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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 11 Feb 2013, 21:42
by robert
Here's a way back of the link Ross posted: ... l/manfreda

I hope it's the same.

Linked images: ... edaGallery

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 03:42
by Lorredan
I personally believe what Ross wrote about. It is a Poor Clare, from the Habit.
The association could well be that Bianca grew up next door to a Poor Clare Convent in Abbiagrasse.
I would like to add to the knots comment.
Top three as Ross says indicates usual vows Poverty Chastity and Obedience
Lower Four Knots indicate a later vow added to the upper three. The Vow of Silence.
This Nun prays for you.
I have had my say over the crown and crosier over the years in forums and I still believe it to be true.She is an Abbess, the cross on the staff actually is the cross on the wall of Poor Clare Convents, unlike the shepherd hook on Bishop Crosiers.
As to the title of Papesse- there is no title on the card.
I find it difficult to imagine that a Visconti would put a heretic on a card- even one related to them.
Cannot anyone see the shadow of a previous deck in these handpainted decks of cards? They cannot be the original set of the card game- they are copying another earlier deck, using the same format, but making them personal.
We are still doing it today using the 22/56 group- which these do not appear to be. It is like looking though a opaque window and seeing outstanding details but missing all the details. Who has the Glass cleaner?

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 09:17
by marco
The tarot trumps are a cycle of allegorical images. As far as I can remember, none of the ancient interpretations of the trumps tried to match them with specific people: in a minority of the comments (e.g. Lollio) the images are dismissed as meaningless, in the others they are regarded as symbols or “hieroglyphs”.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: Giotto's "Fides" also holds a processional cross (this is preferable to calling it a "crozier/crosier" in my opinion, which in the West, with few exceptions (like John Paul II's crucifix-style crosier), is an elaborate shepherd's crook).
Ross' parallelism between the Visconti-Sforza Papesse and the Scrovegni Fides has always seemed very convincing to me. The main difference between the two is the style of the tiara: in Giotto's Fides the triple crown is missing. But this is easily explained by the fact that the fresco was painted more than one century before the playing card. Here is an old post on ATF (September 2005):
I made some research on the history of the Triple Crown (Tiara or triregnum). I found what I looked for :)
"The tiara with three crowns is the rule upon the monuments from the second half of the fourteenth century, even though, as an anachronism, there are isolated instances of the tiara with one crown up into the fifteenth century."

Ross has mentioned Giotto's Faith (in the Scrovegni chappel in Padua) as relevant for the iconography of the Papesse.
I now understand that Giotto's Faith has no Tiara because the tiara as triple crown did not exist before 1314 and is not known in paintings before 1350. Giotto painted this fresco in 1306 or 1307.

The strange crown worn by Giotto's Faith may well be a "single crown" tiara, used by popes before the triple crown. A good example of this single crown tiara is the portrait of Innocenzo III ( ... zo-III.jpg) submitted by Robert LePendu. It seems that Bonifacio VIII introduced a "double crown" that remained in use only for a few years.


The similarity of the Visconti-Sforza papesse with Giotto's faith is impressive, considering that the card was painted more than a century after the fresco:

A. The first and main attribute (the cross held in the right hand) is identical.

B. The second attribute (the Bible held in the left hand) appears in one case as a book in the other as a scroll; the meanings are perfectly compatible.

C. The third attribute (the tiara) is a triple crown for the tarot card and (something very similar to) a papal single crown for Giotto's fresco.
So the two images are as good a match as one can expect for the same subject painted by Giotto and by Bonifacio Bembo.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 09:51
by mikeh
Lorredan wrote,
Cannot anyone see the shadow of a previous deck in these handpainted decks of cards? They cannot be the original set of the card game- they are copying another earlier deck, using the same format, but making them personal.
I totally agree. However it is for that very reason that I think that a personal--familial--meaning to the card is Manfreda. I cannot see an abbess or a Poor Clare wearing that three tiered hat. Whoever else it is (on another level), it is Manfreda, because the Visconti, and after them the Sforza, put themselves in their art whenever possible. I'm not aware of any other Popesses in the family (or any Poor Clares). We can't see the Bembo frescoes at Pavia and other residences, but we can see cards, illuminated manuscripts, and some things in churches. They put themselves and their family everywhere else--why not in something very intimate, as Ross says, but which I see a kind of family album for the children? That's what we see on the CY, chiefly in heraldics. So also the PMB, taking it further, so that nearly every "figure" card has a family member on it, many of which, in the court cards, we don't even know. Or perhaps the children were allowed to choose their identity.

