Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#32
mikeh wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 10:46
I meant on the "bound pilgrim". Or do you take that as his hairdo?
Not sure which detail you are looking at? It seems like an open "tunic" - comes short of the knees, and then some sort of boots. Perhaps crudely drawn/cut, but I don't see anything particularly unusual.
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Baldini detail.JPG
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Here's a detail of an odd Petrarchan triumphs - Strozzi 174, Fama, with captives also with arms similarly bound behind, but instead of open in the front, the tunic is slid off one shoulder:
MS Strozzi 174.35v. Fama.JPG
MS Strozzi 174.35v. Fama.JPG (48.25 KiB) Viewed 1604 times
Or do you mean that odd "mermaid tail" seemingly attached to the wagon, but one of the "fin's" tips coincides with the rear circumference of the halo, like a veil?
I admit to not knowing what that "mermaid tail" is, but its graphic connection to the halo seems inadvertent. A better resolution shot of the image in question showing the upper half:
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Baldini upper detail.JPG
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If it supposed to be a marine animal - and it does disappear to where there is a water inlet from the sea, perhaps it is an attempted depiction of a watery elemental corruption of the halo - but that would seem rather out there, allegorically-speaking. But compare this detail of Mantegna's battle of the sea-gods engraving, fairly contemporary (Baldini's fish-tail would be a crude approximation of a such a pagan "sea-god" - perhaps intimating sensual temptation; but doesn't Cupid already adequately represent temptation here? Albeit he is shooting the other way....).
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Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#33
Phaeded wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 02:06
mikeh wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 10:46
I meant on the "bound pilgrim". Or do you take that as his hairdo?
Not sure which detail you are looking at?
I think maybe Mike is referring to his cap/hair do - the crescent/horn shape coming from the 'skull-cap' part of his hat over his fore-head does also sort of make it look like a wolf/dog head (seeing the crescent/horns shape as the nuzzle of a dog/wolf) - though I'm not sure it was intended to be such (looks more like a crescent shape to me, rather than the mouth of a wolf, though I can see it as a wolf-dog head too - and sort of 'flip' between seeing it either way) :
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#35
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 16:30
It could be that the bound figure represents Samson, with his hair shorn (it looks like a tonsure). This one shows a bearded figure, thus more evidently Samson -
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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Petr ... 1-love.jpg

The straight line behind his head I take to be just a cliff face, a continuation of the same thing behind his back.

Good call, yes a tonsure, cliff face, Samson all make sense. Samson in Triumphs of Love is typical shown having his hair cut and/or with a distaff (in reference to his enslavement by what's her name - it escapes me at the moment), perhaps his beardlessness and effeminate appearance and the tonsure conflates both incidents...
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#36
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 16:30
It could be that the bound figure represents Samson, with his hair shorn (it looks like a tonsure). This one shows a bearded figure, thus more evidently Samson -

The straight line behind his head I take to be just a cliff face, a continuation of the same thing behind his back.

I have no doubt the that the Samson theme, particularly due to his presence with Delilah in other Triumph of Love productions, was influential here, but for representations of Samson in Florence from the mid-century forward through Baldini, he is always bearded, not as a clean-shaven youth (presumably because of the plethora of images of David in Florence, so as not to confuse the two Old Testament figures).
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Pesellino-ApollonioX2-Baldini SAMSONS.JPG
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The above shows the two most common thematic ways in which Samson was treated in mid-Quattratocento Florence – as the exemplar of the virtue of Fortitude (often switched out with Hercules) or as one of three famous lovers, often shown on birthtrays, as in the two Apollonio di Giovanni Triumph of Love examples above (one of which also shows a generic captive on Love’s wagon, with Samson getting his hair cut by Delilah below). The last image above is of Samson by Baldini himself, which rather clinches the notion that the bound figure in the engraving in question does not depict Samson. A Jewish hero would also not wear a halo.

So back to my conjecture: Baldini did a cycle of the triumphs of the planets (with their children), and combined all of them here (with Cupid representing Love, vs. his mother Venus) in a sort of psychomachia through which passes the bound everyday Christian exemplar (not unlike the German comparable shown above). The Christian “pilgrim” being tonsured is like any saint depicted with the wounds or object of his torture (which in this case is shared with the precedent of Samson – and, by the way, any of the chaste, male mendicant orders), here under the lordship of Love. Taking the rather extreme iconographic step of adding the halo must have intended to underscore this is a Christian undergoing a trial by (planetary) fire, not a Jew (we'd need to know the exact year of the engraving to place it within the context of a persecution of the Jews flaring up, which of course happened sporadically and for various reasons; e.g., Savonarola pursued a policy of expulsion).

