Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#11
mikeh wrote: I read about Berti's claim on a link that Huck provided, but I haven't gotten around to ordering it on Amazon. (If you don't have it, I'll order it, just for this point!) Does Berti have pictures of the coins? If so, I'd love to see them. A similar claim was made in Andy's Playing Cards, about Filippo's 1936 coins with the "rearing horse" design. But when you compare the coins with the images on the cards, they're only similar, not the same.

I don't deny that there were real coins with that design. I was just saying that the coins might have come after the designs, and so appeared on the cards before the coins were made. You agree with that in your second paragraph. The only issue is how much earlier. Also, according to Andy's Playing Cards, Francesco did in fact issue coins with the same "rearing horse" design in 1450; she has pictures, and they are closer in appearance to the cards than the coins of 1436 are, but still not exact copies. See my post at http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=1999548. So I'd love to see pictures of the 1442 coins.
Hello Mike,
here is a quote from Dummett, which I think might be Berti's source as well:
Michael Dummett wrote:(Il Mondo e l'Angelo, p.46) La maggior parte degli esperti, sebbene non tutti, ritiene che i mazzi Visconti di Modrone e Brambilla siano stati dipinti per Filippo Maria Visconti, e quindi risalgano, al più tardi, al 1447. La ragione più valida per questa ipotesi è che che, in entrambi i mazzi, i segni di seme di Denari presentano ora l'una , ora l'altra faccia di un'autentica moneta, il fiorino d'oro di Filippo Maria che reca il suo nome; questo tratto estremamente inconsueto non compare nel mazzo Visconti-Sforza. Nel mazzo Brambilla esso compare su tutte le carte superstiti del seme di Denari (Cavallo e Fante, dall'Asso al 3 e dal 5 al 10); nel mazzo Visconti di Modrone, si trova sulle carte dal 4 al 10, ma non sull'Asso e sul 2 o su alcuna delle figure (il 3 manca).
(footnote 7:) La tecnica di queste rappresentazioni del fiorino di Filippo Maria rimane un mistero. Pare evidente che sono state fatte per mezzo di un autentico conio, ma i numismatici ci assicurano che le immagini sulle carte sono più grandi della moneta stessa; forse l'artista usò il conio per una medaglia.
I always feel ashamed when translating Dummett into my poor English, but here it is:

Most, but not all, experts maintain that the Visconti di Modrone and Brambilla decks have been painted for Filippo Maria Visconti, so they date to no later than 1447. The most valid reason for this hypothesis is that, in both decks, the signs of the suit of Coins present now one, now the other face of an authentic coin, the golden fiorino of Filippo Maria, bearing his name; this extremely unusual feature does not appear in the Visconti-Sforza deck. In the Brambilla deck, it appears in all the surviving cards of the suit of Coins (Knight and Page, from Ace to 3 and from 5 to 10); in the Visconti di Modrone deck, it appears on cards from 4 to 10, but not on the Ace and 2 or any of the court cards (the 3 is missing).
(footnote 7:) The technique of these representations of the golden fiorino of Filippo Maria is still a mystery. It seems clear that they were made by means of an authentic coinage, but the numismatics assure us that the images on the cards are larger than the coin itself; possibly the artist used the coining stamp (conio) for a medal.


Good images of the coins are avilable on moneymuseum.com.

I attach a couple of processed details from the Yale library site. I think that "Maria" can be read on the side of the coin with the Knight, and FI MA on the reverse.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#13
Mikeh,
I don't own the Berti book and nothing more to add to what Marco provided (thank you Marco).
Mikeh wrote:
I don't understand your point about the Fleur de Lys. If the Cary-Yale was an exact copy of an earlier deck, done before Galeazzo Maria was born, there is no reason why it should have any devices of Bona's. I agree that the probability of Galeazzo Maria's having made such a commemorative deck is rather low, compared to other possibilities.
Who said anything about an exact copy? The CY would have adapted the themes of the Virtues and exemplars/antitypes, but otherwise embellished the deck with the commissioner and/or receiver’s belli, to use Giusti’s word. In fact Giusti seems to be telling us the only thing would be changed in the "Anghiari" production of decks were the coat of arms. If the red banners with white crosses on the CY “Love” tent refer to Bona of Savoy where is her major belli, the fleur-de-lys (especially when other works for Galeazzo feature the fleur)? Given the date of the CY coins, discussing this deck as any earlier than 1441 seems pointless (and you are not making the deck seem older than 1441 by placing current coins into it), and if later, 1468, why no fleur de lys?

