Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#31
Phaeded wrote
I do not doubt that there are some alchemical associations, but imagining red, white and black colors onto the three putti is but an alchemical interpretation run amok – there are no differences between the three putti besides their physical dispositions. The dispositions are thus:
• Left putto: melancholic pose with head on hand
• Central Putto: Atlas/Hercules
• Right putto: arms crossed to indicate inaction (not even reading) = acedia/sloth.
I of course do not see red, white and black on the three putti. The colors come from the humors. Melancholia is the black humor, white that of phlegm, red that of blood (the "sang" in sanguine). Your later quote about Ficino speaks of "phlegmatic sloth": the two words go together.

Hercules is not a bad reading of the middle putto. But Hercules was the type of Christ, and so of the rubedo. The Liber Mutus even showed the last stage of the work as the apotheosis of Hercules (http://www.esoblogs.net/wp-content/gall ... utus15.gif), your "heroic overcoming of the self towards a cosmological understanding". Apotheosis of Hercules, or a burlesque of that motif, seems to me a good enough reading of the Ace of Staves. A precedent is the putti that play with the armor in Zoppo's Venus Victrix drawing

Image


I have written on this subject, even bringing up Hercules (a cuirass drawing in the Hypnerotomachia), at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&p=8743&hilit=Venus+Zoppo#p8743. The Zoppo armor would appear to be Mars', since it is Venus, but that does not have to be true for the card.

Phaeded wrote,
So we have the materia of the tree, cypress or otherwise, transformed into a useful tool in the next suit, staves - a notion of positive progression through the pips. The motto on the ace of coins is to “persevere”, which in the pips is through the four elements/humors, and then classical and biblical exempli in the trumps, the latter demonstrating positive and negative outcomes of the admixtures of the material of elements/humors.
That is quite a summary! As far as I can tell, the four humors only correspond to the four suits in the court cards. But perhaps that is enough. But how do the trumps demonstrate the positive and negative outcomes of the material of elements/humors? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I'd like to hear more. If you already did, just point me to it. I've been away from this subject and focused on other things.

I see your point about the lack of a blue band on the two aces, that it looks like gold, and the background is indeterminate. I do not know the basis. It would be odd and unprofessional for her to just make it up because it fits her proposal. Art historians, even ones with the actual cards at their disposal and the scientific equipment to analyze the pigments and knowledge of how they change over time, are not exempt from bias. She should have explained her point with some evidence, since prima facie it seems contradicted by visual inspection. I notice that she refers us to her reproductions of the two cards. I wonder if they look different there. Unfortunately I have misplaced my copy of the book (since yesterday!).

Phaeded wrote, in response to Gnaccolini's comment "Sanudo is documented as commissioning work by Marco Zoppo, whose style is similar to that of the cards":
Now that we know the artist was likely to have been Nicola di Maestro Antonio d'Ancona this last point is irrelevant.
It is not irrelevant. The cards are in a style similar to Zoppo's. Sanudo liked that style. Apparently Nicola was able to draw or engrave in that style. So the style supports (without proving) the thesis that they were for Sanudo.

Phaeded wrote,
But what bothers me the most about this Sanudo proposal is that of the 8 cards showing a stemma why place his initials on two of the cards (sword and baton aces) that clearly show the Venier’s coat of arms?
Why not? It's his mother's family. The Venier stemma makes sense to be there, because that family isn't the one that starts with "S". That way both families, Sanudo and Venier, can be represented on those cards.

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#32
mikeh wrote:Phaeded wrote,
But what bothers me the most about this Sanudo proposal is that of the 8 cards showing a stemma why place his initials on two of the cards (sword and baton aces) that clearly show the Venier’s coat of arms?
Why not? It's his mother's family. The Venier stemma makes sense to be there, because that family isn't the one that starts with "S". That way both families, Sanudo and Venier, can be represented on those cards.
Just my question ... is each of the details, which points in the deck to the Venier or Sanudo family, really part of the engraving (and not part of the additional painting?)

