Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#1
I was earlier (long years) on search for a better description of this event. I saw it as a possible Ferrarese reply to the Milanese Michelino deck.

There is one description at ...
http://eprints.unife.it/tesi/228/1/tesi_lipani.pdf
At page 44 of the manuscript, page 48 in the pdf. This part of the article has about 6 pages.

That what we know of the event, seems to be based on a letter of Niccolo Loschi ...
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/nic ... rafico%29/

Image


... to his brother. Major producer seems to have been a young man of Siena, Giovanni Marrasio, who has played the Bacchus in the show.
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/gio ... rafico%29/

The major information, that I draw of it, is the number of figures used (well, it relies on the report of Loschi, and it is possibly not sure):

Image


If I count the Furies as 3, then I've 16 ... as in the Michelino deck.

2 pairs of 3: Furies and 3 goddesses of destiny (Parches or Moira)
Nona (Greek equivalent Clotho), who spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle;
Decima (Greek Lachesis), who measured the thread of life with her rod;
Morta (Greek Atropos), who cut the thread of life and chose the manner of a person's death.
(6 female)

2 pairs of 2: Marte and Bellona, Venus and Cupido (2 male and 2 female)

6 single: Apollo, Bacchus, Esculap, Mercury, Priapus, Hercules (and 6 male)

*******

Counting them different, I would have 8 "dark figures" ...

Mars + Bellone + 3 Furies and 3 Moira ( so one male and 7 female)

... and 8 "light figures" ...
Venus + Cupido + 6 single figures (so one female + 7 male)

Well, and this looks like a chess game: 1 woman and 7 men (one Queen and 7 other Chess officers appear also in the funny card game of Master Ingold with his "funny professions").
This is naturally insecure information, but it meets my suspicions.
******

My suspicion it was (and still is), that the mascerade was made for the marriage between Sigismondo Malatesta and one of the daughters of Niccolo d'Este and Parisina, who married in Jan/Feb 1434 (which would have been 1433 in the contemporary calendar) near to carnival. As far I can read the article, the actual date of the event is unknown. Judging it from the life of Giovanni Marrasio it seems not impossible, that it was in Feb/Jan 1434.

A Cupido as King, Venus as Queen and a Priapus in the configuration of 16 gods would be a natural fun inside a wedding arrangement (I would assume, that Priapus (erected penis) and Hercules (tall man) would likely play the role of the Rooks - Rooks were the "strongest" figures in old chess).

Image

http://www3.telus.net/gordking/Italy%20 ... um%20.html
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#2
In regard to the condition, that Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta recently gained new importance in the Trionfi card question (the new "earliest Trionfi deck" from Giusto Giusti given to Malatesta at 16th of September 1440), I remember this earlier representation of a Mascherata with Greek gods (likely 16 gods), somehow organized in "1433".

Well, the date is not clear. One suggestion at ...

http://eprints.unife.it/tesi/228/1/tesi_lipani.pdf
(At page 44 of the manuscript, page 48 in the pdf. This part of the article has about 6 pages.)

... is, that it was done in April 1433, when many persons of foreign cities were present to negotiate a new peace between Venice and Milan. Another speaks of c. 1440. Somewhere is noted a "Ferariae kal. Febr."

I don't now, which form of year counting precisely was used in Ferrara, but a "Febr. 1433" might have been easily a February 1434.
For Sigismondo Malatesta we have at ...
http://www.condottieridiventura.it/cond ... rescia.htm

... for January at February 1434 ...
Si reca a Ferrara a prendervi Ginevra d’Este, sua sposa, con la quale entra solennemente in Rimini ai primi di febbraio. Il matrimonio durerà sei anni, finché il Malatesta non la farà avvelenare perché si è innamorato di un’altra donna.

..., in other words, he had then a wedding with Ginevra d'Este, daughter of Parisina Malatesta and Niccolo d'Este, Signore in Ferrara. As far I know, a precise date for this event is not known.
From later Este weddings we know, that theater shows played a role in such wedding events. The Mascherata uses 16 gods and between them Priapus ... his participation might be understood as an indication, that this was wedding celebration and not a political peace declaration (and Bacchus, Venus and Eros ALSO indicate this). Also from other occasion we have the ritual, that the theater shows took place in Ferrara, then followed the bride journey (in this case to Rimini) and the actual wedding took place in the home city of the groom (so it was done in the case of Lucrezia d'Este 1487).

For the Mascherata model we have, that Filippo Maria and his Michelino deck preceded the Mascherata a few years. As festivities and arts with Greek gods were relative rare in this early period, this might be remarkable.

For the Trionfi deck at 16th of September 1440 we have the gruesome detail, that Ginevra d'Este died during October 1440 (I've the date 12th of October) ... so not long after it. Later it was argued, that Sigismondo killed his first wife. and also his second. It's not sure, if this is true.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#4
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The text is given here, pp. 76-81
http://eprints.unife.it/tesi/228/1/tesi_lipani.pdf
Thanks, I've overlooked that. But I think, this material is far from being complete (do you agree?), it are just fragments.

