Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

I hate to ask you to spill more virtual ink here after that yeoman’s work of a post (wow! – still digesting it), but do you care to take a stab at these juxtaposed quotes from your post and the PMB image below to see if there is any correlation (not sure if I am reaching here)?

“In the miniature on folio 380, Saint Ursula herself wears a gown embellished with crescent moons, a reiteration of the theme of chastity.”
“A slip-knotted cloth, like that of Weneceslaus, became a device of Giangaleazzo’s son, Filippo Maria.”


[again, just one level of meaning for a card, but one that has possibly been overlooked]

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Very nice, Phaeded. It goes with the bridle, too (restraint, usually associated with temperance), first pointed out, I think, by Marco somewhere (but now I can't find it). Numerous pictorial examples in the "Moon" and "Temperance" threads in Bianca's Garden.

Ross wrote
When considering the appropriateness of positing a Petrarchan influence, if not inspiration, for the Tarot trump sequence, I think we have to remember that it seems, from what we know (us here, that is), that when the sequence was invented some time before 1440 the Trionfi poem was not yet widely known, and the canonical iconography, like that seen on the cassoni and in fully illustrated manuscripts, had not yet been developed. It seems that the reputation of the poem was known, but probably not its details - including, perhaps, the exact number and sequence of the six poems that Petrarch intended. People, like those who commissioned the artists or even the inventors of the game, may have had one or two poems of the cycle, or even just a notion that "Petrarch wrote Triumphs", without knowing anything else. The date of the final, "standard edition", is not yet settled, to our knowledge, is it?
My guess would be that the "standard edition" would be that published by Aldus and edited by Pietro Bembo in around 1503. I read somewhere that he consulted the autograph. I suspect that early Venetian editions probably copied the same source. I have been trying without success to get the provenance of the autograph, which I think is now in the Vatican. (Andrea says he knows a professor in Rome who might know; but I haven't heard anything.) However I have been able to verify pre-1440 manuscripts of the Trionfi that look to my untutored eye to be fairly complete. Webb, 1975, gives fairly detailed descriptions of the contents of seven such manuscripts now in the British Isles (the range of his inventory). See my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=868&start=80, already noted in the present thread by Michael. I would be happy to send you scans of relevant pages. In addition, Hatch Wilkins, 1947, lists one additional manuscript, stating the place (Ferrara) and date (1434) but not much else, other than its US whereabouts; see my post at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=858&p=13316&hilit=Wilkins#p13316. It would be good to put together a list of such manuscripts in the libraries of various countries. In your area, Pelegrin's Manuscrits de Petrarque dans les bibliotheques de France, Padova 1960, would be the place to go. There are also several such recent inventories in German, for libraries in Germany and Switzerland. I will try to get the one by Ullman for the US, later than Wilkins. Of course there are many more manuscripts after 1440 than before.

As for variations in wording between manuscripts, one issue is Petrarch's revisions. So far I have only found discussion of revisions to the Triumph of Fame, by Hatch Wilkins. I notice also that in some of Webb's detailed descriptions of the contents, that Triumph appears twice, in addition to listings of different parts of it. It is known that Petrarch considerably altered and expanded that part starting in the 1350s. So I would guess, pending further research, that the Triumphs of Love and Chastity would be fairly consistent among 15th century manuscripts.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

mikeh wrote: Now for the bird. The dove as love, in relation to how the card embodies Petrarchan Chastity, it is conventional enough. There is the Holy Spirit as divine love, as I think Michael has remarked. Also, in Marziano's "game of the gods" the suit of Doves was headed by Venus, goddess of love (both chaste and unchaste). Venus's chariot was sometimes led by doves (e.g. Titian's "Venus and Adonis"). But in fact the bird is not a dove, a columba; it is turtuem, in English, turtledove. This bird is the one associated with the motto and the ray not only in the letter by Petrarch, but in a relevant song in French of the time by Johannes Ciconia. See ... &q&f=false. I owe this reference to Cerulean at ... ostcount=7.
Hello Mike,
the dove / turtle-dove point is worth considering. It is interesting that these similar birds had more or less opposite meanings (as in Marziano's deck, as you note).

Ciconia's song is on youtube :)

Le ray au soleyl qui dret som karmeyne
En soy bracant la douce tortorelle
Laquel compagnon onques renovelle
A bon droyt sembla que en toy perfect reyne.

The ray of sunlight, in whose true enchantment
sleeps the sweet turtledove – in his embrace –
ever rejuvenates that beloved one;
faithfully makes his appearance in your perfect kingdom.

