was the bedroom of Bianca Maria [Pellegrini] and Pier Maria [Rossi], called "Golden" because the terracotta tiles that decorate the four walls to the height of the lunettes, were covered with gold foil. 
The fame of the gold room stems not only from the walls covered with tiles but from the frescoes, made around 1462 by the painter Benedetto Bembo (who decorated the whole room). 
The tiles show four subjects, which are repeated, alternating with others that have an X in the middle, and act as interlude. 
They reproduce: [1] a rampant lion, a symbol of Pier Maria; [2] another coat of arms with a castle and a drawbridge on a swan rayed symbol of Bianca; [3] two hearts inserted within three crowns: they form a ring with an inscription: DIGNE ET IN ETERNUM (With dignity and forever); [4] a letter which reproduces one of the initials of their names, Pier Maria, the M, with a cartouche, a kind of strip, with the inscription NUNC ET SEMPER (Now and forever). 

THE LUNETTES [the upper part of the four walls]

The lunettes tell us in more detail the story of the two lovers: the EAST fresco, above the window, on the left depicts Pier Maria pointing with one hand the arrow that has just hit and the other invites us to look toward Bianca, in turn hit by an arrow of Cupid. The latter is above a column, while the other two characters have their feet on the ground, which means that the will of the gods is stronger than the will of men, therefore Pier Maria and Bianca, wounded by the arrows of Cupid, could not help but fall in love. Cupid is also blindfolded, an allusion to the blindness of Love. 
In the fresco on the SOUTH wall, Pier Maria declares his love to Bianca, he is dressed as a knight, kneels in front of her and gives his sword, a sign of submission and eternal oath of allegiance. 
In the WEST fresco, Bianca accepts the love of Pier Maria and crowns him with laurels: this was the way that they used in those days to accept declarations of love. 
The NORTH fresco tells the strange conclusion of the love triangle of Pier Maria, married to Antonia, and lover of Bianca Maria. Pier is on the left in front of the castle of San Secondo, where he usually lived with Antonia; Bianca is depicted on the right and behind her the castle of Rocca Bianca, built for her by her lover. When the two lovers are not together, they dream: they look towards the center of the fresco, which depicts the castle of Torrechiara. 

THE CEILING

The love story of Pier Maria and Bianca begins to be told in the ceiling. It was painted by the painter Benedetto Bembo, the figure of Bianca appears four times: in three of the four figures of the lady skin is dark, it is oxidized due to air pollution. 
Bianca is dressed as a pilgrim [PELLEGRINI=pilgrims]: a cloak covering her shoulders, has a hat on her back and holding a long stick, useful to lean on while walking. All the pilgrims had this type of clothing to be immediately recognized by those who were asking for hospitality in the evening: they could not be mistaken for robbers or intruders! Bianca is dressed as a pilgrim for two reasons: it thus alludes to her surname, Pellegrini, and establishes a link between the choice of the pilgrim, who left all that he has to follow his own ideal of faith, and that of Bianca, who left everything to follow her ideal of love. 
The lady is walking on some sort of map: the background represents the territories with their castles and villages, all belonging to Pier Maria. The castles reproduced here really existed: some of them are still there, we know of the existence of others through citations in documents from the time of Pier Maria. Those depicted in the ceiling are all located in the mountains or in the high hills, while in the lunettes below, in the background are reproduced the castles of the plain. 
In more detail: 
In the east side of the ceiling, above the door, Bianca is dressed in a coat and hat hanging from the stick. You can see also the castles of Beduzzolo and Pugnetolo, now disappeared, on the other hand those of Corniglio and Graiana. 
In the southern side, above the fireplace, Bianca is moving with the stick over her shoulder, the dress is embroidered with green leaves on a golden background. Depicted are the castles in the Parma valley, Bosco di Corniglio, to Berceto where Pier Maria Rossi was born.
In the western side, above the front door, Bianca is stopped as if she were resting before beginning the descent down the valley. To the left and to the right there are four castles, the Taro river, the river Ceno and the urban core of Fornovo. 
In the northern side, the last above the window, Bianca is in profile, walking fast, stick in her right hand and a large ribbon falls down on her shoulders. On the left you can see the Maria Castle. On the right you return to the Parma valley with more castles.
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Geroloemo

#8
The attribution to Gerolemo is interesting, because by some the Bembo tarot cards are also considered possibly by some other member of the family, usually Ambrogio/Ambroxio, but Tolfo also mentions a Lorenzo (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=932&p=13657&hilit=Ambrogio#p13657). (See also viewtopic.php?f=11&t=932&p=13653&hilit=Ambrogio#p13653 and the Evelyn Welch quote at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13420&hilit=Welch#p13420).

