Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#31
mikeh wrote:I forgot: Phaeded wanted the main points of my argument for 1444. Well, Sandrino and others say 1443-1447 based on the style. Then you have to look and see when in 1443-1447 Filippo and Francesco aren't at odds, hostile to each other. That leaves 1444, the year in which Francesco and Bianca have their first-born. It also concurs with where Ross puts his dot on his scientific-looking chart. Do you want details, too, and if so, which part: the art historians or the biographical information? Thanks for asking, Phaeded; this was the 4th time in the past week in this thread that I mentioned that particular event in connection with the CY, the 5th time in the past year (the previous one was last April), and I don't mind discussing it further. I might even be wrong, who knows.
Mike,
First-born is certainly commemorative-worthy, succession being just important as a dynastic marriage, but I'm not sure any lengthy phase of Francesco and Filippo's relationship can be categorized as entirely non-hostile, especially 1443-1447. King Alphonse of Aragon took Naples in 1442/43 (once released as a prisoner by Visconti and now essentially a friend to whom his will would bequeath Milan) with Sforza fending off incursions into his Marche and losing his possessions around Naples to his enemy… generally was not serving Filippo's interests in those years but protecting his own. With Piccinino's death in 1445 things entirely imploded with Sforza and Visconti; Visconti attempted to retake the dowry city of Cremona but Venice(!) supported Sforza in retaining it.
The acrimony with Sforza started right after his wedding however when he and Bianca were feted in Venice (she was taken there on the Bucintoro itself via the Po); that political relationship with Venice endured in the face of Sforza’s Visconti marriage with the obvious hope of Venice that if she continued to back Sforza it simply did not matter whom his wife was – they would get Milan through him after Filippo died. Hence Cremona in 1446 and turning him against the Ambrosian Republic in 1448. Perhaps Filippo wasn’t “mad” after all – he had a reason to be paranoid.
But back to Filippo’s mind-set in 1441: Venice was the bigger worry of Filippo (over that of Florence) since the “Veneto” kept encroaching into traditional Visconti holdings. You already know my thoughts on the CY deck – the Chariot has Bianca as bride-to-be holding out the coin of the realm but as Visconti stemma, and the World card shows Sforza riding towards Cremona, with the coastal Veneto in the background (likely Ravenna, the southernmost city of Venice’s sphere of influence, depicted in the middle). Given that Pisanello’s medals were minted in the same year they should likewise be emphasizing the role of Sforza as he who would keep Venice in check (Cremona being an eastern-most base, from Visconti’s view in Milan, from which to do so). Given that premise, I’m backing off my first take of the reverse of Visconti’s medal as the tower of Cremona (it was not beyond mountains from Milan) by examining all its details in more depth for the full context:
1. Small walled city at top left - another eastern-most city of Milan’s periphery with Venice, recently lost again in 1439 to Venice – Bergamo.
2. The mountains: Bergamo is in the foothills of the Alps where much of the Milan/Venice fighting had taken place (particularly on Lago Maggiore whose northern end is spectacularly surrounded by sheer mountain sides) in the campaigns of 1438-1440 when Sforza had been serving Venice. He would have been expected to retake the Bergamasque for Visconti now.
3. A lance of three mounted soldiers. The un-helmed solder on the right is obviously a page, therefore we can assume this is the standard three man lance which consisted of two combatants, a men-at-arms and an armed squire, plus a page. The “squire” (although looks like a full knight here) would be on the left while the frontal-facing knight with the elaborate headdress typical of condottiero would naturally be Sforza. This indication of a mercenary army wearing the standards of Visconti is between the viewer and which city?
4. City in the background: Venice. Pisanello, who painted lost frescos in the Doge’s Palace, knew Venice’s landmark’s well. The details of the city in the medal compared with that of Venice:
a. The towers: The cut-off tower to the right could be any number of campanile in Venice, but the pointed one must be the famous campanile of St. Mark’s. The distinctive vertical masonry lines of that tower are clearly shown in the medal and if the top looks a little off keep in mind that the original wood spire burned down in 1489 so what we are familiar with is a later addition.
b. The domed structure topped with smaller cupola with an odd “weather-vane” structure? The most famous building in Venice of course, St. Mark’s odd Byzantine domes (see photo detail below).
c. The allegorical person – a veiled(?) woman with a hand up to the end of a sword? It could indicate one of the two columns of St. Mark’s Square that opens out to the sea, but St. Theodore holds a lance with just one hand and a shield in the other. The figure of Justice with drawn sword was everywhere in Venice – on the Doge’s palace and on a large relief at the top of the campanile itself. If that is in fact a hand reaching out towards blunting the end of that sword with some object then the message could have been one of challenging the famous message of Venice’s Justice – it’s tip being covered so it is not being administered.
Venice and Pisanello Visconti reverse.jpg
Visconti Venice
(154.82 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#32
mikeh wrote: Your image, which I assume reminds you of the CY Love card, reminds me of another illumination:
Image