More madrigals derived from that emblem (including one titled “Alba Colomba”, 1392) are discussed in this Phd thesis about ”Heraldry in the Trecento Madrigal”.
mikeh wrote:Very nice, Phaeded. It goes with the bridle, too (restraint, usually associated with temperance), first pointed out, I think, by Marco somewhere (but now I can't find it).
Yes Phaeded and Mike, we discussed the white girdle in the Moon thread. That time we came to that detail going through the Schifanoia frescoes. The heraldic knots that you are now discussing seem to me a more pertinent parallel.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

marco wrote:
mikeh wrote:Very nice, Phaeded. It goes with the bridle, too (restraint, usually associated with temperance), first pointed out, I think, by Marco somewhere (but now I can't find it).
Yes Phaeded and Mike, we discussed the white girdle in the Moon thread. That time we came to that detail going through the Schifanoia frescoes. The heraldic knots that you are now discussing seem to me a more pertinent parallel.
I don't want to divert this thread (and want to get back to Mikeh's larger post) so I'll try to be brief here: I don't think the girdle contradicts the heraldric knot and chastity theme in any way, but I'd like to point out the Florentine and Milanese contexts for the girdle in light of the earliest tarot production:
* The Prato cathedral pulpit where the virgin's girdle was annually shown was decorated by Donatello between 1428 and 1438, thus fresh in the minds of those who came up with the ur-tarot (and yes I know Mikeh is pointing to Milan as also a possibility for the ur-tarot, but that leads me to....)
* The rope tied around St. George's dragon that goes to the maiden's girdle he is saving has obvious Marian parallels (she too conquers a serpent but under foot), but the girdle is not a universally depicted theme in St. George paintings. However I have found that Milan consistently shows this detail (e.g., in a wall fresco preserved in the Sforza Castle museum and in the Visconti Hours). The significance of the dragon and moon I'll discuss elsewhere (lunar nodes), and can't find the beautiful Visconti Hours' St. George/dragon on-line but here is perhaps the most famous depiction showing the girdle, Uccello's (1470):

Like most courts, the Visconti and Sforza reverenced St. George. Some early Visconti formed a Compagnie di San Giorgio and then from Barbiano's own company of the same name descended practically every condottiere we know about in the quattrocento, including Muzio Sforza. Connecting the heraldric knot and the girdle of Mary/St. George's maiden-dragon would not have been out of the question in this chivalric context (knights organized under St. George).


Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Phaeded wrote: * The Prato catherdral pulpit where the virgin's girdle was annually shown was decorated by Donatello between 1428 and 1438, thus fresh in the minds of those who came up with the ur-tarot (and yes I know Mikeh is pointing to Milan as also a possibility for the ur-tarot, but that leads me to....
Hello Phaeded,
I had not thought of the St.Mary's girdle. I can see the connection with the virginity of the Moon.
Phaeded wrote: * The rope tied around St. George's dragon that goes to the maiden's girdle he is saving has obvious Marian parallels (she too conquers a serpent but under foot), but the girdle is not a universally depicted theme. However I have found that Milan consistently shows this detail (e.g., in a wall fresco preserved in the Sforza Castle museum and in the Visconti Hours). The significance of the dragon and moon I'll discuss elsewhere (lunar nodes), and can't find the beautiful Visconti Hours' St. George/dragon on-line but here is perhaps the most famous depiction showing the girdle, Uccello's (1470):
I love Paolo's painting, but I don't think the connection with Mary or the Moon's girdle is so obvious. Though I see that there's a moon in the sky, something I never noticed before.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Thanks, Marco, girdle. No wonder I couldn't find it. Somehow I was thinking "bridle". Well, we don't need to go there; let's stick with girdles and knots. I'm glad that's a focus right now, as opposed to dowries and chastity, because knots are Kirsch's main introductory example to illustrate her concept of the "para-heraldic personal device" (p. 23) as a "multivalent signifier" (p. 24) in 14th century courts. That's something on which it is important to understand her perspective (especially the sentence about the "multivalent signifier"); in this her main example is the knot. Rather than type it all out, I have scanned the rest of her discussion of that topic, pp. 23-24, and also the relevant page of illustrations, Figs. 35-37. For those with limited time or English, I don't think it's necessary to read the footnotes. Start on line 5 of p. 23. And click on the image to make it bigger. ... schP23.JPG ... schP24.JPG ... g35-37.JPG

The text corresponding to Fig. 35 is something I left out of my previous post, because it was about a French illustration not directly connected with the Visconti. Since I've given the illustration, here is what she says about it, on p. 22. It introduces the passage about the "Mass of St. Nicholas" illustration that I quoted:
Knots, accompanied by interlaced initials, commonly symbolized marriage in late medieval and Renaissance painting. Often, as in the lower border of a page from the fifteenth-century Livre des echecs amoureux of Antoine Rollin and Marie d'Ailly (Fig. 35), the initials were themselves interlaced with a three-looped lovers' knot. In the right border of the same page, however, the initials A and M, interlaced only with one another, are paired with knots (in this case knotted dogs' leashes), as in Lat. 757. (28) (Footnote 28: Paris, Bibl. nat., Fr. 9197, folio 202. On this manuscript, see M. B. Freeman, The Unicorn Tapestries, New York, 1976, 167 and fig. 209.)
One other observation, about knots in the CY and PMB. I could find no examples of knots in the CY. In the PMB, Temperance has one. The Star lady has her arm in the way, so we can't see. The Popess has one. I haven't checked the Courts, as I can't remember where I put my book with them in it.

On a personal note, let me be clear that I have long since postponed identifying myself with a particular theory as to the origin of the tarot. I entertain perspectives and hypotheses, hoping that eventually, through research and discussion, some will become extinct and others will unite.

