Matching the Triumphs

On my weblog I've just posted a topic called Matching the Triumphs where I discussed possible combinations of Petrarch's Triumphs with tarot trumps.

No combination felt completely right, but in the end I suggested the following combination as my favorite possibility:
  • The Triumph of Love with The Lovers
  • The Triumph of Chastity with The Chariot
  • The Triumph of Death with Death
  • The Triumph of Fame with The World
  • The Triumph of Time with Time
  • The Triumph of Eternity with Judgement
I'm not at all confident of this, and am curious to know what you think. How would you match them up? What other combinations are possible? Are there additional cards that might lead us to consider a better match? Or better versions of the Triumphs that might offer a hint?

Please share your thoughts.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Matching the Triumphs

This is where I think that the triumphs and tarot do not properly 'match', but are, rather, two wonderful products of the early Renaissance, and thus overlaps are to be expected... I say this despite there being various authors who see in the tarot a reflection of triumphs.

An example of overlaps are, to my eyes at any rate, the triumph of Love and trump VI by the same name (I realise that both card number and title are later 'additions') and the triumph of Death and trump XIII Death.

With the triumphs of chastity, time, eternity, and fame, I personally do not see a direct overlap. Certainly there are partial overlaps, the most 'obvious' (especially in light of very early deck imagery) is between time and trump VIIII the Hermit. Even there, however, the differences are as significant as the similarities, especially by the time (excuse the pun) he is represented with the habit of the abbot.

The triumph of eternity certainly has the four evangelists (here the eagle is below the bull, incidentally, and in reference to another current thread) as does XXI, and both card and triumph reflect one or another concept of Christ, but the differences are, again, significant.

This is where I personally consider the triumphs an important part of the environment in which tarot developed (and thus influential), but the latter not a direct take of trump-as-triumph.

Re: Matching the Triumphs

Hello Robert,
I agree that what you suggest is the best combination.

I also find interesting that older decks seem to be closer to Petrarch. JMD as noted that this is the case for Father Time.
I think the same can be said for Chastity and Fame, in particular with respect to the Cary-Yale Visconti deck. My opinion is that the lady with a Trumpet in the "world" card is Fame.
And the Dove in the Chariot is interesting too. Of course the dove is also a symbol of Venus (see for instance the Schifanoia frescos) and of the Visconti family, but in Italy the saying "casta colomba" is still in use.
BTW, which other interpretations have been suggested for this card? ... id=FBOa032
This Emblem says: "Laudatae uxori sit casti turturis ardor". May the praiseworthy wife have the ardour of a chaste dove.


Re: Matching the Triumphs

The language here is a little misleading to the casual 'lurker' out there - either/or 'tarot' or 'triumph'. I think both are clearly 'triumphs'; two different, though somewhat overlapping versions of the concept. Both Petrarch's Triumphs, and the Tarot triumphs were inspired by the highly popular parades.

As for the Tarot de Marseille being Medieval, it could just be that the quality of this massed produced product makes it look medieval. The old Italian woodcut decks that survive as sheet fragments also 'feel' very Gothic, yet are dated 16th century. I reckon the dating of Tarot de Marseille is correct - 17th century. Late 16th at the earliest.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Matching the Triumphs

R.A. Hendley wrote:I think both are clearly 'triumphs'; two different, though somewhat overlapping versions of the concept. Both Petrarch's Triumphs, and the Tarot triumphs were inspired by the highly popular parades.

I agree. They seem as independent products sharing the same coordinates.


What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Matching the Triumphs

Looks like a sceptre in one hand and shield with dove and banner in other - if I remember correctly don't these somehow link in with the colours of the suits (emblems in the textiles of the court card figures). A dove may connect her with venus in an ovidian triumph of love type thing, or just be a visconti emblem, or both. (The court cards wear differing emblems don't they?)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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