Some of the information in the book I got it from is pretty speculative, I think (although stated as fact), but I will post it if you first make a guess as to who the artist or workshop was--and more importantly, why you make that attribution. The artist's name associated with it is not obscure. You might come up with a better answer than the book.
"Workshop of Bembo"? ;-) I don't see anything there especially distinctive but the rosette pattern of dots in the background are certainly familiar. As for the subject: a humanist/poet receiving the laurel wreath from a female royal (indicated by her ermine coat) in a garden (of virtue)?

Phaeded

Image

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#33
Marco and Michael: Thank you for your clarifications: it's not hypothetical statements, but hypothetical entities, that are the teapots. Sorry for being so thick.I still don't fully understand the dividing line separating teapots from non-teapots. I will ask myself the questions you posed. Marco, and see if I can do without these hypothetical decks. I have been operating under a different methodology (not learned in any academic setting of historical research, I can assure you, but which I probably picked up somewhere): of examining all the relevant possibilities, and keeping for further exploration the ones where there is some reason for believing they might be true in the historical context. That wouldn't eliminate my hypothetical decks. Your method will certainly make posts shorter; I need to think about it.

Phaeded: Thanks for the details on Filippo and Francesco, and on the medal. I wish I could remember where I read about them having a peaceful period in 1444.

And here's what the blurb says about the illumination. I don't have a clue if they're right. What you said sounds better to me. When I look at the PMB cards, I don't see many long fingers; http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2fDsAIYmwVw/U ... age-20.JPG. It's in Treasures from Italy's Great Libraries, edited by.Lorenzo Crinelli, text by Anna Rita Fantoni, 1997. I don't know about that kind of plant stem. I'm not sure what "pointed profiles" means. But I will try to pay attention to these things.

note: this post was edited an hour or two after posting.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#34
mikeh wrote:Marco and Michael: Thank you for your clarifications: it's not hypothetical statements, but hypothetical entities, that are the teapots. Sorry for being so thick.I still don't fully understand the dividing line separating teapots from non-teapots, but when I ask myself the questions you posed, you're right, I can do without these hypothetical decks. I have been operating under a different methodology (not learned in any academic setting of historical research, I can assure you, but which I probably picked up somewhere): of examining all the relevant possibilities, and keeping for further exploration the ones where there is some reason for believing they might be true in the context of the historical situation. That wouldn't eliminate my hypothetical decks. Your method will certainly make posts shorter. It feels unrigorous to me; but if it's Dummett's method, it most likely is rigorous. Whether I will ever need hypothetical decks remains to be seen; but I won't include them just on the grounds that they're possible given the historical circumstances--at least not in the Researcher's Study section of this Forum.
It's not just Dummett's method, it's common sense. If the evidence doesn't demand that an unknown entity existed which accounts for the known entities, then it is a waste of time to speculate about it (of course anyone is free to waste their time as they wish, and other people are free not to waste their time reading how anyone else has chosen to waste theirs).

In the case of the 22 Standard Trump Subjects, the evidence demands that a common original for the 20-something known lists and additional surviving fragmentary and complete decks from the 15th through the 16th centuries demands a common origin for all of them (It is self-evident that dozens of people from different times and places over the course of 100 years or so would not just happen to choose the same subjects in the same number, and choose to arrange them in different orders).