In this thread I am entertaining the perspective of Visconti marriage commemorations, in which the knot has a place (among other "signifiers"). It is a subject on which Kirsch has more to say. I proceed step by step. I will include only what I think should be included, along with my thoughts relating it to the cards; if there are questions, I will look to see if she has the answer in what I didn't include. Feel free to interrupt (as I hope and trust you will); there's no rush.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

I have one more example, from the same missal as the others I showed in my "dowry" vs. "chastity" post, illustration of the theme of chastity. This is what she calls a Madonna of Humility surrounded by saints and the kneeling Giangaleazzo. ... hFig49.jpg

The fence in the lower left is the "signifier" in question. Kirsch says (p. 30):
The theme of chastity is introduced through the conspicuous bit of fencing in the lower left of the miniature, an allusion to Mary as the hortus conclusus.
Kirsch speculates that the crowned female saint in the middle making the shape of a circle with her thumb and forefinger is St. Catherine of Alexandria. She does not say why, but I imagine it is because the circle was often associated with her, as the wheel on which she was martyred. The Virgin makes a similar circle, and likewise one of the "several virgins" of an illumination that I showed before. Kirsch says that this symbol, making a circle with thumb and forefinger, appears often in this Giangaleazzo manuscripts; another example is Gabriel in the Annunciation on folio 84.

You will have noticed the date "c. 1380." It is the same for all the illuminations that I showed in my earlier post as well. What is the significance? Kirsch goes on:
The presence of Saint Catherina and the Madonna of Humility, as well as the emphasis upon chastity, is entirely appropriate for a manuscript intended as a gift from Giangaleazzo to Caterina on the occasion of their marriage. One of the many forms of assistance for which Saint Christopher was invoked was protection against sudden death. To Giangaleazzo, whose first wife had died in childbirth when she was twenty-three, this invocation would have been particularly meaningful.
St. Christopher is the one with the Christ-child on his shoulders. That the missal now called Smith-Lesouef 22 was done in c. 1380 is also shown by two computational tables showing the dates of Easter one for each of Smith-Lesouef 22 and Lat. 757. Both start in 1380. The one in Lat. 757 is by decades, so it might have been that the date was chosen for that reason, but the one in Smith-Lesouef 22 is "organized by lustrum rather than by decade" (whatever that means) (p. 28). It could have begun as late as 1390. Yet it in fact starts in 1380. That it was given to Caterina gets further support by the fact that it was "in the hands of Bianca Maria Sforza, Caterina's granddaughter, in the early 1460s" (p. 31): it is a book for women handed down the female line.

Now I get to wedding portraits and marriage portraits. The wedding portrait is in Lat. 757, made for Giangaleazzo in c. 1380. Here it is (Kirsch's whole fig. 51, is in the first link; the whole frontispiece is in the second link; the relevant part is below): ... hFig51.jpg ... hFront.JPG

Kirsch says:
It has not previously been observed that the owner of Lat. 757, again clad in scarlet trimmed with white fur, reappears in the miniature that introduces the Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on folio 258 (Frontispiece, Fig. 51). Here, with other noblemen, he kneels at the right of the Madonna of Mercy. In a parallel position, at the left of the Madonna, is a woman distinguished from those behind her by her white gown and unbound hair, a symbol of maidenhood. The implication that this is a portrait of Giangaleazzo and Caterina Visconti on the occasion of their marriage in 1380 is reinforced by the miniature on folio 176 of he Coronation Missal (Fig. 48) of the Coronation Missal (Fig. 48), in which Giangaleazzo, now in ducal regalia, and Caterina, likewise accompanied by nobles and ladies, also worship the Madonna of Mercy, who here, as in Lat. 757, is adored by angels (58)
Footnote 58. The young woman reaching to take the child from Mary in the Nativity on folio 283v (Fig. 52 has conspicuously long, flowing hair. She wears a green gown patterned with a pale blue monogram that, although rubbed, appears to be CA. Here, as in other instances (e.g. the imperial portraits in Lat. 5888--see page 83 below), Paduan painting of the last third of the fourteenth centuyry may have set a precedent followed by Lombard illuminators. For the suggestion that Fina Buzzacarina, wife of Francesco da Carrara, appears with her three daughters in the Birth of the Baptist in the Baptistery of Padua (Bettini, pl. 20, see Kirsch, 1981, 241ff. n. 43).
Here is that other portrait, similarly with the Madonna of Mercy, of c. 1395 (whole fig. in link), with her fig. 52 (for the long flowing hair) linked to below that. ... hFig48.jpg
Image ... hFig52.jpg

For our purposes, I want to distinguish between two types of portrait: a wedding commemoration, such as Kirsch's fig. 51, with the long hair and white gown, and a marriage commemoration, such as her fig. 48. A marriage commemoration merely commemorates the couple as married. The numerous paintings of madonnas and saints that have the donors on right and left, husband and wife, are of this type. In that way their marriage is perpetuated for a much longer time than otherwise, as it is beyond the vagaries of heirs and looters.