I find it hard to believe that Bianca wouldn't know about Manfreda. The Visconti bout with the Inquisition was well known. One pretender to popehood excommunicated Filippo, as Lorredan reminds us on another thread. Bianca Maria would have been old enough to know, and not be fazed when her husband was excommunicated, too. Bianca Maria would have appreciated Manfreda's courage against papal authority and faith in her own convictions. Also, there may be an association between Giotto and Manfreda for Bianca. I and others have pointed out the visual similarity of cards in the PMB but not the CY, to the Giotto virtue and vice frescoes in Padua. Manfreda was burned at the stake at around the same time as Giotto did the frescoes.

It seems to me that Visconti family history was so important that it persisted in the minds of Milan's citizens long after the Visconti and Sforza had left the scene. They were the town's glory days. In this connection I have one more Visconti marriage commemoration to talk about.

When Mozart in 1771 was asked (by the bride to be) to write an opera to celebrate the marriage of the Governor-General of Lombardy, a younger son of Maria-Theresa of Austria, to the daughter of Duke Ercole III d'Este, he and his librettist picked a hero dear to the Milanese heart, Ascanio; and for the opera hero's mother, they created a burlesque of the legendary founder's grandmother, Venus. The opera is called "Ascanio in Alba", adapting the legend of the founder of the Visconti line in Lombardy, Ascanio son of Aeneas (whom I suppose Bianca Maria's son was named after). It's straight out of the genealogy that Michelino drew for Giangaleazzo's memorial. By the time the curtain fell, the hero had finally married the mythic descendant of Hercules, just as in the legend that the Milanese would have known. The "Alba" in the title, which in the legend Ascanio is sent to civilize, is a thinly disguised Milan, and the hero's dictatorial mother, Venus, a thinly disguised Maria-Theresa. It was a Triumph of Love in Petrarchan fashion: "Your gift is so sweet that we forget our fetters," the chorus sings to Venus in the opening--also referring to Milan's submission to Meria-Theresa as well as the son's forced marriage. Somehow it got past the censors. The Milanese went wild; there were 28 performances the month Mozart was there. And as part of the festivities, the bridal couple paid the dowries of 150 poor girls so that there could be 150 marriages in Milan along with his. True story. (For the dowries, see ... es&f=false). Coincidence or not, the bride and groom were following in the footsteps of Saint Nicholas in the Visconti Hours.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 10:03
by Ross G. R. Caldwell
But Maifreda da Pirovano wasn't even a Visconti - she is only known as a cousin of Matteo's mother, Anastasia da Pirovano.

This is all wishful thinking.

Mike, please consider what I've said about the iconography - the crown doesn't mean she is a real Popess, and the habit is not Umiliati. There is no basis for the association of the image on the card with Maifreda da Pirovano, not even direct family.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 10:24
by Ross G. R. Caldwell
mikeh wrote: It seems to me that Visconti family history was so important that it persisted in the minds of Milan's citizens long after the Visconti and Sforza had left the scene. They were the town's glory days. In this connection I have one more Visconti marriage commemoration to talk about.
If actual historians of Milan count as showing what persisted in the minds of Milan's citizens, then this is what the Milanese "remembered" about the Guglielmite heresy, according to Bernardino Corio, L'Historia di Milano (1503), part 2 (pt. 2 chapter 8 in later editions) -