The question then becomes - what was the original? When was it, where was it, who made it, why did they make it, etc.?

Michael Dummett managed to reduce the dozens of known lists and decks to three groups, which he called A, B, and C. He found that they corresponded to three cities, which really stand for regions, in Italy - A for Bologna (now we include Florence) and all places south; B for Ferrara and the north-east of Italy; C for Milan and the north-west of Italy (Lombardy-Piedmont/Savoy). Beyond that, the historical evidence did not allow him to go further in speculating what the common original of the original of the three "families" was (since it is still inconceivable that those same 22 subjects were independently chosen in all three regions, but merely arranged differently).

In other words, Dummett brought us very close to the Ur-Tarot - the common origin for all known Tarots. There must be one, and it is either an invention of the game sui generis, or it is a literary source that no one has yet found. Since no one's interpretation of the 22 trumps in any of the three orders (or any particular sub-example) has achieved widespread acceptance, some researchers (like Franco Pratesi most recently) believe that an as yet undiscovered literary or artistic source lies behind the choice of subjects. Other people, like Michael Hurst and myself, believe that the choice of subjects was sui generis and has a convincing explanation, a coherent meaning by itself.

Huck also believes in a common origin for all 22 Standard Subject Trump games, but he believes that it coalesced in the late 15th century from a previous multiplicity of subjects and orders, rather than diffusing from a common origin at the beginning. Put another way, a cardmaker in a particular place around 1500 decided to assemble 22 of the subjects from various decks and mass-produced it so much that it washed away the competition. So, he wants to see the entire 15th century as having no standardization at all. For him, the "Ur-Tarot" doesn't exist in the way that most of us see it - he sees it as this late 15th century marketing effort, while we see it as the original game from the beginning. For him the Ur-Tarot in our sense is a meaningless concept - there were decks with various numbers of cards and trump subjects all over the place until the unknown marketing genius of the late 15th century erased all trace of them.

He would argue that the "traces" of them are the actual surviving decks, which he arranges in various configurations according to his fancy - Chess decks, marriage decks, 5x14 decks, etc.

Standing against this scenario, however, is the extremely limited number of subjects for all of the surviving actual trumps, and the fact that they are all part of the Standard Subjects of the 22-trump deck. With the exception of the Cary-Yale, which is why it gets so much attention from people who speculate about unknown periods of evolution and experiments with trump number and order.

In order to keep on the topic of the thread, I should just state, for the record -

THERE ARE NO MARRIAGE DECKS.

If someone would like to show me the commission for a deck of Triumph cards for a wedding, please do.
Image

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#35
mikeh wrote:It also concurs with where Ross puts his dot on his scientific-looking chart.
Here's another scientific-looking chart, this one showing the same amount of absence-ef-evidence time as the time with evidence:


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/chart/Italy15C_2013.jpg

The locations in the left margin are arranged more or less geographically, from south to north. You can plot it instead in ascending order by appearance of data, if you wish. It doesn't matter, and it's not misleading, as long as you know what you're looking at. It's not intended to be particularly scientific-looking, whatever that means - it is, simply and clearly, a chronological chart of the known data about carte da trionfi - some dates are precise, some are estimates, and it is not full towards the high end, but it is very accurately representative of what is known. The earliest documentary dates are exact.

Why so much space of nothing? Because, in the 138 years since Campori brought to light the 1442 Este reference, only a single earlier date has been found - it was of course found (for us) last year by Thierry Depaulis : the Giusto Giusti 1440 reference. In that same 138 years at least half of the other "dots" on the chart have been found, and keep being found.

Yet, in that same time, and for all time before, nothing has been found earlier than 1440, and, for 137 years since Campori, nothing was found earlier than 1442. It's not for want of looking.

And it's not for want of data in the time period of 1395-1440. It is common to defend unfounded theories with the truism "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." It is not - UNLESS we have GOOD REASON TO THINK THERE SHOULD BE EVIDENCE THERE. 45 years - full of evidence; 45 years other way - not a shred of evidence.