You will notice that the woman in the CY Love card does not have long flowing hair, nor a white gown. Her hair is bound. Does that mean that it is not a wedding commemoration? I can't say. It is suggestive of that. On the other hand, the female pages, whom we would expect to be unmarried, all have a similar hairdo. The only CY figure with long flowing hair is the lady on the Fortitude card. Is that part of her conventional representation? I think so. Does she also represent a certain real girl of courage? I have no answer. For the moment, I am merely registering instances of Visconti marriage gifts and commemorations. A similar puzzle, but involving more cards, affects the PMB. There the 2nd artist's Temperance, Star, and Moon are all of the same woman and all have long flowing hair. Perhaps the hair is part of the traditional representations of these figures, I don't know. Whether they also portray a real girl is a different question. I have argued (first at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=4821&hilit=Elisabetta#p4821) that it might be Elizabetta Maria Sforza, married too early and dead after childbirth at age 15. Her brother Galeazzo Maria, who had pressured her into marriage, staged an elaborate memorial for her.

One final example of a Visconti wedding gift, in Kirsch up to where I am leaving off, is in the two pages that I posted in my immediately previous post (bottom of first and top of second).
A company even older than the Order of the Collar, the Order of the Black Swan, had been founded by Amadeus on th occasion of the marriage of Blanche and Galeazzo in 1350, and Galeazzo was among the founding members of this society. (35) Eighteen years later, at the banquet given by Galeazzo to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Violante to Lionel Duke of Clarence, Galeazzo is said to have distributed buttons bearing the divisa dell' acqua e del fuoco, a ragged diagonal staff, burning at its lower end and supporting at its upper end two pails of water suspended from a rope. (36) It seems not unreasonable to suppose that Giangaleazzo Visconti, in his turn, would have welcomed the burgeoning practice of para-heralry, associated in his family with marriages.
Footnote 35. Boulton, 1987, 250f.
Footnote 36. Giulini, Memorie, v., 597. This device continued to be used by Giangaleazzo and his children and was adopted also by the Sforza dukes of Milan.
It is perhaps not unreasonable to suppose that Filippo Maria would have also associated para-heraldry (and regular heraldry, too), such as we on the man's chest of the Love card, and numerous other places, with marriages as well.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

mikeh wrote:
One other observation, about knots in the CY and PMB. I could find no examples of knots in the CY. In the PMB, Temperance has one. The Star lady has her arm in the way, so we can't see. The Popess has one. I haven't checked the Courts, as I can't remember where I put my book with them in it.
I think we can see the knots as primarily Holy Ghost related (with purity or chastity as an effect of the presence of the Holy Ghost), per the Kirsh quotes you provided (p. 24):
…a knot was one of the emblems of the Order of the Holy Spirit founded by Louis of Taranto in 1353….As also noted above, Giangaleazzo’s personal emblem was conflated with the Dove of the Holy Spirit in the Florence Psalter-Hours. In Lat.757 and Smith-Lesouef 22, the knot may likewise have served as a multivalent signifier, appropriate in this instance to a specific occasion – Giangaleazzo’s marriage to Caterina – and expressing as well his lifelong devotion to both the Holy Ghost and the Trinity.
But of the cards all we have is Temperance and the Papess, as you pointed out; regarding the former, she could be linked to the Holy Ghost via Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” At least that is how modern biblical scholars see “self-control” – not sure how that was understood in the quattrocento.