The inscription, which resulted in the dating of the deck to 1491, was NOT part of the engravings (I remember). At trump 14, Bocho.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#33
Well, yes, but isn't that (being part of what was painted, as opposed to engraved) true for most of what we are talking about, including the Venier arms, which have to be a particular color? I don't know if the parallel diagonal lines that make up the stripe on the arms are part of the engraving or not. We know that other copies of the engravings were made, because they are in other collections. It is the deck as painted that Gnaccolini is connecting to Sanudo. Perhaps the commission for the engravings was initiated by him, but that is less clear.

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#34
For the engraver it would have been logical to produce the deck without special personal heraldic, leaving place for every customer to add that, what he desired.
I think, so it was also made for book decorations.

If it was so, then Sanudo and Venier heraldic wouldn't tell too much about the origin of the engraving. Naturally it could be, that Sanudo and Venier were close to the engraver, but there's no guarantee.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#35
Huck wrote:Just my question ... is each of the details, which points in the deck to the Venier or Sanudo family, really part of the engraving (and not part of the additional painting?)
The inscription, which resulted in the dating of the deck to 1491, was NOT part of the engravings (I remember). At trump 14, Bocho.

The primary point is the deck is Venetian and dates to circa 1491 (maybe printed a year before and painted subsequently) - Venier, as I’ll discuss in a separate post, were very likely sympathetic to Bernardo Bembo’s pro-Florentine position, and most certainly were closely tied to his more famous son, Pietro. My theory is any patrician family with those same characteristics – pro-Florence/Ficino - would have been interested in this deck, but that does not rule out Venier as also the commissioner of the deck (just no way to prove that). The most we can say is that at least one Venier branch of the clan (using the gold diagonal band on top of the standard red/white horizontal stripes stemma) definitely understood the deck in ordering a special painted deck for themselves.

Back to the meaning of the deck….
Phaeded wrote,
So we have the material of the tree, cypress or otherwise, transformed into a useful tool in the next suit, staves - a notion of positive progression through the pips. The motto on the ace of coins is to “persevere”, which in the pips is through the four elements/humors, and then classical and biblical exempli in the trumps, the latter demonstrating positive and negative outcomes of the admixtures of the material of elements/humors.
That is quite a summary! As far as I can tell, the four humors only correspond to the four suits in the court cards. But perhaps that is enough. But how do the trumps demonstrate the positive and negative outcomes of the material of elements/humors? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I'd like to hear more. If you already did, just point me to it. I've been away from this subject and focused on other things.
Mike,
My response really requires a more in-depth explanation I will provide in its own post, but an abridged response here.

First of all, the pips must bear some relation to the trumps, no? The first two pips lay out the whole program in a nutshell. I’ve already posted above as to how Ficino explains the 3 putti on the 1st card, the Ace of Coins, with the central Atlas-putti as the protagonist (humanist or scion of the Venier clan undergoing a humanist education) guiding himself between the twin evils of melancholy and sloth, maladies specific to the “Saturnine” pursuits of the intellectual/humanist. This is astrology but involves one’s physis as well – hence humoral/elemental receiving astral influences. But what of the relationship of the aspiring mind in a cosmos full of pitfalls to that of the historical exempli of the trumps? That is laid out in the very next card, the two of coins showing a laurel-wreathed classical hero, notably above a contemporary Italian. The exempli were all subject to the same influences and physis that has always existed. But I believe the laurel on the 2 of coins indicates positive exempli, matched by the three trumps wearing laurel crowns who are positive historical exampli:

* Catulo - this gens name could reference both the Republican general and Rome’s greatest lyric poet, whose work had been discovered in Verona and published for the first time in 1472; a keynote of his poetry was a sense of justice as well as the theme of exempli found in the trumps (“For Catullus, the race of heroes is a race of warriors, who are idealized to excesss. (Patricia A. Johnston, Vergil's Agricultural Golden Age: A Study of the Georgics, 1980: 35).

* Deotauro - was a faithful client-king of the Romans for a province in Turkey that the Venetians would have naturally likened to the Ottoman’s homeland (and note that “Bocho” ruled a province in North Africa – another region associated with the “Moors” - its almost as if the two client-king trumps are here to outline the future hopes of a Venetian conquest of the Ottoman Empire). Notably for humanists, Deiotaurus sided Pompey and after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus by Caesar that Deiotauro was saved due to the advocacy of none other than Cicero between 49 BC and 45 BC.