During the research I stumbled about this condition:
D7. [by Stella dell´Assassino] Lionello d'Este, legitimised 1429, Signore ereditario di Modena, Ferrara e Reggio (1441-50), etc, *Ferrara 21.12.1407, +Palazzo di Belriguarde 1.10.1450; 1m: Ferrara 1.1.1435 Margherita Gonzaga (+7.7.1439); 2m: 20.5.1444 Maria (+9.12.1449), an illegitimate dau.of King Alfonso V of Aragon
I don't remember, if I noted this earlier. The first 1st of January 1441 (with the present for Bianca Maria Visconti) had been the 6th anniversary of the wedding date of Leonello and Margherita Gonzaga.

Perhaps he made a sort of proposal? His wife had died 1439 and he was widower since then.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#6
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Lipani's thesis seems to have all the text, and also supplies the missing page 15 of Remigio Sabbadini's original 1895 publication of the poetry used on the occasion.

http://www.rosscaldwell.com/italy/mascherata1433.pdf

For the historical context, both Sabbadini and Lipani seem to provide all there is to know directly about it.
Nice.
But I meant, that the material that is present and that one could know about it, isn't complete against that, one would have known, if one has seen the mascerade in 1433 (or whenever it took place).

The text looks too short.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#7
There is an English translation of the letter in question on page 3 in this work, The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance (a friend of mine published this, although he has since sold the imprint "Phanes press"), which you can read on google books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=f5X8o9 ... &q&f=false

Huck,
I see two issues with the 16 gods thesis here:
1. Half of the gods are missing from Marziano to the mascerade, so what is the organizing principle here - the mere fact of the number 16 and any series of divinities? But even the number 16 is in serious doubt here...
2. There appears to be more than 16 gods in the mascerade: Priapus has a companion, Hercules has Cerberus (posssibly played by a human with a three-headed dog mask a'la the dog-headed Anubis) - which gets us to 18 - but then the young humanist concludes: "And there were many others which it would be tedious to enumerate." Its a fascinating event, led by one of the gods (Bacchus), but it has nothing to do with chess.

The only near correlate between any trionfi series and chess's court figures are the six CY court figures but even here you have the problem of chess's 8+8 (court and pawns) versus CY's 10+6 (pips + court). The 8+8 format is fundamental to chess and is in no way paralleled by any deck of trionfi. The trumps are not characterized as pairs (one finds a few pairs - emperor/empress and perhaps pope/papess- but that does not hold for the trump series as a whole), just as the CY's 16 card suits are not further broken down into pairs.

Phaeded

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#8
Phaeded wrote:There is an English translation of the passage in question on page 3 in this work, The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance (a friend of mine published this, although he has since sold the imprint "Phanes press"), which you can read on google books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=f5X8o9 ... &q&f=false
Thanks for the link, but I (in Germany), get only a no preview edition

Huck,
I see two issues with the 16 gods thesis here:
1. Half of the gods are missing from Marziano to the mascerade, so what is the organizing principle here - the mere fact of the number 16 and any series of divinities? But even the number 16 is in serious doubt here...
2. There appears to be more than 16 gods in the mascerade: Priapus has a companion, Hercules has Cerberus (posssibly played by a human with a three-headed dog mask a'la the dog-headed Anubis) - which gets us to 18 - but then the young humanist concludes: "And there were many others which it would be tedious to enumerate." Its a fascinating event, led by one of the gods (Bacchus), but it has nothing to do with chess.
Well, my receivable information let me assume, that there might have be a 16 ... if additional information makes it clear, that this can't be so, it's not a problem. We've the concept of 16 gods in Evrart de Conty's "Echecs amoureux", we've in the Michelino deck and we've a chess context to Roman gods in other later chess literature.

16 or not 16, the text stays of relevance, as there was some clear communicative relation between Milan and Ferrara, and the theme of "Greek-Roman gods" hadn't been very common in the 1420s and 1430s. Filippo Maria's production might have influenced the Ferrarese Mascerade.

For figure counting: Some Kings and Queens as chess figures had additional accompanying persons. Nonetheless it were still 16 figures. Also the Tarot cards: Some presentations show more than 1 person, but it is only one card. So counting an unknown companion for Priapus and a Cerberus for Hercules leads a little to nonsense. And the many others ... naturally a Mascerade had some accompanying troops, which were not counted as the central arrangement.
Luther once said, that some farmers disguised as chess figures amused him during carnival, also Karnöffel persons were used during carnival. The "16 figures" were attractive anyway, beside a direct relation to chess.