IF the 14 paintings given to Bianca on 1-1-1441 were a trionfi series then I would think the then-allied d’Este and Visconti (both having lost vs. Florence/Venice in 1440) would have had a shared interest, allowing for the latter’s CY to closely follow the d’Este deck….but Visconti/d’Este decks would have been extremely nuanced versions (if not an outright “rebuttal” of sorts) of the ur-Florentine deck, particularly where belli and civic coat of arms come into play. The putative d’Este deck aside (a “wooing” deck), the key difference being in how each deck – the Anghiari and CY - advertised the given city’s relationship to the most prominent condottiero of the day (again, I hypothesize a Medici deck celebrating Anghiari, inclusive of a likely “grandi” deck for Sforza, with Giusti commissioning a version of either for the lesser condottiero of Malatesta, but both condottiere were allies of Venice/Florence/Pope in 1440 so both likely recipients of gifts from Florence). I would see the Anghiari deck’s Chariot (“chastity”) holding out the florin, not the Visconti sunburst (just one means of the latter in being a rebuttal – Sforza was now taking Visconti fiorino instead of Cosimo’s florins).

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#14
Marco: well, I hadn't read that particular passage you translated. I only know what Dummett said in The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards (1986), which I have read over and over for years (p. 12):
These two packs [the Brambilla and Visconti di Modrone] are generally thought to have been painted for Filippo Maria Visconi because, in the Brambilla pack, the sign of the coins suit was made from actual imprints of both sides of a coin issued by the duke; the same is true of the Visconti di Madrone pack except for the ace, the 2, and the court cards.
Dummett doesn't say when these coins started being made. I thought it was 1436 that they started to go into circulation (I think Tolfo said that on the "Storia di Milano" website).And Filippo may have had the design made even earlier, perhaps for the deck, to see how they looked, and then delayed issuing the coins for some reason. So earlier than 1436.

Another problem is that the designs on the coin that Huck posted don't exactly match the designs on the cards, even allowing for differences in size. Here the Visconti coin is top right, Cary-Yale top left, and Brera-Brambilla bottom. (I linked to this picture earlier, but I suppose I should have copied it in the post here.)
Image
The clearest difference is that the card's horse's legs extend out from its body in front of it more, making less of a a bend in the knees, compared to the real coin. The card's rider also holds his arm out more, on the other side of the image. And I think Filippo's rider stands up straighter in the saddle, whereas the rider on the card leans forward a bit, as would be expected on a rearing horse.
Image
What do people think?

It seems to me that the card's rearing horse is more dramatic, made by an artist, while the die for the coin was made by somebody else, a technician thinking he was copying the artist's design. If coin experts--or others, such as people on the Forum--think otherwise, I would be interested in hearing their explanations and learning from them how to look at coin images (just as I learn from art historians how to look at art and relate it to texts and other art).

However, Filippo may have had his coins redesigned in 1442 or so; that's what I thought Berti meant, which would indeed be interesting. Those might have matched the coin-images better.

Dummett also doesn't address the issue of when Filippo's coins went out of circulation.. It would have taken some time for Sforza to get his own coins made. That's another reason for looking at Berti's evidence, if he says that they were immediately taken out. And Francesco might have wanted to use the design from Filippo's coins--including Filippo's name--in their revised design, for a deck of his own issued especially to show the continuity of his regime with the Visconti regime, perhaps even put on display and even represented as a present from Filippo (another forgery). He did apparently use Filippo's design on his own coins at first--with his own motto, to be sure. And the design on Francesco's coins looks a bit more like the design on the cards than Filippo's old designs. You can see that below. Francesco's coin, which I copied from Andy's playing cards (http://l-pollett.tripod.com/cards31.htm), is on the upper right.
Image
As I said, it would be very interesting, if Berti has a picture of the 1442 coins. Does anybody know? It might help put better limits on when those particular pieces of paper now in New Haven were painted with the designs they now have--although how long CY-type triumph cards had been around is another matter.

Phaeded wrote,
Who said anything about an exact copy?

Phaeded, I have been saying "exact copy"--or at least I meant to--all along, for 1468. It wouldn't work otherwise, I totally agree.