There was no great flood that washed away all the evidence from all parts of Italy for the 45 years preceding 1440. This suggests, empirically, that the real conditions underlying this accidental spread of evidence were that the game itself was invented very close to the time it first appears here. Very close, but with a margin of fuzziness. How great a margin?

I suggested, when I first made the chart in 2007, that given the spread of data, with no point separated by more than 5 years from any other point - even within three, depending on the dates of things like the Borromeo fresco and the Visconti cards - that it should have been invented within 5 years of 1442. I bet - I said "I bet" at the time - that if any new evidence were to be found of the game before 1442, it would be within 5 years of 1442.

Lo and behold, and amazingly, given the time since Campori, such a piece of data WAS found, well within the time frame I predicted from the chart, and also in the vicinity that other methods had led us to look at - Florence.

Amazing what you can glean from "scientific-looking" charts.
Image

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#36
I apologize for "scientific-sounding", Ross. Your chart shows something, possibly invention, possibly just when decks were sufficiently numerous, or in the right spots, that the record of some survived. We know that some hand-painted decks didn't survive, that anyone can find, the one recorded by Giusti for instance. We know that the Visconti palace was destroyed and later also the Bentivoglio's in Bologna. Records get destroyed, and decks get lost.

A question: If there are no marriage-related decks, what do you make of the quinces and the fountains that Kaplan referred to as early Sforza devices, on two of the suits, with Visconti devices on the other two, as well as the fountain on the man's chest in the Love card? There is independent attribution of quinces to early Sforza, at
http://www.storiadimilano.it/arte/imprese/Imprese07.htm.

Added later: On your 1437 cut-off date, there is Andrea Vitali's argument for an earlier cut-off, in footnote 12 of http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=107, which seems, in its citations, independent of his particular theory of tarot origin.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#37
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:

In order to keep on the topic of the thread, I should just state, for the record -

THERE ARE NO MARRIAGE DECKS.

If someone would like to show me the commission for a deck of Triumph cards for a wedding, please do.
I do not disagree with you.
I have waited for the sky to fall upon your head, nevertheless.
The problem is.....
In most books on Tarot history(and on the web) you get variations on the theme for the Hand-Painted cards especially the concentration on Marriage as the main theme for the whole deck, based on one card.
Here is a web usual comment.
Most people think that Tarot was brought in from China, India or Egypt. However, according to modern tarot scholars, Tarot was probably introduced by crusaders travelling back to Europe from the Middle East during the 12th century. The most antique set of Tarot cards preserved to this day is a 14th century deck from Italy. The hand-painted cards were a wedding gift from an Italian nobleman to his beloved daughter.
The problem with Proveance on art works, furniture (a usual gift between the families to a wedding) in the 14th and 15th century- is that there is more often nothing to go by, and Museums say words like "probally" and "most likely" as in the case of of cassones, for example. It is sometimes presumed as a wedding gift when it is ceramic dishes with crests as apparently that was usual as a gift, along with somewhat 'erotic' art found in private apartments- Like Botticelli's Primavera.
I guess the same could be said for Tarot in those very expensive handpainted cards.
The problem I have is not so much, the gift aspect, but the reliance on the Lovers card to explain the whole deck.... Like the Tower and the Devil card missing because it would not be nice for a wedding deck; or that cards were for women and children. That is how myths start.
Sorry to make this post so long, as I do not have the ego to have a blog nor the reputation to defend...just my thoughts and mostly they are in the Unicorn Terrace, where ponderings and wanderings are apparently allowed.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#38
mikeh wrote:I apologize for "scientific-sounding", Ross. Your chart shows something, possibly invention, possibly just when decks were sufficiently numerous, or in the right spots, that the record of some survived. We know that some hand-painted decks didn't survive, that anyone can find, the one recorded by Giusti for instance. We know that the Visconti palace was destroyed and later also the Bentivoglio's in Bologna. Records get destroyed, and decks get lost.
Hello Mike,
it seems that we agree that Ross' chart shows that something happened just before 1440: before that date we consistently have nothing, after that date we consistently have documents. No significant change occurred in the rate of destruction of documents before and after 1440, so I don't think this aspect is relevant.

