Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#25
marco wrote: Of course, as noted by Mike, Venus is the only female goddess among the five planetary gods corresponding to the movable stars: she is the obvious choice when thinking of a specific star personified by a woman. I have not made an extensive research, but I don't see any reason to connect this particular interpretation to Padua.
Cosimo de Medici was in Padua in 1430 during a plague (with Donatello and humanists in tow) and again during his 1433 exile (before moving on to Venice); both Filelfo and Alberti were graduates of Padua University and both demonstrated an interest in astrology no doubt because of having been educated in Padua; Fielfo was in both Florence and Milan. Filelfo even made a Greek translation into Italian (the first ever) for F. Visconti, c. 1445, and it was of a poem about the planets by "ps. Empedocles": "'Empedocles' et alii in Filelfo's Terza Rima", Ernest H. Wilkins, Speculum, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Apr., 1963), pp. 318-323. His Odes are littered with references to the planets. At all events, the Paduan astronomical tradition, a speciality that trumped Bologna university or Florence's studio, was not some obscure astronomical/astrological tradition but widespread and well known. Sforza's interest only grew in the planets as witnessed in the illuminated De sphaera (1460) and the horoscope for his son he received from Vimercate in 1461 discussed here viewtopic.php?f=11&t=976&p=14361. Condottieri relied on astrology for initiating most of their movements, marriages, etc....just like every other ruler. Thus it is with good reason to think the PMB reflected that interest, given his own use of astrology and that Filelfo was his primary humanist advisor, providing yet more link, in addition to Bianca, to the dynasty and traditions of the Visconti.

Venus in the PMB is just that, the planet Venus, but there would have been another important mythological reason for depicting her in the PMB as the Visconti claimed they were descended from her - no small "decorative" factoid:
Visconti genealogy 1403, detail.jpg
Visconti genealogy 1403, detail.jpg (97.38 KiB) Viewed 8519 times
Phaeded

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#26
3 steps towards debunking the Magi/”Star of Bethlehem” once and for all - at least for the PMB:

1. Compare Madonna del Parto paintings (the first example is by Nardo di Cione, c. 1350, in Florence, and the 2nd by Piero della Francesca, 1460, in Monterchi [not far from Anghiari BTW]) who has a hand on top of her pregnant belly – to the exact same spot/gesture as the PMB “Star”; thus one would rightly assume both are pregnant (or being impregnated in the case of “the Star”).
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2. The Magi appear at the manger 12 days after the birth (the Epiphany, also the date of Jesus’s later baptism) so this ‘pregnant gesture’ removes them from consideration in the PMB altogether, unless one can argue this impregnating star (the woman of the “star” is clearly not already pregnant - the belly is not full like the other two shown above - so she is being “impregnated”) is the same one that later led them to the manger. That, however, would then mean “the star” is an Annunciation that marks Jesus’s incarnation. But now consider the utter impossibility of anyone deviating from the well-worn Annunciation iconography where at least one or all three of these items are depicted: dove, the angel Gabriel, and/or a beam of light from God (usually combined with the dove). And immaculate Mary would never be shown without a halo. The PMB “star” has nothing to do with either Mary or the Magi.
3. So who is this woman with one hand on an impregnating belly and with the other reaching out to a “star”? See my comments above, but to restate it here with all ramifications: the “star” is Venus in an explicit astrological context – gesturing to her “star” - as related to her role of genetrix of the Visconti dynasty, inclusive of Bianca (a rather novel astral layer of meaning mapped on to what had previously mainly been a mythological meaning in the middle ages, as in the Besozzo illumination of 1403). Thus in the PMB the Visconti (and by implication, Sforza's offspring - his two kids already born by the first half of 1451, Galeazzo and Ippolita, may be indicated in the "World" card beneath the stars) are descended from the stars – referencing the scienza of astrology instead of just pagan mythology, which had been ridiculed often by the Church.

Phaeded

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#27
Phaeded wrote:Compare Madonna del Parto paintings (the first example is by Nardo di Cione, c. 1350, in Florence, and the 2nd by Piero della Francesca, 1460, in Monterchi [not far from Anghiari BTW]) who has a hand on top of her pregnant belly – to the exact same spot/gesture as the PMB “Star”; thus one would rightly assume both are pregnant (or being impregnated in the case of “the Star”).
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Many thanks to Phaeded for posting this illustration of the Woman of the Apocalypse. I never noticed before that the Visconti Sforza Star card is directly influenced by the iconography of this subject.