The Papess can definitely be connected to the Holy Spirit on the basis of Barbara Newman’s
“The Heretic Saint: Guglielma of Bohemia, Milan, and Brunate” (Church HistoryVol. 74, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 1-38), where Giangaleazzo himself was associated with Manfreda’s Holy Ghost cult. The quotes below were taken from the convenient on-live version where pagination is lost, so just lacunae indicated below, but the most relevant excerpts related to the Visconti adoption and support of Manfreda’s cult (Newman uses “Maifreda”] are underscored. ... 0130970823
the prophetic ideas of the ex-Cistercian Joachim of Fiore (d. 1202) were embraced by the more radical branch of the Franciscan order, the so-called Spirituals, as well as some of the common people. Joachim, whose teachings were not condemned during his lifetime, had prophesied the advent of a Third Age or status of the Holy Spirit, superseding the ages of God the Father (the Old Testament era) and God the Son (from the Incarnation through his own days). …Joachim had predicted that the new age would begin in 1260, heralding the inauguration of an ecclesia spiritualis in which grace, spiritual knowledge, and contemplative gifts would be diffused to all. (18) Coincidentally or not, it was around 1260 that Guglielma, escorted by a grown son, appeared in Milan….. Like Francis too, as well as countless female mystics, she understood her mission as a sharing in Christ's Passion through the power of the Holy Spirit….Rumors of divinity already swirled around Guglielma during her lifetime. Her words about "the body of the Holy Spirit," together with her mysterious royal origins, Pentecostal birth, imputed healings, and stigmata, coalesced to create a more-than-human mystique in the minds of her friends, especially Saramita, who interpreted these data in the light of Joachite expectations about the coming age of the Spirit….. Guglielma's devotees spent a large outlay of private funds on altar frontals, liturgical vessels, and elaborate vestments connected with her cult, but the record reveals an interesting disagreement as to the purpose of these goods. Some believed they were meant for her canonization Mass or the translation of her body to Prague, while others thought they were to be kept in readiness for her resurrection from the dead or for the solemn Mass that Sister Maifreda would celebrate as papessa in Santa Maria Maggiore…. To the two feast days of St. Guglielma observed at Chiaravalle, they privately added a third on Pentecost. (55) Calling themselves "the children of the Holy Spirit," they had their own personal cultic roles: Saramita was Guglielma's "only-begotten" or "firstborn son," Maifreda her earthly vicar, Mirano da Garbagnate their "special secretary," and Taria Pontario a cardinal-elect….Finally and most crucially, Sister Maifreda da Pirovano happened to be a first cousin of Matteo Visconti, who since 1287 had been Captain General and by 1300 was lord of Milan. Since the Visconti belonged to the Ghibelline or pro-imperial party--as opposed to their Guelph or papalist rivals, the Della Torre--the Guglielmite trial took place in a climate of marked hostility between the inquisitors and the ruling family. To be sure, Matteo Visconti in 1300 appeared to be at the apogee of his power. It was in that very year that he threw a splendid wedding for his eldest son, Galeazzo, who married Beatrice d'Este, sister of the Marquis of Ferrara. Matteo then named Galeazzo as sharer in and presumptive heir to his lordship. (66) But a condemnation of their close relative, Maifreda, for heresy could have been worse than embarrassing to the family's dynastic hopes--especially since, as we learn from later documents, Galeazzo himself was rumored to be an initiate in the heretical sect.….
[lengthy discussion of heresy trials of Maifreda and the Visconti themselves omitted, but the manuscript record of the trails discussed next]…The likeliest explanation of the manuscript's disappearance, I believe, is that Matteo Visconti confiscated it from the Dominicans around 1317, when he "violently expelled from Milan four inquisitors of heretics called by the authority of the Lord Pope." (77) If the document incriminated not only his cousin Maifreda, but also his son Galeazzo, his friend Francesco da Garbagnate, and several of his trusted counselors, he would have had good reason to do so. (78)… Like all arguments from silence, this one remains on the level of speculation but seems to fit the evidence better than any alternative theory. For example, it would explain why the manuscript was eventually found in Pavia, for that is the place where the vast Visconti-Sforza library was housed before it was pillaged and dispersed in the sixteenth century, after the fall of the dynasty. (82) My theory does raise a perplexing question, however: If Matteo Visconti saw fit to confiscate the trial record as soon as he had the opportunity, why did he not simply destroy it, rather than preserving a bowdlerized version? The answer, I suggest, is that in spite of the inquisition, the Visconti continued to cherish the memory of St. Guglielma and Sister Maifreda, and were determined to preserve a record of their religious movement in private hands where the knowledge could do no further harm. While it may be hard to see much affinity between the hardboiled lords of Milan and the "children of the Holy Spirit," those utopian dreamers, who had no political plan beyond divine intervention to set Maifreda on the throne of Peter, we know that violence and piety were no strangers to one another in the medieval world. In this case, dynastic pride proved to be as strong and determined a force as inquisitorial zeal, for nothing can explain the astonishing resurrection of Guglielma's cult in the fifteenth century except the resilience of Visconti patronage over the long haul.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

mikeh wrote: You will notice that the woman in the CY Love card does not have long flowing hair, nor a white gown. Her hair is bound. Does that mean that it is not a wedding commemoration? I can't say. It is suggestive of that. ... For the moment, I am merely registering instances of Visconti marriage gifts and commemorations.
The difference in context between the wedding portrait in Lat. 757, made for Giangaleazzo and the CY Love card is essential here – in the former the flowing hair bride looks up to Mary herself while in the CY card the rather pagan Eros hovers over the couple with a low marriage bed behind them in the tent. Each represents the different stages of the act of marriage - marriage is sacrosanct as a sacrament (with the woman expected to be as chaste as Mary, otherwise grounds for annulment as Henry VIII alleged against one of his wives) and secondly, the act of consummation (Giovanni Sforza’s marriage to Lucretia Borgia was annulled because it was supposedly not consummated). The CY Love card looks to be an exclusive focus on the indelicate if crucial fact of consummation. Galeazzo Sforza had his marriage made official for the first wedding in France by being “consummated” (repeated a second time in Milan after Bona traveled there) by his related stand in, Tristano, per a letter from the latter: “He told Galeazzo also of the symbolic consummation that was performed after the wedding ceremony, in the royal court’s presence. Bona and Tristano kissed and climbed into a bed, he on one side and she on the other. There, they ‘touched one another’s bare leg…according to the custom’” (Lubkin, A Renaissance Court: Milan under Galleazzo Maria Sforza, 1994: 49). Perhaps the hair down-as-chastity was inappropriate in the context of focusing on the consummation aspect of the ceremony.

