Much of Petrarch's work could be seen as related to this triad. It certainly is centered on Love (his Love for Laura) and (Laura's) Death. Fortune also is an important concept in his work. See for instance sonnet 274:
Datemi pace, o duri miei pensieri:
non basta ben ch'Amor, Fortuna et Morte
mi fanno guerra intorno e 'n su le porte,
senza trovarmi dentro altri guerreri?
[here "Fortuna" is translated as "Fate"]:
O harsh thoughts of mine, grant me peace:
is it not enough that Love, Fate and Death
make war on me around, and at, the gates,
without me finding other battles within?
Michael J. Hurst has often mentioned Petrarch's “De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae” (Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul) as an important text. I guess that the black and white sides of Fortune's face in Michault's illustration correspond to Fair Fortune and Foul Fortune. Similarly, Petrarch mentions Happy Love as an example of Fair Fortune (I, 69, De Gratis Amoribus) and Death as an example of Foul Fortune (II, 119, De Morte).
Another work mentioned by Michael Hurst is the Amorosa Visione (Vision of Love) by Boccace. According to Wikipedia: “It tells of a dream in which the poet sees, in sequence, the triumphs of Wisdom, Earthly Glory, Wealth, Love, all-destroying Fortune (and her servant Death)”.
Yes, excellent, Marco. That's the kind of context that makes sense for the tarot--Boccaccio and Petrarch.
I have been thinking about what Cupid blindfolded vs. not blindfolded might mean, as we see the contrast in the CY/PMB vs. Charles VI. The "Triumph of Love" paintings and engravings are no help. Some have him blindfolded, some don't. Petrarch in the Trionfi
doesn't say one way or the other, that I can find. One must assume his eyes are open.
I found a drawing of Cupid shooting his arrow from the precise time, place, and artist as the Cary-Yale,or at least the PMB (Camille Medieval Art of Love
p. 41). Here he has his eyes open:
I form a hypothesis. When love's physical eyes are blinded, then the mental eyes can be opened. Cupid fires Lancelot with carnal love. But the love on the CY Love card is spiritual or mental, i.e. with discernment, as befitting a marriage, which needs to be long-lasting, as opposed to a fling in the changing world of the senss and the body.
This hypothesis is supported by the next card in the series (in the C order at least), the Chariot (http://a-tarot.eu/test/cary-yale-chariot.jpg
). One horse is tumultuous, the other controlled by the groom. The reference is probably to the recently translated section of Plato's Phaedrus
, with its two horses, a tumultuous one held back by the other and the Charioteer, but now holding the reins from below instead of, in the dialogue, on the chariot. Reason here has his feet on the ground, as we say.
In the Phaedrus
, it is the base horse of the appetites that draws the charioteer toward sensuous beauty, and which the charioteer and the noble horse restrain with difficulty. It is the eyes that are operating here. But the sight brings to the charioteer's mind the memory of true Beauty, which he had seen before he entered this world. Correspondingly, a beautiful woman is on top of the CY Chariot, with the dove of love, or turtledove of faithfulness, as part of her dowry. She is the image of archetypal Beauty, which is also the Chastity of Petrarch's Trionfi
. In the Phaedrus, she exists in the archetypal world, but also has images down below.
Further confirmation is in the PMB, in which the two horses have wings (at left in http://www.letarot.it/cgi-bin/pages/sag ... 7pmbcy.jpg
). In the Phaedrus, the horses have wings in the archetypal world and lose them when they descend to earth. The one in the CY is the image of Chastity, then, since the horses don't have wings and one needs to be restrained. The CY man and woman are the same as in the Love card, loving each other with their minds, even though the archetypal beauty, masculine and feminine (as pictured in the PMB), shines as well in their bodies.
We see this also in Botticelli's La Primavera
). A blindfolded Cupid aims his arrow carefully at the middle of the Graces, identified by Edgar Wind (Pagan Mysteries of the Renaissance
p. 117) as Castitas, Chastity, who gazes upon Mercury, god of reason.
In the Charles VI, as I said earlier, the unblindfolded Cupids fire their arrows into a party atmosphere of sensory grace but nothing mental or spiritual. In this deck, likewise, the Charioteer is a warrior, like Mars, dedicated to victory in the world of the senses and of the heart in the sense of courage (the center at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/S ... hariot.jpg
; the others are the "Mantegna" Mars and the Rothschild sheet's Chariot). In the artwork of chivalry, such warriors are shown kneeling in front of their ladies in chains or ropes (Camille p. 11).
as also in the Rosenwald Lover or the Schifanoia image, minus the ropes.
This is the Love of Petrarch's Trionfi
. His examples are Antony and Cleopatra and so on. The eyes, which see physical beauty, are the instruments of these chains. And so we have the open-eyed Erotes of Botticelli's Mars and Venus
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_and_V ... ticelli%29
) and various examples of Venus Victrix
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5e7P4Y3Wo3w/T ... aVenus.jpg
It is like Lancelot and Geneviere in the Bembo drawing. We see Lancelot's physical beauty, which Geneviere gazes at, while he, wounded and fired in the genitals, gazes at her. Or a medieval illumination in which Love shoots the lady in the eyes, with a shaft that pierces also the lover, skewering them together (Camille p. 40).
This I think is the context of the Charles VI. It, at least in its Love and Chariot, is made for a youth. It fits the lines of Shakespeare's famous "All the world's a stage" speech, describing the male in juvenetas and adolescencia, the spheres of Venus and Mars (he starts with the Moon and ends with Saturn):
...And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth...
The other, the CY or PMB, has in mind a mature couple, in wisdom if not in years, or at least, in the CY where he controls the reins, a mature male. The CY and PMB have an allegorical meaning in relation to the Phaedrus and its Beauty/Chastity and Reason, as well as to the planets Venus and Mars at their best. The Charles VI is related to the same planets, as images of the "children of the planets" show (e.g. http://www.billyandcharlie.com/planets/planetsbook.html
), but more in terms of the stages of life. The next stage, in Shakespeare's poem, is the Justice (Shakespeare's Sun; see http://poetry.rapgenius.com/William-sha ... rics#lyric
), and then a man past his prime, who scholars think was influenced by Giordiano Bruno's depiction of Jupiter in [iTriumphant Beast[/i]. but also bears visual resemblance to Saturn (and the ancient pun Chronos/Cronos).
There were probably different correspondences. It was a literary and artistic convention, if not more, in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to see life as a progression through domination by one planet after another, as Shakespeare's speech and other examples show--but in various orders (for example, Shakespeare goes from Venus to Mars, skipping the Sun until later) and perhaps more than one planet operating at any one time, as in life. People were accustomed to rich, elusive allegory; it wasn't simple one-to-one correspondences, as were striven for in the 18th century (much less sets of them, as with the Golden Dawn). I'm not sure how all the cards in this part of the sequence would work in this type of schema; there are various possibilities, from the point of view of ethical instruction and historical references (I've been expounding on these topics on the Popess thread, starting at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=385&start=90#p14231
I certainly enjoy the differences among these representations of the same cards in the sequence.