Re: Lydgate's "Popess" and Wheel of Fortune

#11
Sorry for the confusion, Marco. You were rspeking of an image that exemplified the role of the Popess, and the one I picked was the only one I saw with a coifred female. It didn't occur to me that your emphasis was on "role" rather than "Popess".

I, too, am concerned that images not be taken out of context. That's why I wanted to know dates of the images if possible. Late 16th, 17th, and 18th century images of the Church in a way that resembles the Popess tarot card to me indeed suggests that at that time a parallel between them may have been encouraged by some within the Church. I am more dubious about applying associations between the Church and Christ, because that requires a double association, first to the Pope, and then from the Pope to Christ. However an association between the Pope and the Church as married--because that language apparently was used in the Middle Ages, in some contexts--is worth exploring in relation to the early tarot. But there are problems relating that to the PMB, which we are exploring in another thread. Also, in the context of Boccaccio and Petrach, she would have been his whore, perhaps also in the sense that he was her pimp. Context is key.

I was intrigued by the image of the Virgin of Mercy--and yes, thank you for the Gaddi--for another reason. I have in the past suggested, following the line of Jean-Michael David, that in 16th-17th century France the Popess might have been associated with the Virgin Mary. But all I had to go on was her red and blue outfit and her book, which could be associated with the book Mary holds at the Annunciation. So these figures interest me. Searching for Schoen on Google doesn't turn up anything; nor does looking in the National Gallery (Washington DC?) database. So Michael, if you have a date and an artist or school for the two images we have been discussing, the one Marco was referring to and the one I thought he was referring to, that would help.

I am open to any and all associations to the Popess card, including alchemical and kabbalistic ones, as long as the associations have a place, date, and context (for both the art and the use of the card by a particular milieu) attached.

Re: Lydgate's "Popess" and Wheel of Fortune

#12
If the connection of Papess/Church and Mary is emphasized (an earthly female vicar of the Queen of Heaven), that too would not rule out a connection to the Holy Ghost, as it is a dove that appears often in the Annunciation and Mary’s presumed presence at the Pentecost.

A flying dove appears for the first time in an Annunciation, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, in the 5th century mosaic of the triumphal arch in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, stemming from the Council of Nicea declaration in 325 C.E. that the dove of the baptism was a valid symbol for the Holy Spirit( although it only became a fully integrated part of the Annunciation iconography in the 11th-12th centuries).
Image

The dove then gets associated with the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost with Mary, surrounded by the apostles, often shown under the descending dove, as in Giotto’s Pentecost in his Assisi cycle of frescoes (c. 1290):
Image

Also in the fresco in the Spanish chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence depicting the same (1365-68, Andrea da Bonaiuti)
Image

Finally, a version of the Annunciation that is contemporary to the PMB, Filippo Lippi, 1445-1450, where the radiant dove essentially impregnates her (multiple versions/variations of this theme) :
Image

The point is course that a Papess-Mary connection is not only compatible in regard to the Papess-as-final-Age-of-Holy-Ghost (i.e., Joachim of Fiore’s beliefs) but rather strengthens that connection in regard to established and contemporary iconography of the Virigin. After her Ascension, Mary's final roles would be acting as humanity’s intercessor and her odd role in the End Times, as she was associated with the woman clothed with the sun in Revelations, such as previously discussed in regard to Pisanello’s St. Anthony Abbott and St. George/dragon below Mary in the Sun (c. 1445): http://www.terminartors.com/files/artwo ... normal.jpg

Phaeded

Re: The meaning of the first six trumps

#13
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Thanks for reminding me of the Potestas Imperialis and Potestas Ecclesiastica images, Michael. Here they are for those who haven't seen them -


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/taro ... oryweb.jpg
Title page of Jacques Merlin "Quatuor Conciliorum Generalium" (Paris, 1524)

Details -

Image


Image
Thank you Ross for posting again these wonderful images. The 1524 engraving represents the "Popess" (Ecclesiastic Authority) "instructing" the Pope and the "Empress" ( Imperial Authority) "instructing" the Emperor. It is a very impressive parallel to trumps II-V!