As suggested by Ross, I found a sermon by Saint Bonaventure (XIII Century) that discusses the association of the Stars, Moon and Sun with the three cardinal virtues. He does so while commenting a passage from the gospels describing the End of Times (Matthew, 24) that we recently discussed in another thread (in square brackets, the hypothetical associations with the last trumps):
Matthew wrote:For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets [the Antichrist i.e. the Devil], and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be [the Tower / Lightning]. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun [the Sun] be darkened, and the moon [the Moon] shall not give her light, and the stars [the Stars] shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [the World as the Glory of God]. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet [Judgement], and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Here is Bonadventure's comment:
Bonadventure wrote: -Sermones de Tempore, Domenica Prima Adventus-

Nam discipulis interrogantibus, Quod est signum adventus tui et consummationis saeculi? respondit: Post tribulationem dierum illorum sol obscurabitur , et luna non dabit lumen suum , et stellae cadent de caelo. Ex intellectu horum verborum et hodierni Evangelii potest colligi, quod tria erunt signa secundum adventum praecedentia, ad quae omnia alia poterunt reduci. Nam primo erunt signa deceptibilium miraculorum ad subversionem veritatis fidei; secundo erunt signa carnalium delectationum ad refrigerationem incendii caritatis; tertio erunt signa multiplicium tribulationum ad evulsionem longanimitatis spei. Signa carnalium delectationum intelliguntur per lunaris luminis privationem , signa deceptibilium miraculorum intelliguntur per solaris radii obscurationem , signa multiplicium tribulationum intelliguntur per stellarum casum et declinationem.



“Sermons for specific liturgical feasts: First Sunday of advent”

When his disciples asked: “Which are the sings of your coming and of the end of times?” He answered: “After the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light and the stars will fall from the sky”. From the comprehension of those words, the gospel of today, one can understand that there will be three signs preceding the second coming, to which all other signs can be reduced. So first there will be the signs of the false miracles in order to subvert the truth of faith. In the second place, there will be the signs of the enjoyment of the flesh, to dampen the fire of charity. In the third place, there will be the signs of many troubles, to disrupt the patience of hope. The signs of the enjoyment of the flesh are indicated by the privation of the light of the moon. The signs of the false miracles are indicated by the obscuration of the rays of the sun. The signs of the many troubles are indicated by the fall and descent of the stars.
So the associations proposed by Bonadventure are:

Faith – Sun (obscured by the false miracles)
Charity – Moon (obscured by the enjoyment of the flesh)
Hope – Stars (falling to announce many trouble)
bonaventura.png
bonaventura.png (273.58 KiB) Viewed 8492 times
I am more and more convinced that the explanation of the Stars, Moon and Sun in terms of the Signa Coeli (signs in the sky) and an End of Times narration (as proposed by Michael J. Hurst) makes sense of this section of the trump sequence.

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#28
You have some good arguments, Phaeded. The Padua Venus is also pregnant (unlike her manuscript copy). She was a fertility goddess. Botticelli's Primavera Venus was also pregnant, and according to a 1499 inventory it hung in a Medici bedroom, to work her sympathetic magic, in the same room with a Madonna and Child (see Barbara Deimling, Botticelli, pp. 39ff), probably a wedding present. It also fits my interpretation that the card is one of three (others being Moon and Temperance) memorializing Elisabetta Maria Sforza, a Venus descendant. Less likely, because of the expression on the lady's face, it could also have been a fertility charm for Ippolita on the occasion of her wedding. The card is not from 1451, as it is by the second artist and in a later style, I think influenced by the Schifanoia, which is especially evident in the Fortitude card's theme from Pietro d'Abano.

But I don't think your arguments are strong enough to exclude other interpretations at the time. I still maintain that the card is a composite, an amalgamation of different themes, Venus being one of them. Fertility is connected with hope, the hope of a child. And hope is connected to Christ.

Another point: the expression on the PMB Lady's face is not at all typical of Venus; it is more like someone trying to overcome despair, the antitype of Hope, depicted on the Cary-Yale Hope card by Judas. Elisabetta Maria, only 15 and with a body probably too young for childbirth, had died as a result (and hence would not look pregnant at the time of her death and after, just as the lady on the card does not look pregnant).

Also, the gesture of pointing upwards that Phaeded found in Padua is not confined to Venus. That gesture typically represented Astrologia/Astronomia, one of the liberal arts. Huck showed a bunch of them at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=869&p=14557#p12628

Typical is Bartolomeo's representation in "Song of the Virtues and Liberal Arts," 1350s Bologna, which would have been in Milan, which is where Pellegrin's inventory of the Visconti-Sforza Library finds it; it was owned by family that had had recent archbishops of Milan.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zZcS8TJw9nk/U ... _0484a.jpg

Of course the difference is that there is just one star, not a globe of them. It is "star" rather than "stars".

The card is definitely not an Annunciation. But the Star can still be the Star of Bethlehem in the sense of representing Christ, who came once and is expected to come again. Some representations of the Magi then had Christ superimposed on the star. (I saw one yesterday at the library but didn't make a copy.) The star of his first coming leads to the "bright and morning star" of his second coming.