And I continue to see the CY Chariot’s headdress, a thick wreath laden with fruit, as a reference to the bounty of her dowry; it only matches the female knight of batons, but the chariot's is gold (like the CY female Love’s headdress) instead of green worn by the female knight who also has the Sforza fountain on her dress (translation: Filippo not only bestows his daughter and bounty of Cremona on Sforza but the captain general’s baton to lead his armies – why the baton suit has Sforza’s coat of arms).
Female knight of batons, detail.jpg
Female knight of batons, detail.jpg (28.28 KiB) Viewed 8500 times
CY Chariot head detail.jpg
CY Chariot head detail.jpg (7.91 KiB) Viewed 8500 times
My original thoughts on the Chariot’s headdress (which I believe are relevant to both the female knight of batons and Chariot): viewtopic.php?f=11&t=906
The enigmatic headpiece she wears is not paralleled anywhere by a Chastity figure; so what is it? If you zoom in via Yale’s webpage for this card - - you can make out a deep arc of circles upon her head. This is clearly not the similarly shaped hat worn by some of the male court figures nor is it the egg-shaped balzo worn by the bride in the Love card. I believe our answer is that this is yet one more lingering attribute from the Florentine Anghiari model[although I will admit the wreath may have been a generic symbol]: Dovizia (“abundance”). Just 10 years before (ca. 1430) Donatello carved a large statue of Dovizia placed on a classical column in Florence’s main market place (see “Donatello's Lost Dovizia for the Mercato Vecchio: Wealth and Charity as Florentine Civic Virtues,” David G. Wilkins, the Art Bulletin, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 401-423). Linked image of it in the background of a painting when it was still erect: ... 150833395/
What Dovizia clutches upon her head is a basket of fruits that complements the cornucopia held in her other hand. She is an allegory of the riches of Florence … Our CY chariot’s female, wearing a hat similarly garlanded to the basket, operates on the same iconographic logic of abundance, except she holds out the Visconti coin in lieu of the cornucopia and thus represents the bounty of the Visconti realm (or at least that portion given as her dowry).


Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Phaeded: Thanks for the quotes about Manfreda. I don't disagree; but the knot in the card also applies if she stands for an abstraction, Christ's Church. And the knot is as much secular as sacred, as much about faithfulness in marriage as about the Holy Trinity. It is a question of levels of interpretation.

I do not make much of the unbound hair. As I say, none of the Female Pages in the CY have unbound hair. While there were no female pages as such in the court, they would have corresponded to ladies-in-waiting, who traditionally were unmarried. It is just something to be noted for further research.

I see no garland on the Chariot lady's head, just the usual headpiece, this time in gold.

On consummation: In the wedding portrait of Giangaleazzo and Caterina, consummation is as much a concern as in the wedding of Bianca Maria and Francesco Sforza--or any dynastic marriage. Perpetuation of the line is one of the main goals of such a marriage. But the primary thing in both cases is love of the divine. Eros may be pagan, but it has both divine and secular levels, which has its Christian version in the marriage of Christ with his Church and the sacrament of marriage, which is both secular and divinely sanctioned.

That brings me to my next example of a marriage commemoration, in the next manuscript of Giangaleazzo's that Kirsch discusses, one that explicitly refers to consummation and progeny; she calls it the Florence Psalter-Hours, and is now separated into two manuscripts, Banco Rari 397 and Landau-Finaly 22. The first part was mostly completed during Giangaleazzo's time. The second part was only sketched out and was completed on Filippo's commission. Kirsch begins her chapter III (p. 40):
There is no doubt that the patron who commissioned the Psalter-Hours in Florence (Banco Rari 397 and Landau-Finaly 22) was Giangaleazzo Visconti. He is named twice in the second volume of the manuscript (on LF 9v and LF 22), and his armorials appear throughout both volumes. The date of the Psalter-Hours is undocumented; however, the structure, iconography, and style of the manuscript, as well as evidence concerning its scribe and illuminator, all point to the period around 1388, the year of the birth of the first child of Giangaleazzo and Caterina Visconti--a son, Giovanni Maria, who was to become the second Duke of Milan. Thus, the Florence Psalter-Hours may be understood as a sequel to the Paris Hours-Missals, which, as suggested in chapter II, commemorated the marriage of Giangaleazzo and Caterina.
What corresponds in the time of the CY, of course, is the birth of Francesco and Bianca Maria's first-born in 1444, a likely time for the CY to have been made. The Florence Psalter-Hours is a precedent for miniatures of a different kind, in the form of cards, on commission of Giangaleazzo's successor. This precedent, seen by Kirsch, has no doubt been seen by others: Kirsch observes (p. 42):
Princess Giulia Rospigliosi (nee Visconti di Modrone) believes that the manuscript [BR 397] may have been bought in the nineteenth century by her grandfather, Raimondo, whose historical interests prompted him to acquire other objects connected with his family, including the tarocchi painted for Filippo Maria Visconti and now in the Beinecke Library at Yale university (Fig. 61). Footnote: Giulia Visconti di Modrone Rospigliosi kindly discussed with me the history of her family's collection. The Visconti di Modrone tarot cards are now at Yale University in the Cary Collection of Playing Cards, No. ITA 109 (New Haven, Yale, no. 51).
Figure 61 is of course the CY Love card. I showed her reproduction and its annotation in the first post of this thread.