Michael J. Hurst has published a whole gallery of Ranks of Men images in his recent post on pre-gebelin.
This 1508 engraving, similarly to Merlin's frontispiece, represents "The Only Holy Mother Church" assigning to the Pope and the Emperor the symbols of their authority.

Another image from the same gallery ("Der Warner Narr", "The Warning Fool"), links the Fool to the Pope and the Emperor.

Thank you Michael: all those images deserve an accurate examination and much reflection.

PS: I've changed the subject of this thread

Re: The meaning of the first six trumps

#14
Hi, Marco,
marco wrote:Michael J. Hurst has published a whole gallery of Ranks of Men images in [url=http://pre-gebelin.blogspot.it/2013/02/ ... nkind.html]...

Thank you Michael: all those images deserve an accurate examination and much reflection.
As with the Popess examples, I've posted dozens of images (loosely) grouped into various (overlapping) categories. My own view is that, at least in terms of Tarot, they DON'T merit detailed examination. That's why I didn't bother to identify them. I also do not think that most of the images that are so intensely over-interpreted in Tarot forums merit that kind of detailed scrutiny. That is certainly a viable pastime as many of the topics are interesting in their own right, but it generally tells us nothing about Tarot beyond a more-or-less vague parallel.

The meaning of Tarot is not in other images. It is in Tarot decks, their images and sequence. When people insist on making the parallels about Tarot, or Tarot about the parallels, the result is endless digressions like the decades-long (and largely fruitless) discussion of Manfreda. No matter how many wildly speculative narratives may be spawned by such researches, they tell us nothing about Tarot. The most they could conceivably tell us is about an incidental conflation with a single card in a single deck.

The most remarkable thing about the many dozens of Popess images I've posted, or these dozens of images of Pope, Emperor, et al., is that they are so similar and yet so different from each other, and from Tarot. This conventional novelty (and novel use of conventions) is something that is at the heart of understanding both the meaning of Tarot in general terms and the variations among the early Italian decks. Artists (and writers) would routinely do something a bit different but using very similar iconography, and they would also do something similar but with rather different iconography.

Uniqueness is the norm. Tarot is unique and, in that sense, typical. We can find parallels, many of them, for most of the pictorial and semantic elements in Tarot. But the drive of many Tarot enthusiasts to delve deeply into particular parallels, as if there is going to be a secret key to unlock mysteries of Tarot, is the same sort of motive that drove generations of occultists to invent obscure, lock-picking interpretations.

Parallels are informative, but only as parallels. They help us "get the gist", to understand some aspect of Tarot in general terms. Few of them, (other than Giotto's Vanagloria, Petrarch's Remediis and Trionfi, and Boccaccio's Casibus and Visione), can be considered sources or influences for more than an incidental detail. When some actual influence is identified, whether it is the connection between Catelin Geoffroy’s Traitor iconography and the Jewish Execution or a basic subject matter identification, like Orpheus, Diogenes, etc., these are of considerable interest for a particular card in a particular deck. On the other hand, they are of zero interest in understanding the overall meaning of that deck.

Anyway, I'm glad you like the gallery.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: The meaning of the first six trumps

#18
Hi Robert- Good to see your fingerprints!
I could not resist.......
I say yes because he is the Fool rolling the dice for the next 6 images.
I say yes because he is Orion always in my sky down under (not that one can talk about that here :) )
and according to this site...he holds just as much Power as the Virgin in images in Late Medieval Art outside the Church...... Which is where Tarot is played after all.
http://art-links.livejournal.com/1657884.html
As you can tell, I am not much into Hero Worship but I do like the Fool of Tarot exceedingly well...and I say The First Seven Trumps.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Pope and Wheel