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#29
The application of the specific texts (Bonaventure and his text in Revelation) that Marco cites is refuted by the PMB cards themselves. I just can't imagine that nobody would pay attention to what is depicted when trying to figure out what the cards are about. There are no falling stars on the Star card, no darkened moon and sun--although admittedly the Moon lady looks troubled, and it could be by desires of the flesh, of which Diana is a good antidote (though I wouldn't have guessed that otherwise, from her body language); but it seems to me she is more likely threatened with Inconstancy, an antitype of Faith, because of something that has happened, or a certain dragon of Rev. 12:1. I applied that text to the PMB cards a couple of weeks ago (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=975&p=14436&hilit=clothed#p1443. I see on the Star card thread in Bianca's Garden, posting.php?mode=reply&f=23&t=400#pr14560 that you agree on that at least. Without a dragon, no sun on her clothing, and the moon not at her feet, that interpretation is a bit forced, but so are many; it fits the next card and the one before.)

Looking at that child on the PMB Sun card, the last thing I would think of is false miracles. The only Revelation text I have been able to associate him to is the child born to the woman clothed with the sun, the Moon-lady. The PMB Sun-child looks much the same as many of the Madonna and Child children, and Christ was routinely associated with the sun. That is probably enough.

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#30
marco wrote:
So the associations proposed by Bonadventure are:

Faith – Sun (obscured by the false miracles)
Charity – Moon (obscured by the enjoyment of the flesh)
Hope – Stars (falling to announce many trouble)
Well, after ...

Sun = Charity
Moon = Faith
Star = Hope
(Steve's collection)

and

Sun = Charity
Moon = Hope
Star = Faith
(idea of Ross)

... we have now with St. Bonaventura a third way of correlation, which is considered as the "correct equation".

3 elements crossed with 3 other elements has logically 6 possibilities. Perhaps there are other opinions about "correct equations".

A=A1, B=B1, C=C1
A=A1, B=C1, C=B1
A=B1, B=A1, C=C1
A=B1, B=C1, B=A1
A=C1, B=A1, C=B1
A=C1, B=B1, C=A1

St. Bonaventura's interpretation might be close to the "15 signs of last judgment", which we discussed last year ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=865
Image

15. sign 11: the dead rise from their tombs
Things, which were low or buried before the earth quake, might have come to the surface
... well, one sees the typical dead corpses in action ... Death symbol


Image

16. sign 12: the stars fall
Star symbol

Image

17. sign 13: the living die, so that they can rise again with the dead

Image

18. sign 14: earth and sky consumed by fire
Fire symbol

Image

19. sign 15: sun and moon await the coming of Christ
Sun and Moon at one picture

Image

20. 005 The Last Judgment
= 20 LAST JUGDMENT
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#31
Considering life and time of ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonaventure
Franciscan, (1221 – 15 July 1274), interestingly canonized by Pope Sixtus IV in 1482

... it's difficult for me to compare his evaluation of the theological virtues as dominant for the virtues iconography of 15th century.
Especially as the Franciscans preached against playing cards. Pope Sixtus had been a Franciscan, and so it was natural, that an older Franciscan became canonized by him.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#32
Marco wrote:
I am more and more convinced that the explanation of the Stars, Moon and Sun in terms of the Signa Coeli (signs in the sky) and an End of Times narration (as proposed by Michael J. Hurst) makes sense of this section of the trump sequence.
Here is a 15th century example of an Apocalypse done for the Duke of Savoy – nothing similar is reflected in the PMB trumps:
http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits ... /15_07.jpg
Hell, Time/Saturn doesn’t even hold a grapes of wrath scythe, a traditional symbol of that classical god that would have been most fitting in a supposed apocalyptic context, as does God Himself in the Savoy illumination I just linked. Again, where are the seven candles, any of the the strange beasts, etc.?

Oddly, the putto holding the PMB Sun mask does have a relationship to Revelations but it is based on a Visconti tradition that has appropriated that imagery for their own personal “apotheosis” and does not address the events of the End Times per se; Kirsch on the relevant Visconti illuminations:
The attributes of the Madonna on folio 109v in Lat. 757 (Fig 26)...The sun behind the Christ child in this miniature is associated not only with the infant Savior but also, in conjunction with the silver crescent moon on the step of the throne, with the Virgin as the Woman of the Apocalypse, "clothed with the sun" and with the moon "under her feet" (Revelation 12:1). Petrus de Castelletto, the Augustinian friar who composed Giangaleazzo's eulogy, constructed it around yet another attribute of the Woman of the Apocalypse. The Duke of Milan and Count of Virtues, whose ensign in life had been the rays of the sun, said Petrus, would in death receive a radiant crown terminating in twelve stars, each representing one of his virtues; the crown, moreover, would be none other than that described in Revelations 12:1 as belonging to the Woman of the Apocalypse.” (Edith W. Kirsch. Five Illuminated Manuscripts of Giangaleazzo Visconti 1991: 29).
I wrote elsewhere in regard to Kirsch’s insights: “ Finally, its not too much of a reach to see the PMB Sun card as Giangaleazzo’s post-mortem radiant solar crown (conjoined with death mask) held aloft by a putto (but now signifying the apotheosis of Filippo?).“ viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13644&hilit= ... ead#p13644