That these Hours are extant is itself something of a lucky thing. She quotes from a letter of Bianca Maria's in 1447 (I give Kirsch's English translation, p. 43 n. 11):
"There (in the arms storeroom) was the Book of Hours of the above-mentioned Lord in a (stamped) leather binding, covered with crimson velvet, and with clasps in the shape of knotted cloth which, according to many trustworthy persons, cost two thousand ducats."
This was shortly before the sack of the castle and the proclamation of the Ambrosian Republic. Kirsch says that the whole letter is in L. Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 1894, 48. The rest of it might be of interest to tarot researchers. I omit Kirsch's half a page justification of her conclusion that the book rescued is the manuscript we now have in two parts. If it had not been saved, moreover, no one could have believed that it ever existed. It is not in any of the inventories of the Visconti and Sforza libraries, Kirsch says. (I make no explicit analogy to tarot decks.)

In 1380, when Giangaleazzo married Caterina, he had two children by his previous marriage. By 1380 he had only one, the girl Valentina. Thus dynastic concerns were paramount. In 1386 they had become even more urgent, because in placing the daughter in an advantageous marriage, to the brother of the king of France, Giangaleazzo had had to agree, as part of her dowry, that should the male Visconti line die out, all of his dominions would be forfeit to Valentina and her descendants. (Kirsch cites Jarry, 23-43, for the marriage negotiations.) It was on this pretext, in fact, that Louis XII invaded Milan in 1499, since Filippo had died without an heir in 1447. So in issuing a tarot deck, there would have been some presumption that it celebrated the birth of an heir (a presumption that Sforza, probably rightly, would have considered a ruse).

Galeazzo and Caterina's son was born on the eve of feast of the Nativity of the Virgin. In gratitude, Giangaleazzo made that day an annual holiday with "processions of the guilds from the city gates to the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, then in an early stage of transformation to the present cathedral of Milan" (p. 47). The new cathedral was subsequently dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. In further gratitude, he vowed to name his son "Maria", as well as any further sons born to him. Even an illegitimate son was named after the Virgin (Gabriele Maria, later legitimized and inheritor of Pisa and Crema), and in fact a daughter, too, as we know.

Kirsch contends that the Psalter-Hours is another expression of gratitude to the Virgin. It recounts in detail, from various sources, the life of the Virgin, including the events surrounding her birth. The frontispiece shows the marriage of Anna and Joachim, who are childless until late in life, when surprisingly Mary is born. I give a link to the full illustration, and the relevant detail as an image here. ... hFig65.jpg

Here is the beginning of Kirsch's analysis (p. 50):
The Marriage of Anna and Joachim on BR 1 (Fig. 65) is accorded unusual prominence in the Psalter-Hours, where it introduces the manuscript as well as the extraordinary Marian cycle. Whereas Visconti emblems are restricted to the borders on all other pages containing narrative episodes in the cycle, the onl device on BR 1--a radiant sun, the personal emblem of Giangaleazzo, never used before him by a Visconti--is incorporated into the scene itself, where it adorns the hanging beyond the wedding group. The position of this emblem suggests that the Marriage of Anna and Joachim refers also to the wedding of Giangaleazzo Visconti and his cousin Caterina, an implication sustained not only by other aspects of the miniature on BR1 but also by the entire Marian sequence of the Psalter.

Compelling similarities exist between the face of the young Joachim on BR 1 and the three surviving portraits of Giangaleazzo and Caterina. Although children are sometimes present in the depictions of the Marriage of the Virgin, from which the composition of the Marriage of Anna and Joachim is derived, those on BR 1, similarly dressed, as brother and sister might be, probably represent Giangaleazzo's son and daughter by his first marriage: Azzone and Valentina, who were eleven and ten years old when their father remarried in 1380.
I omit the paragraph in which Kirsch discusses precedents for the identification of a patron with a holy figure: they are sufficient. She then turns to the question of whether such an illumination would have been understood in this way by later rulers of Milan descended from Giangaleazzo. She says (p. 51):
That the Marriage of Anna and Joachim on BR 1 (Fig. 65) was understood by Giangaleazzo and Caterina Visconti's great-grandson, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, as a representation of his great-grandparents wedding is almost certainly proved by a manuscript painted for Galeazzo Maria in 1476 by Cristoforo de' Predis. At the beginning of a long pictorial narrative that opens with the story of the Virgin's parents and ends with eschatological subjects, both the betrothal and marriage of Anna and Joachim are depicted among an array of Galeazzo Maria's devices, including the fleur-de-lys worn both for Galeazzo Maria in a portrait now in the Uffizi and by Joachim in the Turin wedding miniature. (42)

Footnote 42: Kirsch, 1981, figs. 69-71. The Turin manuscript is Biblioteca Reale, Var. 124 (Milan, 1958, no. 344, and Cipriani, 1959, 74). As in the instance of Giangaleazzo in the Psalter-Hours, the identification of Galeazzo Maria with Joachim in the Turin manuscript is implied through settings and armorials. Galeazzo Maria acquired the fleur-de[lys as an emblem through his marriage in 1468 to Bona of Savoy, sister-in-law to the King of France.