In questo anno fu celebrato il Giubileo a Roma dal pontefice Bonifacio. Ne’medesimi giorni a Milano abitava una femmina eretica nominata Guglielma, la quale non poco si mostrava religiosa e santa; viveva con un certo Andrea, chiamato Saramita, e sotto una simulata bontà tenevano una sinagoga sotterranea vicino a porta Nuova usandovi una fetida eresia. Quivi avevano stabilito di riunirsi al mattutino, intervenendovi molte fanciulle, matrone, vedove e maritate, le quali per ingiunzione di Guglielma erano chiericate a modo dei sacerdoti. Vi intervenivano eziandio molti giovani ed uomini a guisa di religiosi; ed in questa adultera sinagoga avevano un altare, avanti al quale facevano le loro frodolenti orazioni. Dopo di che gridavano, congiungiamoci, congiungiamoci, ed il lume ponevano sotto un sestario, eseguendo poi quanto si era ordinato; ad in tal modo commettevano l’occulto stupro. In processo di tempo, questa nefandissima Guglielmina abbandonando la vita, dai monaci di Chiaravalle fu tumulata per santa. Dopo la sua morte, il memorato Andrea per sei anni continui seguitó il sacrilego e scelleratissimo rito. Dal ultimo venne palesato da un milanese mercatante per nome Corrado Coppa; il quale avendo la moglie sua che frequentava il vituperoso luogo, nel capo entrandogli non poco sospetto, deliberò di venire al chiaro; e così una notte levandosi, seguitò incognito la moglie sino alla radunanza, e quivi, nascosto il lume, secondo il costume degli altri, conobbe la propria moglie e le tolse dal dito un zafiro, ch’essa portava e uscì insieme cogli altri dall’infame luogo. Dopo quattro giorni alla sua donna dimandò l’anello, simulando volere per suo bisogno farne un deposito: essa finse di averlo perduto e finalmente, dopo che simulò d’averlo ricercato con diversi modi, rispose che non lo trovava. Corrado da ultimo diede un solenne convito, intervenendovi molti suoi parenti ed amici colle mogli, le quali vedute aveva nel consorzio. A questi, dopo il pranzo, Corrado cominciò a dire: Ciascuno faccia colla donna sua il giuoco, come io intendo di farlo alla mia e dopo ve ne manifesterò la cagione; e tutti promisero che farebbero. Allora, spartita la legatura del capo alle mogli, trovarono sulle loro teste una chierica; della qual cosa grandemente meravigliandosi ne dimandarono la causa. Corrado il tutto ordinatamente dichiarò. Il perché quelli manifestarono sì inaudita scelleraggine a Matteo Visconti, principe della città; e questi, per consiglio degli inquisitori, impose al podestá che Andrea con ogni suo seguace venisse nelle sue forze. Eseguitosi il comando, tutti furono posti al tormento, dove confessarono tal cosa aver fatta continuamente per lo spazio di undici anni passati. Da ultimo Andrea coi suoi compagni fu abbruciato e parimente si fece delle ossa della pessima Guglielmina, la quale essendo tenuta per santa al tutto fu manifestata per somma eretica.

"In this year (1300) the Jubilee was celebrated in Rome by Pope Boniface. At the same time in Milan there lived a female heretic named Guglielma, who presented herself as not a little religious and holy; she lived with a certain Andrea, called Saramita, and under cover of a pretended goodness they ran an underground synagogue near Porta Nuova, practising a foul heresy. They had agreed to assemble in the morning, at which were present many maidens, matrons, widows and wives, which by order of Guglielma were tonsured in the manner of priests. Also many youths and men were involved, in the guise of religion, and in this adulterous synagogue they had an altar, before which they made their fraudulent prayers. After shouting, “Let us marry, let us marry!”, and having placed the light under a cup, they then performed what was commanded; and in such a fashion they committed the secret fornication. In a little while, this most wicked Guglielma having departed this life, she was buried as a saint by the nuns of Chiaravalle. After her death, for six continuous years Andrea followed the sacrilegious and wicked ritual. At last it was uncovered by a Milanese merchant named Corrado Coppa, whose wife was attending the shameful place, since not a small suspicion had entered his head, he decided bring it to light; and so one night, rising, followed his wife secretly to the meeting, and there, when the lamp was hidden, he had intercourse with his wife, following the practice of the others, and removed from her finger a sapphire she was wearing and went out together with the others from the infamous site. After four days he asked his wife for the ring, pretending he needed it to make a deposit: she pretended to have lost it and finally, after pretending to have looked for it in different ways, said she could not find it. Corrado thereafter gave a solemn banquet, inviting many of his relatives and friends along with their wives, whom he had seen in the consortium. To these, after dinner, Corrado began to say: each man will play the game with his wife as I intend to do it with mine, and later I will show the reason, and all promised that they would. Then, parting the tie of the hair of the wives, they found a bald spot on their heads, at which, greatly marveling, they demanded the reason. Corrado explained it all clearly. So they reported those events of unprecedented wickedness to Matteo Visconti, the Prince of the city; and he, on the advice of the inquisitors, imposed by the mayor that Andrea with any of his followers should be arrested. The order being executed, all were put to torture, where they confessed that they had done so continuously for the space of eleven years. Finally Andrea with his companions was burned, and likewise the bones of the most wicked Guglielma, who, being held as entirely saintly, was thereby clearly shown to be heretical."