* Catone: Cato the Elder was a significant Republican general but the younger Cato who committed suicide in Libya at the end of the civil wars was the Republican hero par excellence and essentially the protagonist of Lucan’s Pharsalia. Dante placed this venerated pagan as the guardian of Purgatory, outside of the Inferno.
There are bad and good exempli but the unabashedly good ones are marked out with laurel crowns.

Ultimately both the pips and trumps are just the Neoplatonic worldview, with Ficino’s bent. Think of the cast of characters of the exempli as a Somnium Scipionis, but with a strong Lucan Republican bent (see his Pharsalia, Book 6, which noticeably departs from Virigil’s list of Imperial/Caesarian heroes in the underworld vision of Book 6 of the Aeneid). Lucan best matched the republican concerns of Venice, although (SC)Ipeo appears to be singled out in the Sola Buca trumps for special attention. The trumps are paired (with 0-21, Mato/World paired as well) but the figure of Ipeo is linked to the two preceding cards by the Olivo trump, who extends a rolled manuscript forward out of his frame towards Ipeo while looking back at Metelo (his true pair), thus linking all three 3 cards. Ipeo seems to contain elements from both preceding cards: the dragon wings that should be on Olivo’s dragon and the “SC” from Metello, when mapped over Ipeo, appears right before the Ipeo, thus completing the name of the branch of the gens featured in the Somnium, “Scipio/Scipeo”.
Metelo-Olivo-Ipeo.jpg
Metelo-Olivo-Ipeo.jpg (27.05 KiB) Viewed 2185 times
SC -IPEO.jpg
SC from Metelo mapped over Ipeo
SC -IPEO.jpg (106.28 KiB) Viewed 2185 times
Ipeo Dragon.jpg
Ipeo Dragon.jpg (37.2 KiB) Viewed 2185 times
Finally, note that [SC]Ipeo wears the same pointed tiara as the elemental “earth mother” (nude and apparently pregnant) in the four of coins, but Ipeo addresses a spiritello that I can only guess represents his ancestor/gens , for indeed it is on a tree that I’d assume is stand-in for the family tree (in the Somnium it is Scipio Aemilianus speaking to his dead grandfather Scipio Africanus). The pointed diadem attribute shared with the “earth-mother” (Vesta? “The Aedes Vestae and the Ignis Vestae being the Hearth of the city of Rome guaranteed its connection to Earth and its permanence in history”) points to that which the younger Scipio-as-humanist protagonist has overcome (ascent through the planetary spheres) to glean the vision of the heroes that abide in the celestial abode, per Cicero and Macrobius’s versions of the Somnium.

Although the “Ipeo” figure looks like a mendicant (i.e., the robe), the partially hidden shield belies that this figure was indeed a warrior – most likely a reference to the noble action of a Roman general retiring to the otium of his villa (as Scipio Africanus did) versus taking up dictator aspirations. Venice’s restricted joint rulership of Patrician families would have seen themselves reflected in the Republican Rome untainted by the principate (and Nero, the only Roman figure not listed solely by its gens but by his personal name, is wholly evil – throwing an innocent to the flames).

Phaeded

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#36
Phaeded wrote: The primary point is the deck is Venetian and dates to circa 1491 (maybe printed a year before and painted subsequently) ...
The point before this "primary point" is, that the handpainted edition has the Venice attribute with dating (the 4 Mario note and 14 Bocho note), but the only engraved versions had it not. Kaplan I, page 126/127, has the Bocho and the Mario without an inscription (from an only engraved version, from Vienna).
Kaplan I notes at p. 124, that the handpainted version had the additional inscriptions "Senatus Venetus" and "Anno ab urbe condite MLXX " (as one can see at the Tarotpedia pictures).

So one cannot conclude, that the engraving was made in Venice (naturally one can't exclude the possibility, that engraving + handpainting was made in Venice).What one clearly knows, is, that the person who made the handpainting wanted to point to Venice and likely the year 1491.

Here are the Kaplan pictures.