Around 1477, Cristoforo de' Predis painted a miniature portraying Galeazzo Maria Sforza as David in an initial illustrating Psalm 24 (Fig. 68--London, Wallace Collection, M342; see M. Jacobsen, "A Sforza Miniature by Cristoforo da Preda," Burlington Magazine CXVI, 1974, 91-96. Here the extravagant array of armorials clearly evokes the Psalter-Hours, and the very outline of the initial, an architectural structure inhabited by putti, is a transposition into a late fifteenth-century idiom of forms in the Visconti Hours (cf. BR 108v--Fig. 59). On the identification of Giangaleazzo Visconti with David int he Visconti Hours, see page 52 below.
Kirsch does not reproduce de' Predis's "Marriage of Anna and Joachim," but she does give us his "David," below. ... hFig68.JPG

I assume that David is praying for a son, after his first child by Bathsheba was stillborn. The parallel is with the Psalter Hours' similar illumination of David, in Giangaleazzo's Psalter-Hours, Kirsch's Fig. 59, BR 397 fol. 108v: ... hFig59.JPG

The representations of Justice and Temperance on the sides are in accord with Giangaleazzo's title as Count of Virtues. These representations are not wholly conventional; they mix conventionality with personal/familial devices, namely the viper and "Visconti tilting helmets" (p. 52). The virtues complement words on the sides of the first page of the text: "a buon droyt". Kirsch concludes (p. 53):
The message is clear: Giangaleazzo, like Joachim, is a virtuous man. He too is worthy of the divine gift of progeny.
And there is also the other implication, "a buon droyt" to the duchy of Milan, thanks to progeny.)

His son Filippo, another Count of Virtue, completed the work on the rest of the seven, following the earlier design (Kirsch's fig. 53). ... hFig53.JPG

Here the lower left is Hope, lower right Charity, upper left Fortitude, upper right damaged. Kirsch's discussion of it is in The Visconti Hours, I think, which I had to check back into the library. It might be Prudence. I am not sure about the lady at the bottom either.

My point is that tarot cards are a natural extension of illuminated manuscripts in a new era, especially by a ruler who wishes to create an impression of dynastic succession without anything written in stone (or in this case, parchment leaves). Having finished his serious work, his father's illuminated manuscripts, including an extension of the genealogical chart that leaves out his wives (which I exhibited in my first post in this thread), he turns to something more ephemeral, yet which display his favorite virtues in a Petrarchan context in which love is just the beginning. These precedents that I have gleaned from Kirsch do not prove anything, to be sure, but they make a plausible case that the CY, on the occasion of either a wedding or a first-born, commemorate a marriage. The armorials are there, in the Love card, the Chastity card, and the four suits; the occasions also match.

What I cannot make fit, in the Love card, is the banner with the white cross on a red background. It is the emblem of the City of Pavia, to be sure. But the other armorials, there and in the rest of the deck, are familial in nature, not those of an institution, knightly order, etc. The viper was associated with the commune of Milan, but the specific form it takes here, with the red man in its mouth, is pure Visconti. Here is Kirsch (p. 26):
E. GAlli suggests that a serpent was first displayed on a milanese standard during the Crusade of 1096 and that its selection as an emblem of the city was inspired by the presence in Milan since 1002 of the brazen serpent of Moses. The bronze serpent still stands upon a column in the nave of Sant'Ambrogio, opposite its typological counterpart, a cross. Both are included in the miniature of Giangaleazzo's ducal investiture painted by Anovelo da Imbonate in the Cioronation Missal still belonging to Sant'Ambrogio (Fig. 3).

Tradition holds that Ottone Visconti, returning victorious from the First Crusade, obtained the privilege for himself and his descendants of employing the viper as a personal device, with the addition of a red infidel in its mouth. By the fourteenth century, the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani referred to this creature simply as "un uomo rosso" in the mouth of the viper (Galli, 372). [/quote]
For the white cross as a personal/familial device, all I can think of is Savoy. But what does the card have to do with Savoy? How could the card be commemorating a marriage to Marie of Savoy, whom Filippo would have nothing to do with? I am not ready to say that it is merely a generic card of love with no reference to particular individuals, as Berti maintains. There are too many signs otherwise (the fountain, the viper, and the historical background I have presented paralleling what was happening in late 1441 and in 1444). But lest I be suspected of engendering teapots--although I think it could be more like a black hole, i.e. something suggested by the evidence but perhaps will never be observed directly--I will stop here. It might simply be, as Phaeded suggests, Filippo dangling Pavia before Francesco's eyes. More research is needed, e.g. of the sort Lorredan initiated in the thread "Bembo Workshop and Marriage Depictions."

However I am not quite done with Kirsch. In the book she does not examine similar productions in the years when Francesco Sforza ruled Milan. But in fact there was another "Anna and Joachim" artistic work of that time, to which Kirsch devoted a later article. It has an exact parallel in Giangaleazzo's Psalter-Hours, and another example of how alive the Visconti past was in mid-century. It is a work that in a different section has been compared to certain tarot cards, e.g. by Bandera and Kaplan. Unlike Bandera, Kirsch even is so bold as to name an artist (so does Kaplan, of course). Before drawing any conclusions, For the sake of completeness on this theme, I will consider what she and others say about that work.

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