#19
mjhurst wrote: The meaning of Tarot is not in other images. It is in Tarot decks, their images and sequence. When people insist on making the parallels about Tarot, or Tarot about the parallels, the result is endless digressions like the decades-long (and largely fruitless) discussion of Manfreda. No matter how many wildly speculative narratives may be spawned by such researches, they tell us nothing about Tarot. The most they could conceivably tell us is about an incidental conflation with a single card in a single deck.
Michael,
I have offered a close reading of the iconography of the PMB Pope and the PMB Wheel - no digressive parallels - in keeping with the original subject line of this thread; well, a minor variation thereof (Pope for Papess). I'm still curious on your thoughts on that. To reiterate those unique PMB parallels between those two cards:
1. Same patterened blue material on both the mantle and dress on the persons of the Pope and Fortune; no other trump card wears this material.
2. White undergarments are on three figures in the PMB: the Pope, Time and the crawling figure under the Wheel, but only #1 above ties two of those three cards together: the Pope and the Wheel.
3. Outside of the trumps, the Pope also wears the same blue pattered materials as that of the coin suits. Why? My only "digressive" (only argumentatively so) point, still within the corpus of VS cards, is that the CY King of Coins seemingly gestures with a rejecting hand and a turning away of the head from an offered coin, indicating that he is above being influenced by the coin. The coins and cups are Visconti stemmae (fountain and quince/pomegranate Sforza) in the CY, so this highest card of the Visconti coin suit would speak towards a symbolic representation of Filippo. The Duke bestows coins (benefices and everything else that can be gifted) but does not receive as such, unlike his condottiere; I can't see any other meaning for this odd court card. If the pope is associated by manner of dress with the PMB coin suit, the only other context is the coin suit of CY. So can we say the Pope is tainted with guilt by association with "filthy lucre"/coins if he does not offer up the same rejecting gestures of trhe CY king of coins? The Pope card is itself neutral in that regard. The only other connection, however, and it is a negative one, is the transference of his robe to Fortune and the similarly white clad/bearded male under the wheel/fortune (and that utilizes the very methodology you proposed - the context of nearby cards within a deck). How is the censuring Dantean theme of papal power exercizing secular power - e.g., charges that the papal throne was occasionally up for sale and corrupting patronage ("coin") - not implicit in the iconographical details shared between the Pope, coin of suits and the Wheel (ergo, the Papacy has submitted itself to the vagaries of Fortune by accepting money...in vast sums, needing papal bankers to manage it all)?

The CY King of Coins (PMB Pope and Wheel portrayed side by side above in earlier post in this thread):
Image

Re: The meaning of the first six trumps

#20
Phaeded wrote:I have offered a close reading of the iconography of the PMB Pope and the PMB Wheel
Perhaps. The term "close reading" is commonly used for any form of extravagantly detailed analysis. That includes postmodern types of analysis in which some meaningful text is deconstructed (pieces taken out of context) and revisioned (falsified by being placed in an alternative context). The proper term for that, of course, is bullshit. Close reading also refers to pretty much any and all forms of excessive over-interpretation that occurs on Tarot forums, whether it is rational, systematic, and historically substantiated or arbitrary, incoherent, and wholly delusional. In any case, the term is not an unqualified honorific.

In terms of a rational analysis, you do not appear to have taken the first step. Instead, you have pulled details out of context, retreated into a world of personal fantasy, and made up some stories. At its best this is historical fiction, and even that is probably too charitable a term.

Art-historical approaches may elicit only snarky dismissal by typical Tarot enthusiasts, but the Warburg guys developed the most successful and, to some extent, objective and codified methodology available. Iconography is that branch of the history of art which concerns itself with the subject matter or meaning of works of art. Panofsky's approach with its three levels of analysis seems a useful starting point. In terms of the formal level of analysis, the Visconti-Sforza Pope shows a bearded figure, seated on a platform, wearing rich robes, holding a cross-topped staff in one hand and making a gesture with the other. He also wears a large three-tiered crown. Because this is a well-executed and well-preserved artifact, the formal level is dead-easy.

In terms of the conventional level of analysis, (iconographic analysis), it's a pope shown with conventional trappings. Because this is such a commonplace subject, the conventional level is also dead-easy.

In terms of the third level (iconological analysis), we need to look to the larger context of the image: 1) the composition in which it appears and 2) cognate images in art and literature. This particular pope appears in a hierarchy with 21 other subjects, two of which are missing in this particular deck. This is the starting point for any rational iconological reading of the trumps. In that context, given an appropriate ordering for a Milanese deck, the Pope is adjacent to an Emperor, and both outrank four other cards with figures of lesser status than Emperor and Pope. This creates an extremely familiar topos.