In sum, insofar as the existence of the sect and its fate survived in the Milanese imagination, it was in a legendary form (boilerplate sex scandal, a tactic used from antiquity to today) which bore almost no relation to the real events and that omitted every detail, including Maifreda herself, and no popess, while presenting a scandalous portrait of the sect.

(thanks very much to Marco for cleaning up my translation)

Popess: The Case for Allegory

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 15:44
by mjhurst
Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Mike, please consider what I've said about the iconography - the crown doesn't mean she is a real Popess, and the habit is not Umiliati. There is no basis for the association of the image on the card with Maifreda da Pirovano, not even direct family.
If we are pleading for iconographic sobriety, I would ask for more. You ask that the possibility of an allegorical meaning be considered, rather than the Popess being an historical portrait. I would elaborate on that and add to it a related request: please consider the possibility that the allegorical meaning is coherent, i.e., that the adjacent cards in the trump hierarchy are somehow associated allegorical subjects.

A female figure with papal attributes might be an allegory, and the argument for the plausibility of personification allegory has been made, again and again, over the years. The term "popess" would be simply descriptive, identifying a female figure with papal attributes rather than being a title of some particular historical person like Pope Joan or Sister Manfreda. This was O'Neill's "objective" "logical" assessment:
O'Neill wrote:An objective survey of the contemporary imagery yields a number of possibilities for the image on the early Papess card. Logically, the image is the female dual of the Pope, just as the Empress is the female dual of the Emperor. The logical dual of the celibate Pope is Mother Church.
From countless examples of personification allegory, we KNOW how this process worked. There is nothing obscure or peculiar about this possibility; no special pleading is involved.

We also KNOW, from many examples before and after the invention of Tarot, that this process was used to symbolize various abstract subjects related to the Roman Catholic Church. Contemporaneous and later examples include, but are not limited to, Ecclesia (the Church itself), the Faith, True Religion, the Papacy, the Eucharist, Lex Canonica (Canon Law), Sponsa Christi (the faithful as the Bride of Christ), Divine Providence, Ecclesiastical Authority, Roma Sancta (the Holy City), and the beautifully illuminated Dame Doctryne. Protestant usage was also noteworthy, as the Whore of Babylon (again meaning the Roman Catholic Church). In terms of pre-Tarot personifications of this sort, we have repeated examples of Mater Ecclesia (Mother Church), Ecclesia et Synagoga (the twin figures of Church and Synagogue), Ecclesia Sponsa Christi, and occasional examples of things like Sapientia Dei (the Wisdom of God) and Domini Misericordia (God's Mercy). Kaplan explained it clearly.
Kaplan wrote:In medieval and Renaissance art, a female figure was often allegorical, whereas the male figure was used to represent a specific mythical or historical man. Thus, since Samson evoked the quality of great strength, the Strength card in several decks portrays a female figure with the attributes of Samson, a pillar and a lion skin. The Popess may represent the papacy itself, without reference to any particular pope or female leader.
This is not news. These Roman Catholic personifications were shown with different constellations of attributes indicating their importance, including being paired with Christ, being enthroned, being crowned, holding the keys of St. Peter, holding a processional staff of one sort or another, and so on. Some (like Giotto's Faith) wore the conical crown usually reserved for the Queen of Heaven, who is herself typologically identified with the Church. Some (like the Domini Misericordia in Florence) wore the old papal tiara, and some wore the triple tiara. Many were clearly identifiable from context or explicitly identified in accompanying text.