Filelfo provides the precise reasoning for such a belated “apotheosis” of Filippo Visconti in his Odes, II.2. First he speaks of Filippo’s hoped for successor, Sforza, and then the need to rectify matters with his father-in-law:
Just as one god alone rules heaven with eternal governance, so may one pious prince who can bring peace to this ruined state preside over the city.
O God, enough penalty has been paid if we have perpetrated a profane wrong, we who recently neglected the funeral rites of the noble Duke Filippo. For we did not celebrate the great prince with proper honors. Pardon us at last and kindly bring help to those who tearfully confess that a crime has been committed (II.2.45-55, tr. Robin, ).
The PMB Sun card is this expiation of guilt/fulfilment of obligation while at the same time follows the Giangaleazzo Visconti precedent of showing the deceased prince in radiate sun.

Your premise, that the sun (and moon and star) primarily apply to “End of Times narration” is still in need of a contemporary context that indicates Sforza, Fiellfo or anyone else connected to that court, with a pronounced interest in the End Times, c. 1451. All they were doing in that time was linking Sforza as closely as possible with the Visconti, not cowering in fear of some imminent End Times (something more appropriate to Savonarola's Florence in the 1490s).
Mikeh wrote:
The [Star] card is not from 1451, as it is by the second artist and in a later style, I think influenced by the Schifanoia, which is especially evident in the Fortitude card's theme from Pietro d'Abano.
No one has demonstrated differing dates for the two groups of cards – just two different hands. Given the speed with which Sforza demanded tarot decks when outside of Milan in 1449 there is no reason to think his impatience waned a year or two later; i.e., the job could have simply been broken up among two artists to get the deck(s) done quickly, thus the trivial differences.; This theory would not rule out Dummet’s own musings of two Bembo brothers involvement. Another option would have been if the commissioner, Sforza, sent a humanist behind the particulars of the written program for this deck (Filelfo in my mind), went to the Bembos’ studio in Cremona to inspect the finished product…and found some of the cards wanting (hence replaced). At all events, to base one’s entire theory (as Huck does in seeing a certain number of cards in one group) on an “original” and “later” group of cards is engage in sheer conjecture on whether they were done at the same time or not; all we know is one group of trumps has minor differences from another group of trumps, but that all subsequent VS decks followed what we must assume became a combined canonical group of trumps. Unless that happened early on (my theory: they happened at the same time), why are there not exemplars from the so-called earliest group of the trumps that were replaced?

BTW: d’Abano was from Padua – one more sign pointing to the strong influence of the Paduan astrological tradition on the PMB, not Ferrara (and Schifonaia was based on the calendar/months tradition).

Phaeded

Re: Collection: "3 Magi" and "3 theological virtues"

#33
Phaeded wrote:
Marco wrote:
I am more and more convinced that the explanation of the Stars, Moon and Sun in terms of the Signa Coeli (signs in the sky) and an End of Times narration (as proposed by Michael J. Hurst) makes sense of this section of the trump sequence.
Here is a 15th century example of an Apocalypse done for the Duke of Savoy – nothing similar is reflected in the PMB trumps:
http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits ... /15_07.jpg
Hell, Time/Saturn doesn’t even hold a grapes of wrath scythe, a traditional symbol of that classical god that would have been most fitting in a supposed apocalyptic context, as does God Himself in the Savoy illumination I just linked. Again, where are the seven candles, any of the the strange beasts, etc.?
Hello Phaeded,
I follow Dummett and Michael J. Hurst in seeing three sections in the tarot trumps.
I think that only the third section (above Death) is related to the End of Times. I don't think that Love or Time are particularly related to that theme: they illustrate the vicissitudes of human life. The last trumps illustrate what awaits mankind after Death (this is why they are "after death" in the sequence).

I do not limit myself to the Book of Revelation when thinking of Christian illustrations of the End of Times. For instance I also consider Beato Angelico or Giotto or the different illustrations of Petrarch's Triumph or Eternity. The seven candles are not strictly necessary to illustrate Christian eschatology.

About the topic of this thread: I don't think that the Stars, Moon and Sun in tarot had any particular relation with the theological virtues. This research is useful to me mainly because the texts I found confirm that, in most cases, the triad Stars, Moon, Sun is related to the End of Times. When (as in tarot) the triad is followed by an illustration of the Final Judgement, I find that explanation very convincing.

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