Image


Image


Do you see any of the Sanudo or Venier attributes?
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#37
Huck wrote:
Phaeded wrote: The primary point is the deck is Venetian and dates to circa 1491 (maybe printed a year before and painted subsequently) ...
The point before this "primary point" is, that the handpainted edition has the Venice attribute with dating (the 4 Mario note and 14 Bocho note), but the only engraved versions had it not. Kaplan I, page 126/127, has the Bocho and the Mario without an inscription (from an only engraved version, from Vienna).
Kaplan I notes at p. 124, that the handpainted version had the additional inscriptions "Senatus Venetus" and "Anno ab urbe condite MLXX " (as one can see at the Tarotpedia pictures).

So one cannot conclude, that the engraving was made in Venice (naturally one can't exclude the possibility, that engraving + handpainting was made in Venice).What one clearly knows, is, that the person who made the handpainting wanted to point to Venice and likely the year 1491.

Do you see any of the Sanudo or Venier attributes?
What I see is that the only family we can link with the Sola Busca is the Venier. And 1491 is a fairly early date -its not like this was a late over-painting of a much earlier deck. I've not seen a cogent argument for a much earlier date...thus, this connects the Veniers to the cultural milieu that produced this deck.

More importantly and germane to either the printed or painted SB cards, I also see a heavy emphasis on Republican Rome in the trumps with the only imperial figure, Nero, as being wholly negative. Given the context of the earlier Scipio-Caesar debate, it seems unlikely in the extreme that an imperial court such as d'Este or Gonzaga would have commissioned this deck. That leaves us with Venice or Florence (or I suppose you could throw in the less likely candidates of Siena or Genoa)...and considering the artist is from the Adriatic, not far from Venice-controlled Ravenna where Bernardo Bembo was podesta in 1483, all signs point to Venice...no sign points to any other polity.

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#38
Phaeded wrote: What I see is that the only family we can link with the Sola Busca is the Venier. And 1491 is a fairly early date -its not like this was a late over-painting of a much earlier deck. I've not seen a cogent argument for a much earlier date...thus, this connects the Veniers to the cultural milieu that produced this deck.

More importantly and germane to either the printed or painted SB cards, I also see a heavy emphasis on Republican Rome in the trumps with the only imperial figure, Nero, as being wholly negative. Given the context of the earlier Scipio-Caesar debate, it seems unlikely in the extreme that an imperial court such as d'Este or Gonzaga would have commissioned this deck. That leaves us with Venice or Florence (or I suppose you could throw in the less likely candidates of Siena or Genoa)...and considering the artist is from the Adriatic, not far from Venice-controlled Ravenna where Bernardo Bembo was podesta in 1483, all signs point to Venice...no sign points to any other polity.
Well, there's this pairing principle, which a short time earlier had happened in Ferrara (Boiardo poem). The Panfilio figure, the theater play in Ferrara with a Panfilio (just in 1491). The visit of Alfonso and his father to Venice in spring. The long tradition of Ferrara and creative Trionfi card productions. The recent allowances for cities on Venetian territory, which indicate, that Trionfi possibly had been before a forbidden game.

And these strange features on the Sola Busca, which make it look, as if it had something to do with a playing card custom in Lucca.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#39
Huck,
There are deep, undeniable cultural links between Venice and Ferrara, but there are three strong reasons for ruling out Ferrara as patron of the SB:
1. Why would Ercole be interested in the predominantly Republican program represented by the trumps in the SB?
2. I'll continue to demonstrate a strong Ficno influence on the SB, not a Savonarola influence (whom Ercole backed). Pico aligned himself with Savonarola, not Ficino.
3. Is it not odd that Ercole would feature the d'Este device of the St. Geroge defeated dragon on his coins, but then have the dragon, threatening with open mouth, hovering right above the king's head on the highest trump in the SB? Yes, every element does not have to refer to a dynastic emblem/stemma, but in this case it was featured on the coin of the realm and hard to believe its portrayal on something equally portable as cards would not have bothered that court. The dragon does appear as coopted - the dragon wings on the [SC]Ipeo figure - but not run through like St. George's foe.

Image


And if you are going to continue to press c. 1491 events in Ferrara into your argument then you have to admit the primacy of the painted on 1491 date added by the Venier - which of course points to Venice. Its time to move on from earlier theories....
Phaeded

Re: How eccentric is the Sola-Busca?