That the tonsured head is in fact crowned with a halo shown in perspective (rather than a flat circle, as in any Fra Angelico painting earlier in the century, for instance) is clear in the "perspective" halo comparables below, pioneered by the likes of Castagno and Lo Scheggia, also in the later mid-15th century (and note that in the latter one, Scheggia even has adopted the knotted forelock, particularly pronounced on the left angel):
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SteveM wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 10:42
I think maybe Mike is referring to his cap/hair do - the crescent/horn shape coming from the 'skull-cap' part of his hat over his fore-head does also sort of make it look like a wolf/dog head (seeing the crescent/horns shape as the nuzzle of a dog/wolf) - though I'm not sure it was intended to be such (looks more like a crescent shape to me, rather than the mouth of a wolf, though I can see it as a wolf-dog head too - and sort of 'flip' between seeing it either way)

Thanks Steve for pointing out the attribute in question, but I believe its just a peculiarity of Baldini in showing a knotted forelock, as in this essentially tonsured Prophet Amos, with knotted forelock:
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The “planetary” Baldini engraving seems to show the forelock pushed upwards by movement, as both horses are rearing forward (and planetary influences were often compared to turbulent winds, whose influence was not always controllable). Of course this does not rule out that the knot was additionally given a wolfhead-form (e.g., often clouds in paintings were given animal and human likenesses), in keeping with the largely negative influences of the planets (perhaps “ravenous” in this context of being under the tutelary power of Love).
Baldini Triumph of Love  - horses through 'pilgrim'.JPG
Baldini Triumph of Love - horses through 'pilgrim'.JPG (76.1 KiB) Viewed 1512 times

Phaeded

PS To my original point that the seven figures surrounding the "pilgrim" figure bound on the wagon are a thematic group - Baldini perhaps follows the Petrarchan Fama schema where the two groups on either side of the chariot are thematically divided: warriors and philosophers, in the case of our Baldini engraving it would be the planetary gods leading the way with humanity following in its wake (all beholden to Love). At all events, it seems Baldini and the earlier Bembo's PMB were working from the same copybook with an image of "time"/Saturn; Baldini simply seems to have reversed the head for his engraving:
Baldini-Bembo, time-Saturn.JPG
Baldini-Bembo, time-Saturn.JPG (35.5 KiB) Viewed 1504 times

Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#38
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
05 Jul 2019, 10:33
Not always bearded.

From a cassone attributed to Zanobi -

From a cassone attributed to the school of Mantegna -

From the single sheet six triumphs -

And I don't see a halo, but part of the landscape in the background.
Ross,
Fair enough on the Zanobi (clearly Delilah cutting a clean-shaven Samson), but that looks like the exception that otherwise proves the rule in Florence (and most of the German engravings show Samson clean shaven, so not unheard of, just not relevant to Florence). The last engraving is obviously a copy of the Baldini, but not only is the halo missing from the "pilgrim" but it does not show the cuffed hand to mouth on the front central/bottom figure, of which I have identified as Apollo calling up to Cupid (Petrarch's Triumph of Love appropriately provides the key here for why that is happening: 'l biondo Apollo / che solea disprezzar l'etate e l'arco / che gli diede in Tessaglia poi tal crollo - “…the blond Apollo, / who once scorned the youthful bow / That dealt him such a wound in Thessaly”, referring to Ovid's story of Daphne, where Cupid repaid a taunt of Apollo by inflicting an insane lust in Apollo for Daphne). Thus the latter engraving is a sloppy version not attuned to the original's details and rather unhelpful to explain anything about the original. That leaves us with the intriguing "Mantagna" cassone...

The "school of Mantagna" cassone is obviously not Florentine (not denying influences between Mantua and Florence), but more importantly, why even make the identification of Samson with this bound, nude figure? The Apollonio birthtray I showed above showed a fully clothed "everyman" (with Samson below on the ground with Delilah) , so why is this not simply a nude "everyman"? However I do see a connection between this cassone and Baldini's "planetary" cassone, in that both depicts gods, the "Mantegna" perhaps in only a standard mythological/genealogical sense (although further below I point out strong possibilities for parallel planetary associations as well).