If we can accept that the Popess in Tarot is an allegorical personification closely related to the Roman Catholic Church, then the Tarot card becomes just another example of this large body of woodcuts, paintings, drawings, illuminations, engravings, coins, tapestries, ceramics, and sculptures. The question of her precise meaning remains unresolved.

This is where the sequential context is paramount. What do the lowest trumps, as a group, represent? If the trump cycle as a whole has a coherent meaning, then the Popess must be directly related to the adjacent cards in sequence, and at least indirectly related to the entire sequence of subjects. Taking her out of context and spinning tales about legendary, pseudo-historical figures (like the fictional Joan or semi-fictional modern version of Manfreda) tells us little about early Tarot. (It does tell us why early writers might confuse her with Pope Joan, but that's about all.) Both were good hunches, decades ago when they were new. Both are now modern folklore, but not viable explanations for the Popess card.

What is the gist of the lowest trumps, and what allegorical identification of the Popess can make sense of that? This is the meaning which can explain the designer's choice of subject matter, why a female figure with papal attributes was put into the sequence originally.

Best regards,

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 21:22
by mikeh
I don't deny any of what Michael says, about the allegorical interpretation of the cards, or what Marco says. I don't know if the specific interpretation of the Popess as the Church is true, in its origin, since I find myself knowing little about the origin of the tarot. But I don't deny it. I don't deny the orthodox associations that Ross points to. I don't doubt that the Popess card was thought of as you describe by many at that time. I certainly agree that it is one of the six "orders of man" cards at the beginning of the deck. As to who or what she originally or even generally was intended to represent, I agree that Manfreda is not within the realm of probability. I wasn't talking about the tarot Popess in general, or originally, but the PMB in particular, on one level of interpretation, as the tarot adapted to a particular family, and seeing the card in the context of other familial associations in the deck and in their art. I freely admit that it is a speculative extension of Kirsch's theory about Visconti and Sforza art and may be of little relevance to an understanding of the Popess generally. It only applies to the PMB.

As to the origin of the Popess card in the tarot--before the PMB, I mean--for me, "Pope Joan" is still not eliminated as a possibility. My failure to eliminate that possibility stems mostly from comments by Aretino in the 16th century that seem to refer to the card as Pope Joan. However I recently saw another source that suggests either Pope Joan or a depiction of the Church as a whore. It is in a frontispiece illustration to Petrarch's De Remediis. Michael reproduced it in color on Jan. 25, 2013, in his blog at Michael in the sidebar says that it is from a 1503 French manuscript (although in his title for the jpg image he has it as "milan-c1400"). I posted the same image here, in black and white, on Jan. 23, 2013, at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=915&p=13484&hilit= ... iis#p13484, with a quote from my source, Trapp's Studies of Petrarch and his Influence, identifying it as Lombard, probably from Milan of about 1400. Here is the whole part of the page from Trapp's book, a scan to which I gave a link in my post. I post a link to a large version, if you want to look at the details.

Image ... aeFig3.jpg

You will see here many of the "orders of man" in the tarot, as I pointed out, which are also reflected, less compactly, in the text of Petrarch's book. My doubt about the Popess stems, among other things (notably, as I said, Aretino's 16th century comments), from the depiction of the lady on the right, second from the end. If others in this lineup could be considered prototypes for the beginning part of the tarot, so might the woman depicted there. Here is Michael's color version, which I won't reproduce without his permission. It shows much more clearly than my image how far down the dress actually goes, with a hint of what lies beneath: ... detail.jpg

Trapp calls her "a blonde woman in a long red decolletee dress" (the whole passage is in my post). I am not sure what she has in her hands, but it might be a small book. A book would suggest that she might express a prototype for the Popess card (but they didn't think, or dare, to give her the hat). The Popess was usually shown with a book (as was Pope Joan). Her dress to me suggests loose morals. Pope Joan, of course, was exposed as a woman when, as Pope, she gave birth to a child during a procession. On the other hand, it might suggest the Popess card as the Church, as Petrarch in the book does call the Church a whore (as did Boccaccio) and (unlike Boccaccio) makes no reference to Pope Joan (or whores; Boccaccio talks about nuns as whores).