Your " ... but it has nothing to do with chess" is simple premature.
The only near correlate between any trionfi series and chess's court figures are the six CY court figures but even here you have the problem of chess's 8+8 (court and pawns) versus CY's 10+6 (pips + court). The 8+8 format is fundamental to chess and is in no way paralleled by any deck of trionfi. The trumps are not characterized as pairs (one finds a few pairs - emperor/empress and perhaps pope/papess- but that does not hold for the trump series as a whole), just as the CY's 16 card suits are not further broken down into pairs.
A deck with 16 cards for each suit is easily arrangeable in an 8-8 pattern. Aces and 10s were often often painted figurative, but the usual number cards lacked (mostly) such decorations. So you can easily divide the group of the chess officers in ...

Ace = Rook
Knight = Knight
Page = Bishop
King = King
Queen = Queen
Female Page = Bishop
Female Knight = Knight
Ten = Rook

Really not a problem.

How the CY arrangement was reconstructed is shown elsewhere.

The accompanying person to Priapus might be Hymenaios (?) ... if this is true this would give a sort of clear evidence, that the whole was arranged for a wedding. This would be interesting.

Image


Hymenaios disguised as a woman in connection to Priapus (offerin to Priapus)
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#9
Huck wrote:
Aces and 10s were often often painted figurative, but the usual number cards lacked (mostly) such decorations.
But in the only trionfi deck with 16 card suits - CY - aces and tens were not figurative.
CY Ten of Coins: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_cro ... chtype=VCG
CY Ace of Swords: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_cro ... chtype=VCG

These are not rooks - they are coins, swords (and cups and batons).

At some point you need to 'call a spade a spade' (not sure if you have that phrase in German, but couldn't be more appropriate here).

Phaeded

Re: Mascerade with gods in Ferrara 1433

#10
Phaeded wrote:
Huck wrote:
Aces and 10s were often often painted figurative, but the usual number cards lacked (mostly) such decorations.
But in the only trionfi deck with 16 card suits - CY - aces and tens were not figurative.
CY Ten of Coins: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_cro ... chtype=VCG
CY Ace of Swords: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_cro ... chtype=VCG

These are not rooks - they are coins, swords (and cups and batons).

At some point you need to 'call a spade a spade' (not sure if you have that phrase in German, but couldn't be more appropriate here).

Phaeded
hm ... I didn't say, that there weren't a spade, a coin, a baton and a cup at the aces of the Cary-Yale.

It was a common card game tradition, that the first and the last of a row got a special role ... as World (21, highest) and Magician (1, lowest) in the later Tarot. As the suits were treated different in early rules, two running from 10 to 1 and 2 from 1 to 10, we have there a similar feature, a 10 could be high or low, and an ace could be high or low.

Your argument was, that the whole has a 10+6 - structure and NOT a 8+8 - structure. I had shown, that it ALSO has 8+8 structure.

What will now your next argument be? That the Cary Yale had playing cards and not wooden chess figures? Yes, I know this.

Generally playing cards were used in the manner, that you could play a series of different games with them, not only one. The mind of the usual card player is trained to accept, that special cards could adapt different roles in different games. If a game idea demands, that 10 + 6 structure was used, it can be done. If a game idea demands, that an 8 + 8 structure is used, it can be done. If a game idea demands, that a 7 + 4 is used, it can be done (you just have to reduce the deck).
If a game idea demands, that some associations, which are usually connected to the chess game, find some expression in the iconography of a used deck, it can be done. Will you argument, that this is impossible?

Chess was very popular in 14th and 15th century. Will you argument about this condition?

It's a common feature, that popular games spread influences to other games, which use different material. Will you argument this point?

We have the feature, that the Cary-Yale in contrast to the majority of known decks, uses a 16 inside its structure. This point can't be disputed. Would you assume, that a game inventor, who made the first step to such a structure, didn't think of chess in his idea in the known scenario (14th/15th century, chess was very popular)?

If he didn't, then this must have been such a stupid game inventor, that it is hardly believable, that he got such an important commission of Filippo Maria Visconti, who was well known for his interest in chess.

Inventions get usually their own life and dynamic, once they are realized. So special card games become popular, and others lose the interests of the players. This movement changes, forgets or even destroys the factor of the "original idea" in the development of a game. That's common evolution.
In the Trionfi deck evolution we have, that the final really popular and long living structure became 4x14+22 ... very difficult to recognize chess influence. Searching for evidence, that this structure 4x14+22 had existed already at the beginning of the evolution, had no success. We have gotten only indications, that decks with 14 or 16 or 20 trumps might have existed (the "evidence" for this is also thin, but we have no other). Between the meanwhile more than 100 documents between 1440 and 1462 information about the structure of the deck is very rare. We have 3x an "indicated 14" and 3x an "indicated 16".
For the cases with 14 we may assume, that it has developed on a trivial way cause 1-10 numbers + 4 courts. For the 16 we just have the also trivial recognition, that chess was very popular, especially at courts. And the major quality of Trionfi decks was, that they were expensive, they naturally were objects for courts or other rich persons.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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