#40
Phaeded wrote, about the pips, I assume in answer to my query about how the number cards reflect the humors
First of all, the pips must bear some relation to the trumps, no? The first two pips lay out the whole program in a nutshell. I’ve already posted above as to how Ficino explains the 3 putti on the 1st card, the Ace of Coins, with the central Atlas-putti as the protagonist (humanist or scion of the Venier clan undergoing a humanist education) guiding himself between the twin evils of melancholy and sloth, maladies specific to the “Saturnine” pursuits of the intellectual/humanist. This is astrology but involves one’s physis as well – hence humoral/elemental receiving astral influences. ut what of the relationship of the aspiring mind in a cosmos full of pitfalls to that of the historical exempli of the trumps? That is laid out in the very next card, the two of coins showing a laurel-wreathed classical hero, notably above a contemporary Italian. The exempli were all subject to the same influences and physis that has always existed. But I believe the laurel on the 2 of coins indicates positive exempli, matched by the three trumps wearing laurel crowns who are positive historical exampli:
In all that, you never actually say what humors go with what suits, so as to see if your idea works.

Here is Marco's assignment (from tarotpedia, but also, since it's now down, in the "Decipering the Sola-Busca pips" thread as well), which he derives from the court cards and which I support as far as the courts but don't yet go any further with:
Discs / Sanguineus
* Swords / Cholericus
* Batons / Melanchonicus
* Cups / Phlegmaticus
The Ace of Discs is indeed Sanguine, assuming, as is reasonable, that the center putto determines the humor. Some of the discs are sanguine, too, but not many. I don't know if the 2 of Discs is sanguine or not. I don't see any humors.

The Ace of Batons would be melancholic by the apotheoisis of Hercules, how he achieves it (betrayal by his wife, a and a painful death) and analogy with Christ. Also the cuirass, the dominant lower image, is black. The 2 of batons is of a rather fat middle aged man (in which Gnaccolini and others see a likeness to Cosimo de' Medici) looking off in the distance. His expression is not melancholic, whatever it is. I would guess sanguine.

Phlegm is associated with the cold and wet, which conventionally is what goes into cups, and which one putto is pouring. I don't know if that is enough to associated the humor with Cups. Is the playing of musical instruments associated with the phlegmatic humor? The 2 of Cups also has the theme of music.

When I look at the Ace of Swords, I don't see any choler. Sometimes in life swords were wielded in anger, sometimes not. I also don't see any choler in the Ace of Swords or the 2 of Swords.

I also don't see any choler in the 3-10. In general, I don't see many signs of the temperaments in what is happening on the pip cards 2-10 generally. And where was there a convention that the character of a suit is determined by its ace and 2, so that the rest can be anything? In general, suits weren't assigned humors. In this deck, so far I still only see it consistently in the courts.

On pairings in the trumps: I can see a physical pairing, how they face each other. I thought maybe you had an ideological pairing as well, along Ficinian lines. If so, I can't find it in your biographical details. And you still haven't explained how Ficino is the thread that ties everything together. You mention the Ace of Discs/Coins. In Ficino, melancholia is the humor of the intellect, not sanguinity, which is the humor of Discs and the dominant humor there. I don't know what else is Ficinian about the SB. The ascent through the planets is not Finician at all; it is in Macrobius, Dante, the cosmographs, and many other places. And where is the ascent through the planets in the SB? Again, I'm not saying you're wrong; I'd just like you to say more. I don't get it.

As I've said, I agree with Gnaccolini that the Sola-Busca is just the same old tarot sequence in odd clothing, not in relation to the biographies of the heroes but on the basis of the images, independently of Ficino. Since also I think the sequence in many decks with conventional subjects can also be analyzed in entirely Platonic/Middle Platonic/Neoplatonic terms, independently of Ficino, most evidently in the Cary Sheet and other Milanese decks, then ipso facto the SB can be, too. But you apparently have a more direct route for the SB (although going through Ficino).

Somehow I think it is at least as relevant to ask who was expert enough on Roman Republican history to have thought of all these people. Or was it common knowledge among humanists then?

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