In this connection, it is possible that the PMB Popess card is meant to depict a nun who has gotten herself (with the help of a monk) pregnant, I don't know. If so, there might be a connection between the footlike thing poking out of her robe and the baby on one Pope Joan illustration, as Ross once speculated. I had forgotten about that interpretation!

About the lurid diatribe that Ross quoted, I note the date, 1503, after the fall of Lodovico. It might be part of a Dominican-driven offensive against "witches" and other supposed practitioners of diabolical arts that hit Lombardy in general and Cremona in particular after the Sforza lost control. In a post on another thread (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=932&start=20#p13671) I have begun documenting how during the offensive against "witches" that went into full gear generally after the 1437-1438 publication of a book about them, there appears to have been almost no Inquisitorial action in Lombardy until the 16th century. The only people I have found prosecuted were a few named by "witches" in Piedmont before they were burned. Here is my paraphrase from Lea, History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, vol. 3, of the only thing I could find in his massive three volume book pertaining to Lombard witches in the 15th century.
I see on vol. iii p. 518 that the Inquisitor of Lombardy did manage to get five in 1474, named by witches in Piedmont before they were burned. One had the bad luck to be named Guglielmina, but the good fortune to have a rich enough peasant family to hire a lawyer, who was able to outsmart the inexperienced inquisitor. He had to transfer the case to Turin, where the outcome is unknown.
On the other hand, I haven't found out much regarding the prosecution of witches in other parts of Italy, such as Florence or Naples. (Rome is well documented.) I need to do more research.

I do see that in the early 16th century, Cremona in particular was singled out as a hotbed of "witches," with much local resistance to the Inquisition's activities. Here is Lea:
When at Cremona, in the early years of the sixteenth century, the inquisitor, Giorgio di Casale, endeavored to exterminate the numberless witches flourishing there, and was interfered with by certain clerks and laymen, who asserted that he was exceeding his jurisdiction, Julius II, following the example of Innocent VIII in the case of Sprenger, promptly came to the rescue by defining his powers and offering to all who would aid him in the good work indulgences such as were given to crusaders--provisions which, in 1523 were extended to the Inquisitor of Como by Adrian VI. The result of all this careful stimulation is seen in the description of the Lombard witches by Gianfrancesco Pico, and in the alarming report by Silvester Prierias that they were extending down the Apennines and boasting that they would outnumber the faithful.
So far I have only consulted two sources, an article in Speculum and Lea's 1885. I will of course look at more. But from these I develop the suspicion that Bianca Maria and her husband protected these poor women who thought that their herbs and charms had magical powers. It would have been an extension of the sympathy I imagine that she had for other victims of the Inquisition and of papal authority in general. Another Sforza lady, Ginevra Sforza, later did express such sympathy publicly in Bologna, as I document in the next post (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=932&start=20#p13672). Fortunately it didn't come to that in Cremona until later. Nowadays, of course, the medical properties of herbs are well known, as well as the "placebo effect" of belief that a certain treatment works. That wasn't known then, but many then thought that whatever these women were doing, it wasn't worth burning them at the stake for.

Note: after posting, while Michael was writing his next post, I wrote the paragraph beginning "In this connection".

Petrarch's Remediis and the Ranks of Mankind

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 21:52
by mjhurst
Hi, Mike,
mikeh wrote:I recently saw another source that suggests either Pope Joan or a depiction of the Church as a whore. It is in a frontispiece illustration to Petrarch's De Remediis. Michael reproduced it in color on Jan. 25, 2013, in his blog at Michael in the sidebar says that it is from a 1503 French manuscript (although in his title for the jpg image he has it as "milan-c1400"). I posted the same image here, in black and white, on Jan. 23, 2013, at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=915&p=13484&hilit= ... iis#p13484, with a quote from my source, Trapp's Studies of Petrarch and his Influence, identifying it as Lombard, probably from Milan of about 1400.
The sidebar to which you refer is this:
pre-Gebelin wrote:Pichore's Remediis
The five images at the top of the page are from a 1503 French manuscript of Petrarch's De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae (BNF, MS. fr. 225). The artist was Jean Pichore (fl. 1500-1520), active in Paris and in Rouen, where Cardinal Georges d’Amboise, the archbishop, was one of his clients. The central allegory of the Tarot trump cycle shows the ups and downs of Fortune's Wheel: SUCCESS (Love & Chariot), REVERSAL (Time {or Asceticism} & Fortune herself), and DOWNFALL (Traitor & Death). As in Petrarch's Remedies these circumstances, which define the Fall of Princes storyline, are responded to with Virtue.
That refers to "the five images at the top of the page", from BnF fr.225, and I also gave links to Mandragore and Gallica where that manuscript can be accessed.