My post yesterday included about seven dozen examples of this general subject. The large, red-lettered heading says, "This is the GENRE of the lowest trumps". Higher-ranking cards are of a different type: they are conventional allegories, like Love, Time, Fortune, Justice, and Death, and the highest-ranking trumps are from Christian eschatology. In context, the Pope in Tarot "means" roughly the same thing that the popes in those other works mean: he is the ruler of one branch of Mankind. This is iconography, elucidating the meaning of the Pope.



Context counts. Look at the whole image, in the context of the whole trump cycle, in the context of similar images over the centuries. You choose to ignore all that. You take two cards out of their sequential context and ignore the meaning of that larger context. You add some cards from another context, the suit cards. You then take details of the images out of the context of the images themselves, indulge your unconstrained fondness for apophenia, and invent some stories. This in childish, inane, nonsensical. This is a "close reading" only in the most pejorative sense.
Phaeded wrote:- no digressive parallels - in keeping with the original subject line of this thread; well, a minor variation thereof (Pope for Papess). I'm still curious on your thoughts on that. To reiterate those unique PMB parallels between those two cards:
1. Same patterened blue material on both the mantle and dress on the persons of the Pope and Fortune; no other trump card wears this material.
My first response is to point out a couple other trumps with that, or a closely similar pattern. The short guy in the miniskirt on Love has that pattern, and God the Father on the Angel card has a similar pattern. My second response is that your dismissal of the main elements and your focus on what seem to be irrelevant incidentals suggests that your interests are far removed from the actual meaning of Tarot.
Phaeded wrote:2. White undergarments are on three figures in the PMB:
White clothes. My thoughts on that are the same as on the blue clothes: this trivia is a great way to pass the time while ignoring the meaning of the cards.
Phaeded wrote:3. Outside of the trumps, the Pope also wears the same blue pattered materials as that of the coin suits. Why?
That is a fairly legitimate question, only because the suits seem to be associated with family heraldry. Perhaps the Pope is being associated with the Visconti family in some not-very-subtle way. Perhaps the Pope is being associated with money in a rather more subtle way. Perhaps, and this is the a priori or default hypothesis, it was not intended to convey a systematic meaning. If you can't make a VERY compelling case for some clear-cut meaning, then the default hypothesis wins. And you also need to ask why are the short guy on Love and God the Father on the Angel wearing similar blue patterns.

A more profitable question for you to reflect on might be, what drives you to focus on incidentals rather than the authentic subject matter of the cards? You clearly don't understand much about the trump cycle, so why not start with "the Pope is a pope", and see where that takes you? If you cannot do arithmetic, why pretend to know calculus?
Phaeded wrote:Coins seemingly gestures with a rejecting hand and a turning away of the head from an offered coin, indicating that he is above being influenced by the coin. The coins and cups are Visconti stemmae (fountain and quince/pomegranate Sforza) in the CY, so this highest card of the Visconti coin suit would speak towards a symbolic representation of Filippo. The Duke bestows coins (benefices and everything else that can be gifted) but does not receive as such, unlike his condottiere; I can't see any other meaning for this odd court card. If the pope is associated by manner of dress with the PMB coin suit, the only other context is the coin suit of CY. So can we say the Pope is tainted with guilt by association with "filthy lucre"/coins if he does not offer up the same rejecting gestures of trhe CY king of coins? The Pope card is itself neutral in that regard. The only other connection, however, and it is a negative one, is the transference of his robe to Fortune and the similarly white clad/bearded male under the wheel/fortune (and that utilizes the very methodology you proposed - the context of nearby cards within a deck). How is the censuring Dantean theme of papal power exercizing secular power - e.g., charges that the papal throne was occasionally up for sale and corrupting patronage ("coin") - not implicit in the iconographical details shared between the Pope, coin of suits and the Wheel (ergo, the Papacy has submitted itself to the vagaries of Fortune by accepting money...in vast sums, needing papal bankers to manage it all)?
This is all wild-eyed fantasy, and it has nothing to do with any methodology I would endorse. This appears to be scatterbrained apophenia, random "connections" that make little or no sense of the actual composition under consideration.

Thanks for asking.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests

cron