I would say that for Leonello to give Bianca Maria a wooing present consisting of 14 cards modeled on a deck already made for his half-brother's captors and his chief rival (or someone else in that camp), celebrating that side's victory over the girl's father, thereby expecting to get the girl to be so impressed as to break off the engagement to said rival, would be pretty stupid, Who would want to to marry an imitator whose main concern is to one-up his competition, and who does so in such an uncreative way? You underestimate Leonello. (Wikipedia says, with ample evidence, "Leonello was a skilled politician and was responsible of the construction of the first hospital of Ferrara. But he distinguished himself chiefly as a man of culture." He was highly cultured and innovative in the art he sponsored.) I don't think Filippo would be impressed with such a stunt either. The nobility does not imitate commoners, I imagine him saying disdainfully.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#15
mikeh wrote: Another problem is that the designs on the coin that Huck posted don't exactly match the designs on the cards, even allowing for differences in size. Here the Visconti coin is top right, Cary-Yale top left, and Brera-Brambilla bottom. (I linked to this picture earlier, but I suppose I should have copied it in the post here.)

Image


The clearest difference is that the card's horse's legs extend out from its body in front of it more, making less of a a bend in the knees, compared to the real coin. The card's rider also holds his arm out more, on the other side of the image. And I think Filippo's rider stands up straighter in the saddle, whereas the rider on the card leans forward a bit, as would be expected on a rearing horse.

Image

What do people think?
I think Dummett's explanation is excellent: the coinage used for the cards was a copy of the actual fiorino. It is quite possible that the medal used for the cards and the coins were made by different artists. The fact that manual copies of a 2 cm wide coin are slightly different does not seem surprising to me.

For the Visconti di Modrone and Brambilla decks, we are lucky enough to have the name of the commissioner written on the cards (in the coins): Filippo Maria. It is theoretically possible that the decks were made for someone else, but how likely is this? 1%? The fact that "Filippo Maria" is written on the cards directly points to the decks having being made for him. I cannot think of a simpler (and so more convincing) explanation.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#16
mikeh wrote: Phaeded wrote,
Who said anything about an exact copy?

Phaeded, I have been saying "exact copy"--or at least I meant to--all along, for 1468. It wouldn't work otherwise, I totally agree.

I would say that for Leonello to give Bianca Maria a wooing present consisting of 14 cards modeled on a deck already made for his half-brother's captors and his chief rival (or someone else in that camp), celebrating that side's victory over the girl's father, thereby expecting to get the girl to be so impressed as to break off the engagement to said rival, would be pretty stupid, Who would want to to marry an imitator whose main concern is to one-up his competition, and who does so in such an uncreative way? You underestimate Leonello. (Wikipedia says, with ample evidence, "Leonello was a skilled politician and was responsible of the construction of the first hospital of Ferrara. But he distinguished himself chiefly as a man of culture." He was highly cultured and innovative in the art he sponsored.) I don't think Filippo would be impressed with such a stunt either. The nobility does not imitate commoners, I imagine him saying disdainfully.
By 1440 Florence was the acknowledged capital of Italian arts (Giotto, Massacio, Donatello, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi) and letters (Dante, Petrarch, Boccacio) - absolutely zero shame in commissioning a Florentine artist or imitating one. To appropriate the trionfi is no more odd than Montefeltro insisting on the delivery of his illuminated Florentine bible masterpiece from Lorenzo de Medici...after his involvment in the Pazzi Conspiracy in that same year in which Lorenzo was almost assasinated and his brother in fact was (1478).

But you are missing the key difference between the Anghiari and Ferrara/CY decks - the former merely advertized Sforza was allied with and in the Medici/Florentine's pay...Ferrara and Milan one-up that by throwing in the most valuable commodity of all: dynastic intermarriage. The key is the Love/Lovers card. My hypothetical reconstruction of the Anghiari deck sees a card very similar to the Florentine CVI Love card where a civic dance is celebrated with multiple couples - the Ferrara/CY (assuming those two were quite similar on this point) feature a marriage. This is a fundamental change in one deck type to the next and not a mere imitation.
Image
Image


Also, there is no way the CY version of the Death card is in the Anghiari deck when the Pope lived in Florence (although clericals with death was a traditional option, not one likley to be used with the pope in town and papal armies allied with Florence). Visconti, with their heretic cult of Manfreda and enemy of the pope in 1440 would have shown the pope and his cardinals brought low; the Anghiari deck would have used a generic death image more like in the PMB; hence both the Love and Death cards are examples of the CY being a "rebuttal" deck:
Image
Image

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#17
Marco wrote
I think Dummett's explanation is excellent: the coinage used for the cards was a copy of the actual fiorino. It is quite possible that the medal used for the cards and the coins were made by different artists. The fact that manual copies of a 2 cm wide coin are slightly different does not seem surprising to me.