The other image, Milan 1400, is also from a manuscript of Petrarch's Remediis. I've been posting about that image on different fora for many years, using the image from Trapp. Ross made a scan of the color version a few years back.

One place I posted it is my own blog.

Iconography and the Order of the Cards ... cards.html

It is described with the Milan, 1400 identification, and includes this description of the figures.
pre-Gebelin wrote:This ranks-of-man design came from a Milanese MS of Petrarch's De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae, c.1400. The figures include Jester (w/monkey, red-beaked black bird, cage of other birds), Minstrel (playing a lute), Merchant (w/open chest of money), Doctor of Law (w/books), Pope (w/tiara and croizer), Petrarch (in Gothic cathedra, w/pen and open book showing the incipit of Remediis: Cum res fortunasque), King (crowned, w/orb, scepter, ermine trimmed robe), Soldier (w/crossbow), Gentleman (w/falcon and hounds), Woman (blond, w/red dress), Shepherd (w/ragged clothes, sheep, cudgel).
Different versions of De Remediis include extremely varied versions of the Wheel of Fortune and Ranks of Man motifs. All are significant parallels for Tarot, because the theme of Tarot and De Remediis are identical. Both detail the fickle turns of Fortune and the use of Virtue as a remedy for those circumstances.

Best regards,

P.S. As always, taking things out of context, especially from a poor-quality reproduction, and attacking that detail with a vivid imagination, is lots of fun. However, if your assumptions about her neckline were correct, then her sleeves would be unattached. That is, it looks like no dress I've seen in period art. As an alternative, perhaps there is a wide white collar to the dress. Is that speculative? Yes, but it is not wild fantasy. It makes sense of the image, by making the costume more typical. Yes, that also means less congenial to exotic interpretations, but that is always the case with more conservative, less far-fetched readings.

P.P.S. Why would either Pope Joan or the Church -- as Whore of Babylon or otherwise -- make ANY sense whatsoever in this Remediis group? What do you think the Ranks of Man motif is intended to represent, and how do these odd readings make sense of such a meaning?

P.P.P.S. As an aside, here are a couple links connected with Petrarch's Von der Artzney bayder Glück.

Wheel of Fortune -- British Museum ... 9&partid=1
Wheel of Fortune -- British Museum ... 0&partid=1
Tree (Ranks) of Man -- British Museum ... 6&partid=1
Illustrations for Von der Artzney bayder Glück -- Gallica

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Posted: 13 Feb 2013, 23:38
by mikeh
Michael, I'm not saying that the images in the illumination are taken from tarot cards, or if you cut up the paper you would have tarot cards. They're images some of which t correspond to tarot cards, as possible prototypes, representations of different types of people, which the tarot later had, with correspondences to several of the cards: the Fool, Bagatella (as trivial performer), Emperor, and Pope, are what I clearly see, also matching Trapp's description of the figures.

I don't know what typical street-whore dresses looked like in 1400. If she is outside, I don't see why it wouldn't have sleeves. The point is that it is trying to show the woman as seductive. Here is another example,


I get this from Seznec Survival of the Pagan Gods, p. 165. Presumably the men are students in Paris, but I don't remember the source of the illumination. In this case she's wearing a coat, so theoretically she could have a short-sleeved blouse on underneath. But people wear different clothes for different weather.

And thanks to you and Ross for the color illumination. In relation to your blog, my concern was to clarify (and, yes, emphasize0 the date and place of the illumination. You had them in the title of your jpg file, as I mentioned (I saw them when copying its url to my post); but in the text of your blog accompanying the illumination you only mentioned 1503 Paris.