Firstly, there is the problem of the two figures flanking the similarly rearing horses, who cannot be identified with any certainty: the front figure in red calls up to Cupid like in the Baldini engraving, so I'd provisionally label him "Apollo" and that god is often shown in sun-like red, as in the PMB Sun, the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara or the Hall of the Planets/Liberal Arts fresco in Foligno: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... 1_sole.JPG ; the second figure likely wears a ruler'[s beretta and thus a "child of Jupiter" (Saturn is the 7th planetary god wholly missing here, but of course has his own triumph in the guise of Time further back in the cassone). More securely, the figure immediately preceding the plinth on which Cupid stands is clearly Mercury - flute in his right hand and caduceus held over his left shoulder (ironically, not unlike the so-called Tarocchi Card of Mantegna - Mercurio). Flanking Cupid on the ground, are a solider holding a lance and armored a la antica, motioning back to a woman, both stretching arms out to one another: Cupid's parents, Mars and Venus. As I've identified the lead figure as Mercury in the Baldini engraving, leading the pack in his traditional role of herald, here he too heralds the arrival of the arrow-shooting god, with even his parents caught up under his influence. There is simply no reason to place Samson in the company of the pagan gods of Mercury, Mars and Venus, thus the bound nude is just the everyman subjected to Cupid's charms. Unlike the Baldini where all of the gods are forward of the vertical axis marked by Cupid (with regular humans behind), here Venus is behind with human exempli - but this is explained by her well-known Roman epithet of Venus Genetrix, a sort of Eve, here with her human progeny, all tainted by Love/Original Sin (and recall the Venus birthtray where lines emanate from her vulva onto human onlookers - and indeed, she touches herself here).
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To help dispel any doubts about the presence of the identified gods in the "school of Mantegna" cassone above, see below for Mars, Venus and Mercury in a painting by the master himself (Venus is not really a great match, but clothed as a "child of Venus" in the cassone, but Mercury is similarly with a nude torso about which flows a red mantle, and the a la antica Mars with lance are close enough for these subjects to have been reflected in his school - even Apollo is in red and to the far left):
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parnassus_(Mantegna)

Phaeded

Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#39
Since Ross pointed it out, the 'halo' or hat does seem to me more like the background cliff/rock figuration - now that I see it that way, I find it hard to construe it as a halo or part of hat at all... and what I saw as a 'skull-cap' seems obviously a tonsured head, now that it has been pointed out... and Samson fits.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Trionfi customs 1436 and 1438

#40
SteveM wrote:
05 Jul 2019, 23:30
Since Ross pointed it out, the 'halo' or hat does seem to me more like the background cliff/rock figuration - now that I see it that way, I find it hard to construe it as a halo or part of hat at all... and what I saw as a 'skull-cap' seems obviously a tonsured head, now that it has been pointed out... and Samson fits.
Steve,
I suppose I'm less insistent on the "pilgrim"/halo identification than on the surrounding characters as planetary gods, the latter precluding the bound figure as Samson, and instead as an "everyman" (forget "pilgrim"; at all events, whether Samson and Delilah, Aristotle and Phyllis, Virgil in a basket, or just a generic "everyman", the exemplar is an obvious admonitory message for the Christian viewer to not be beholden to the wiles of Love).

So if you would, please explain the "school of Mantegna" cassone just analyzed: why is the nude figure "Samson", and why is he with classical gods (and is there a precedent for that anywhere?)? Mercury's identification is incontrovertible; the other pagan god identifications likely enough to at least invite rebuttal. And if the "school of Mantegna" cassone has the gods, then I think that strongly lends itself to the interpretation of Baldini as a relevant comparable.

Perhaps the halo was a red herring - the planetary gods remains unresolved.

Thanks in advance for yours and hopefully Ross's continued input here,
Phaeded

PS the Venus with "radiating vulva" birthtray mentioned above, in light of the woman motion to her own vulva in the "Mantegna" triumph:

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Master of Charles of Durazzo, Birth Tray with the Triumph of Venus, ca. 1400, Musée du Louvre

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