For the Visconti di Modrone and Brambilla decks, we are lucky enough to have the name of the commissioner written on the cards (in the coins): Filippo Maria. It is theoretically possible that the decks were made for someone else, but how likely is this? 1%? The fact that "Filippo Maria" is written on the cards directly points to the decks having being made for him. I cannot think of a simpler (and so more convincing) explanation.
I'm glad you recognize that they didn't use the die for the coins to make the pictures of coins on the cards. I thought that was what Dummett was saying, at least in the quote you translated. I have two comments. First, Dummett didn't try to use the coins to establish an earliest possible date for the cards. He just said, sometime while Filippo was Duke. Phaeded was trying to argue that the coins show that since the coins started being made in 1442, the cards couldn't be earlier than the dies, i.e. around 1441. But we have no idea from Dummett when the coins started being made. Also, we don't know whether the cards copied the coins or the coins copied the cards, if they were different artists. So the cards could have been years before the coins started being made. Filippo might have had the suit of coins made that way so he could see how they looked before he made actual coins, and then there were delays for various reasons.

I realize that this is not the simplest explanation. But human behavior doesn't always work by the simplest means. Complications arise, old ideas get in the way, etc. When Kepler formulated the correct account of the orbits of the planets, he was trying to verify Pythagorean "Harmony of the Spheres," a totally unnecessary idea. It would have been simpler if he hadn't been a Pythagorean. We work by trial and error, stumbling in the dark rather than going on the simplest path, as though we knew where we were going.

Second comment: we don't know what the probability is that Francesco would have made a deck using the Visconti name on its coin cards. Francesco was eager to show the continuity of his regime with the preceding. He used Filippo's horse design on his own coins (obviously not with Filippo's name, since these are coins of the realm, his realm). He might have had a deck very much like the CY and lost it in his travels. But he needs it, to show how Filippo saw his line uniting with the Sforza line. So he has another made, so people will see. He either says it is the one that was given to the couple, or he says it is just like that one. And there may never have even been such a deck, and he just lies. Who's to say there wasn't one? If he can forge a will, he can forge a tarot deck even more easily. The probability of the one is pretty much the same as the probability of the other. It's an exhibition piece, to show what Filippo's intentions were.

I agree that the simplest thing is that it was made in either 1441 (event: marriage) or 1444 (event: christening of Galeazzo Maria). At other times, Filippo and he were on different sides. I think 1444 is the most probable, based on what Berti says, but I haven't read Berti. But we have to keep aware of all the possibilities. It wouldn't be scientific otherwise. (Galileo, for example, ruled out that the moon exerted any influence on the tides, because it sounded to him like astrology.) We can't yet rule out that the CY or something like it was a betrothal present, before 1435. We especially can't rule out that a CY-type deck had been around for years, and the CY and Brera-Brambilla are two examples of that type, to be sure with different numbers of suit cards and different styles of swords, maybe even a different number of trumps. I am talking about the days before tarot was a commodity, perhaps before the word "triumphs" described cards, We can't rule out such days, just because they don't show up in account books.