Here is my attempt at a translation of the two sections of relevance to this thread of the web-page Marco linked to (http://www.portaletorrechiara.net/sito/ ... _nuovo.pdf). I have underlined the relevant sentence, which is the second from the end.
Guided tour
From the quadrangular courtyard of honor, decorated with loggias and porches [porticati] with brick and sandstone capitals, to the chapel of court or chapel of St. Nicomedes. Here was once an altarpiece depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints Anthony Abbot, Nicomedes, Catherine and Peter Martyr, dated 1462, signed by Benedetto Bembo and a wooden tribune [tribunetta lignea] attributed to to the workshop of Da Baiso, decorated with polychrome floral inlays and carvings, depicting the Rossi coat of arms (lion rampant) and the hearts of Pier Maria Rossi and Bianca Pellegrini, his mistress. These furnishings are now in the Museum of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

Later we meet a series of frescoed rooms in the "Grotesque" style, typical motifs of the XVIth century. Each room conventionally takes the name of the most important decoration: room of Jupiter, of the Bower, of Landscapes, of Victory, the Angels, the Curtain, the Coat of Arms. The paintings, in the absence of convincing archival documents, are attributed on a stylistic basis to Cesare Baglione and collaborators, to Innocenzo Martini and Giovanni Antonio Paganino.

The chronological period of execution must be restricted, on the basis of the interpretation of coats of arms, to the years 1584-1592. The occasion for the paintings is the celebratory objective with regard to the family of Sforza di Santa Fiora, who became the owner of the castle, who wanted, in about 1575, a number of interventions that clearly accentuated the residential function: lowering of defensive walls, enlargement of doors and windows, transformation of the stands [spalti, perhaps referring to the tribunetta mentioned earlier] into orchards and gardens. To this period belong also the two loggias, on the eastern side, an element of increased openness to the castle outwards. The patron of the cycle was the grotesque Cardinal Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora, son of Sforza and Catherine de Nobili. Going up to the main floor from the room of the Acrobats we come to the bridal chamber, known as the Golden Chamber [Camera d'Oro] implemented around 1463. Here is told the story of the love between Rossi and Bianca Pellegrini, known at the court of Milan. Terracotta tiles, originally gilded and painted, cover the walls with motifs of coats of arms, hearts and the initials of the intertwined lovers.

In the lunettes, among putti musicians and symbolic animals, is illustrated, according to the canons of International Gothic, the delicate story of the falling in love of the two, blindfolded Cupid [as] accomplice, of the delivery of the sword and laurel wreath to the victorious Rossi, of the triumph of the lovers. In the vault, Bianca, dressed as a pilgrim, slipped lightly among villages and castles of Rossi's domain spread out from one extreme to another of the region, in the plain, in the hills and in the mountains. What is represented is an extraordinary geographical map of the essential topography of the mountains, the rivers, the settlements, the road system, the agrarian cultures. The cycle, assigned by most to Benedetto Bembo, but by some to Bonifacio Bembo or Francesco Tacconi, is also attributed to Gerolamo Bembo. [ Il ciclo, assegnato per lo più a Benedetto Bembo, ma da alcuni a Bonifacio Bembo o a Francesco Tacconi, è stato attribuito anche a Gerolamo Bembo.] From the porch [logiato] of the Camera D'Oro, a sixteenth century harmonious addition, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the river, the hills with vineyards and the neighboring abbey.

Torrechiara tiles

#9
mikeh wrote: Here is my attempt at a translation of the two sections of relevance to this thread of the web-page Marco linked to (http://www.portaletorrechiara.net/sito/ ... _nuovo.pdf). I have underlined the relevant sentence, which is the second from the end.
Guided tour
From the quadrangular courtyard of honor, decorated with loggias and porches [porticati] with brick and sandstone capitals, to the chapel of court or chapel of St. Nicomedes. Here was once an altarpiece depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints Anthony Abbot, Nicomedes, Catherine and Peter Martyr, dated 1462, signed by Benedetto Bembo and a wooden tribune [tribunetta lignea] attributed to to the workshop of Da Baiso, decorated with polychrome floral inlays and carvings, depicting the Rossi coat of arms (lion rampant) and the hearts of Pier Maria Rossi and Bianca Pellegrini, his mistress. These furnishings are now in the Museum of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
This is the "coretto" or "tribunetta" mentioned in Mike's translation:
http://www.lombardiabeniculturali.it/op ... 030-00005/

I think the similarity with the terracotta tiles in the "golden chamber" (I attach what I guess is a digitally enhanced image) is quite evident. The lion and the two hearts can be recognized also in the poor image of the wooden tribune.

Image
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