If the something that happened is the invention, we provide an answer to the question "when was tarot invented" that is compatible with the available evidence. So, we have a theory that is supported by the available documentation.

It is possible that "something else" happened just before 1440: for instance, the number of decks was very small before that date, but it had an explosion just before 1440, so that we consistently have documents after that date and none before. This scenario is more complex than what Ross proposes, because it involves two events:
1) the invention of tarot
2) the "something else" (e.g. the "explosion" of the number of decks)
Moreover, it is not a clear theory until a documented date is indicated for the creation, and a clear description and an explanation is provided for the "something else". Given the same explanatory power, a simpler theory is to be preferred. In this case, the simpler theory also seems to explain more.

Vitali's statement that the invention must have occurred twenty years before the earliest document seems to me to be unverifiable, because it is based on the lack of evidence. This theory says that one must expect a twenty/twenty-five years gap between the creation of an artifact and its first documented evidence. But Ross's diagram clearly shows that there are no twenty years gaps in tarot documents.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#39
marco wrote: Vitali's statement that the invention must have occurred twenty years before the earliest document seems to me to be unverifiable, because it is based on the lack of evidence. This theory says that one must expect a twenty/twenty-five years gap between the creation of an artifact and its first documented evidence. But Ross's diagram clearly shows that there are no twenty years gaps in tarot documents.
I must correct my previous post: Vitali presents the 20/25 years statement as an "assumption" ("a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof" - oxforddictionaries.com) or a "conjecture" (i.e. "a proposition that is unproven" - wikipedia). This confirms my impression that the statement is not verifiable (it was not meant to be). In the second sentence of my post, I inappropriately called this statement a "theory" ("a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment" - http://www.nap.edu).

From www.associazioneletarot.it:
"As the oldest known documents about the game of triumphs dates back to 1440 (Florence) and 1442 (Estense Court), by historical assumption they must date back to at least twenty/twenty-five years earlier, a period which matches with the Prince being in Bologna. This type of conjecture, with reference to practice of use, is commonly confirmed by the historians of the middle ages. Specifically, professor Rolando Dondarini, teacher of medieval history at the University of Bologna, is an agreement with the writer."

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#40
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: In order to keep on the topic of the thread, I should just state, for the record -

THERE ARE NO MARRIAGE DECKS.

If someone would like to show me the commission for a deck of Triumph cards for a wedding, please do.
Ross,
Straw man’s argument and you know it. Unless I’ve missed something there is not a single scrap of explicit evidence as to why anyone actually commissioned a triumph deck; Giusti, the only reference to actually state such a deck was commissioned (again, unless I’ve missed something), merely provides the name of the city in which it was made.

But let’s qualify “marriage” – as I have done throughout my posts here – in seeing Triumph decks as essentially a species of propaganda between the likely commissioner, a polity in need of condottiere, and the receivers, the condottiere themselves. Giusti, as his journal constantly reveals, was closely allied with the Medici party and it is impossible to not think of his commission in that city in that context (hence my not unreasonable proposal that he was following suit in mimicking a similar gift from the Medici to Sforza). The CY’s belli likewise underscore an advertised relationship between a polity and a condottiero (as does Sforza’s own Pisanello medal by appending ‘Visconti’ to his own name). Malatesta’s request for triumph cards close to the date most propose for the PMB, c. 1451, is only odd in that he has taken the commissioning into his own hands (assuming the requested deck is for himself). The basic fact about the earliest trionfi - the Anghiari reference and surviving CY and PMB decks (too many trumps missing from the Brambilla to make conclusive statements about that deck) is that they are connected to condottiere. If the CY has been referred to as a “wedding” deck as a matter of convenience it has been done so, at least for me, in the context of it being one of the possibilities of binding a condottiero to a polity (the condotte being the most obvious, if most broken, arrangement). To reiterate, the earliest trionfi celebrate such condotte, whether via marriage of just the condotte itself.

As for “a literary source that no one has yet found” – still working on the draft of that forthcoming post.

Phaeded

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