Phaeded wrote:
...Ferrara and Milan one-up that by throwing in the most valuable commodity of all: dynastic intermarriage.The key is the Love/Lovers card. My hypothetical reconstruction of the Anghiari deck sees a card very similar to the Florentine CVI Love card where a civic dance is celebrated with multiple couples - the Ferrara/CY (assuming those two were quite similar on this point) feature a marriage.
I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. I get that the civic dance is supposed to signify the victory celebration in Anghiari, where everybody dances, and it's not about marriage. So how does the CY/Ferrara celebrate an interdynastic marriage in particular? Is it the flags at the top, which in the CY are Visconti and something else, Pavia, you say? Hmm. That's not very interdynastic. It would be if they were Visconti and Savoy. Is it the Visconti flags plus the fountain on the man's chest? That makes more sense. Are you then assuming that the Ferrara version would have Visconti plus d'Este banners, and a Ferrara device on the man's chest? Or just that it was one couple, the man bowing to the woman (which doesn't in itself seem very interdynastic, except in the sense that all marriages are combinations of two families). I want to make sure I understand.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#18
mikeh wrote: Phaeded wrote:
...Ferrara and Milan one-up that by throwing in the most valuable commodity of all: dynastic intermarriage.The key is the Love/Lovers card. My hypothetical reconstruction of the Anghiari deck sees a card very similar to the Florentine CVI Love card where a civic dance is celebrated with multiple couples - the Ferrara/CY (assuming those two were quite similar on this point) feature a marriage.
I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. I get that the civic dance is supposed to signify the victory celebration in Angieri, where everybody dances, and it's not about marriage. So how does the CY/Ferrara celebrate an interdynastic marriage in particular? Is it the flags at the top, which in the CY are Visconti and something else, Pavia, you say? Hmm. That's not very interdynastic. It would be if they were Visconti and Savoy. Is it the Visconti flags plus the fountain on the man's chest? That makes more sense. Are you then assuming that the Ferrara version would have Visconti plus d'Este banners, and a Ferrara device on the man's chest? Or just that it was one couple, the man bowing to the woman (which doesn't in itself seem very interdynastic, except in the sense that all marriages are combinations of two families). I want to make sure I understand.
The four suits/court cards of the CY feature two with Visconti emblems on their dress (cups/ducal crown and coins/turledoves-radiant sun) and two with Sforza (batons/fountain and swords/quince-pomegranate). In the Love card the male is leaning forward/bowing towards the columnar female - he is being welcomed into the Visconti realm, symbolized by the Visconti court at Pavia and their main symbol of the snake, both on the tent. Bianca was not receiving the Marche of Ancona; Sforza is the gracious one with a benefice/dowry being bestowed on him. The hypothesized Ferrara deck would have intermixed Visconti symbols with d'Este symbols (perhaps divided evenly between the card suits such as we find in the CY deck; the Ferrarese Love card may have followed the Florentine model as it was not a marriage per se but two wooing suitors instead - so perhaps 2 dancing couples with a blind eros hovering above).

Back to the CY Chariot/"Chastity" card; I think this wiki entry on the Florin shows just how much a rebuttal the CY deck was to an original Florentine one:
The Italian florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard. The "fiorino d'oro" of the Republic of Florence was the first European gold coin struck in sufficient quantities to play a significant commercial role since the seventh century. As many Florentine banks were international supercompanies with branches across Europe, the florin quickly became the dominant trade coin of Western Europe for large scale transactions, replacing silver bars in multiples of the mark (a weight unit equal to eight troy ounces). In the fourteenth century, a hundred and fifty European states and local coin issuing authorities made their own copies of the florin. The design of the original Florentine florins was the distinctive fleur de lis badge of the city on one side and on the other a standing facing figure of St. John the Baptist wearing a hair shirt. On other countries' florins, first the inscriptions were changed (from "Florentia" around the fleur, and the name of the saint on the other), then local heraldic devices were substituted for the fleur de lis.


Visconti does not merely replace the Florentine florin with his own (which he does in the coin suit) but also adds one of his family's personal devices - the radiant sun/sunburst combined with turtledove (hinting at Holy Ghost/Manfreda cult?) - on the coin being offered by the woman upon the chariot. That radiant sun is the cental window medallion in the apse wall in Milan's duomo - nothing could have bespoke more of Milanese civic pride and for whom the lady of the chariot "speaks" (every card of the CY is tooled with this in the background):
Image


Florence as Lily (and by implication, the florin embossed with the fleur-de-lis) goes back to at least this allegory of Florentia from 1335, countered by the Visconti CY chariot:
Image
Image

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#19
As a follow-up to the breakdown of the four suits by Visconti and Sforza symbols, I think the King and Queen of Coins (with turtledoves on dress) should be re-examined in light of their close approximation to the woman on the chariot.

The queen bestows the coin, much like the chariot, but to a receiving page:
Image


But the King of coins is instead offered the coin by the page and rejects it with hand and by looking away; why? I think it clearly shows the somewhat mad Filippo, living up to his reputation here as petty and paranoid,overstating his position as the giver and not as the receiver. The deck and dowry were intended for someone else (I do believe he created the Brambilla for himself and explains the differences in that deck). The fact that Filippo already possesess the coin of the realm seems underscored by the fact that another coin has been placed below the throne on the King of Coins:
Image


Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#20
mikeh wrote: I'm glad you recognize that they didn't use the die for the coins to make the pictures of coins on the cards. I thought that was what Dummett was saying, at least in the quote you translated.
Hello Mike, I guess this is a problem with my poor English: I am sorry I have given the impression of having a personal opinion on how the coins in the Visconti di Modrone and Brambilla decks were produced.
Dummett wrote that the coins on the cards were not derived “mechanically” from the actual fiorino, because the suit signs are larger than the actual coins. He thought that maybe the die for a medal similar to the fiorino (but larger) was used for the cards.
mikeh wrote:I have two comments. First, Dummett didn't try to use the coins to establish an earliest possible date for the cards. He just said, sometime while Filippo was Duke. Phaeded was trying to argue that the coins show that since the coins started being made in 1442, the cards couldn't be earlier than the dies, i.e. around 1441. But we have no idea from Dummett when the coins started being made.
Yes, Dummett does not say anything about the date in which the fiorino was first made. Berti says it was first produced in 1442. Sandrina Bandera (the director of the Brera Museum in Milan), on the basis of her stylistic analysis, is of the opinion that the Visconti di Modrone and Brambilla decks were painted after 1443 and before 1447 (“Tarocchi Viscontei”, 1991, p.27).

I am in great trouble following your arguments on the following points. I will try to make my perplexities clear, but I doubt I will manage to make myself understood. I think I am losing my grip on what is being discussed here.
mikeh wrote:Also, we don't know whether the cards copied the coins or the coins copied the cards, if they were different artists. So the cards could have been years before the coins started being made. Filippo might have had the suit of coins made that way so he could see how they looked before he made actual coins, and then there were delays for various reasons.
I realize that this is not the simplest explanation. But human behavior doesn't always work by the simplest means. Complications arise, old ideas get in the way, etc. When Kepler formulated the correct account of the orbits of the planets, he was trying to verify Pythagorean "Harmony of the Spheres," a totally unnecessary idea. It would have been simpler if he hadn't been a Pythagorean. We work by trial and error, stumbling in the dark rather than going on the simplest path, as though we knew where we were going.
The simplest explanation is not always the best one. But, if I have to choose among different explanations, I go for the simplest one, unless a more complex one buys me something more. An illuminated tarot deck commissioned to have a preview of the look of some coins. How likely is this? What does this weird idea buy me?
mikeh wrote:Second comment: we don't know what the probability is that Francesco would have made a deck using the Visconti name on its coin cards. Francesco was eager to show the continuity of his regime with the preceding. He used Filippo's horse design on his own coins (obviously not with Filippo's name, since these are coins of the realm, his realm). He might have had a deck very much like the CY and lost it in his travels. But he needs it, to show how Filippo saw his line uniting with the Sforza line. So he has another made, so people will see. He either says it is the one that was given to the couple, or he says it is just like that one. And there may never have even been such a deck, and he just lies. Who's to say there wasn't one? If he can forge a will, he can forge a tarot deck even more easily. The probability of the one is pretty much the same as the probability of the other. It's an exhibition piece, to show what Filippo's intentions were.
Yes, the Visconti di Modrone deck can be forgery, as any other supposedly ancient deck. How likely is this? I think we must be VERY careful when we dismiss evidence as forgery, or we will go stumbling in the dark forever.
Dismissing evidence is easy. What is difficult is proposing simple theories that take into account all the available evidence.
mikeh wrote:I agree that the simplest thing is that it was made in either 1441 (event: marriage) or 1444 (event: christening of Galeazzo Maria). At other times, Filippo and he were on different sides. I think 1444 is the most probable, based on what Berti says, but I haven't read Berti. But we have to keep aware of all the possibilities. It wouldn't be scientific otherwise. (Galileo, for example, ruled out that the moon exerted any influence on the tides, because it sounded to him like astrology.) We can't yet rule out that the CY or something like it was a betrothal present, before 1435. We especially can't rule out that a CY-type deck had been around for years, and the CY and Brera-Brambilla are two examples of that type, to be sure with different numbers of suit cards and different styles of swords, maybe even a different number of trumps. I am talking about the days before tarot was a commodity, perhaps before the word "triumphs" described cards, We can't rule out such days, just because they don't show up in account books.
We cannot rule out that tarot was invented in ancient Egypt. Tomorrow a fifth centuries BC papyrus may show up providing convincing evidence that this is the case. We cannot be aware of all the possibilities, because the possibilities are infinite and our minds are finite. I try to rule out as little as possible, but if I must give up simplicity I must have something equally important in exchange.
The “before 1435 CY-type deck” you mention is a possibility, but it seems to me a good example of what Michael J. Hurst calls a Russell's teapot. A  teapot  orbiting the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars is a possibility: what does it buy me?

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