Hi guys. Well, I’m still on p. 17 of this thread, responding mainly to Ross’s http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=160#p5585
although I’ve tried to incorporate the later material.
Huck: What I find attractive in Ross’s analysis is his emphasis on printed cards as the trend-setters. Such dissemination has a qualitatively more powerful effect on tarot card development than luxury cards. They are an attractive explanation for the close similarity between A, B, and C orders, despite regional differences: by the 1460’s, the same 22 subjects, or maybe a few less, but no additional ones, in the same three beginning, middle, and end groupings, with only a few exceptions. Where such a deck would have been printed is another matter.
For the early 1440’s, however, it is a different situation. The number 14 and its multiples, or a few more, appear regularly. That is why Vitali’s postulation of a 14 trump printed deck is appealing. Where it came from is again another matter: Florence, Bologna, and Ferrara all remain possibilities, both for the 14 of the 40’s and the 22 of the late 50’s. That we have no records of such decks in Bologna may be just because the Bentivoglio records were destroyed in 1507.
More information is needed. Thus we turn to Ross’s informative post on the Popess.
Rosenwald shows us a Popess and an Empress. The Strambotto lists "Pope, Emperor and Empress", but omits a Popess. Rosenwald has been dated "circa 1500", and the Strambotto is also dated, much more precisely, as circa 1500 (due to the publisher's dates). Depaulis takes this as evidence that the Popess was dropped in Florence at some time shortly before 1500, and the numbering of the Charles VI reflects this - meaning that the Popess had been literally removed from this old deck at some point - if she existed at all and the missing figure, with the number "II", were not another Emperor. This might also allow us to date the Rosenwald sheet to earlier than 1500.
How do we find out which came first, the Strambotto and Rosenwald or the Charles VI numbering etc.? Well, we look at the position of the Wheel.
The position of the Wheel in the Rosenwald sequence is insecure, since it is apparently out of place on the sequence of the sheet, where it is between the Hanged Man and Death - an order unheard of in Tarot. It is also unnumbered, and there is no "XI". The person who numbered the Rosenwald sheet placed the Chariot as "X", after Fortitude as "VIIII", so Depaulis and most commentators, me included, would put the Wheel at "XI", which is the same as the Strambotto.
So - the Rosenwald sheet and the Strambotto, both around 1500, attest to a time when the Chariot was below the Wheel. The Charles VI and Catania numbering, and the Germini order, attest to when the Chariot was moved to above the Wheel. There is evidence for a moving Chariot in Florence, and therefore reason, if not proof, to believe that neither is the original order.
So it’s first the Rosenwald and Strambotto, then the Charles VI etc. numbering. But if Huck (following Steve) is right, in his most recent posts, the Strambotto might be before the Rosenwald. If so, we seem to have first no Popess, then Popess, then no Popess.
Another problem: On my copy of the Rosenwald (Kaplan vol 1 p. 131; perhaps you have another) Fortitude is numbered “IIIV,” i.e. eight, the same number as Justice. This might not be an error: it might be the designer’s way of keeping Death at 13. If so, spot nine is open, where Wheel might go. The Old Man might go there, but it is not unheard of for him to go between Hanged Man and Death, as in the Sicilian, also type A. It strikes me that the Rosenwald might be a late 15th century experiment that didn’t catch on, one that attempted to keep Death at 13 and Temperance lower than Death, but also have both a Bagatto (absent from the Bolognese Tarocchino) and a Popess (absent from Minchiate), by giving two virtue cards the same number. The Rosenwald is odd in some of its imagery, too: Lover, Devil, Star, Moon, and Sun.
Death’s number is a general problem about the A order’s being primary. If there are four “papi”, including a Popess, then either Death is not 13, or there is no Bagatto, or two cards share a number. You want to say that Death’s being 13 is not primary. I think you’re right, for the 1440’s. But I am not supposing that decks had 22 trumps then. You are, Ross. If Death became unshakably 13, including the later A orders, then some other order must have been dominant, at least in that regard. (There is also the B order’s way out, putting Justice after Death. But that argues for Ferrara as the source of the one or two popular decks, perhaps not an unreasonable hypothesis.)
In any case, all of these A orderings (Strambotto, Rosenwald, Charles VI numbers) are much later than the 1440’s or even the 1460’s. We are nowhere near determining who invented the Popess. So we come to Milan.
The Cary Yale (c. 1445) even knows an Empress, which implies a Popess as well, for the same configuration.
But how does it follow that if the CY had an Empress, it must have had a Popess? You are assuming that the CY designer was thinking in terms of two pope-figures and two emperor-figures. But maybe he or she wasn’t thinking in those terms. Maybe he or she was thinking about the difference between the two orders, secular and ecclesiastical. Secular positions (to Milan’s way of thinking) are hereditary: if there’s no empress with sons, there’s a succession problem. The same, even more so, for dukes. Duchesses, in Milan, are as important as Dukes for passing down the title, of which Milan is unfortunately aware. Or perhaps, if Bianca is being thought of as Duchess, she is even more important than the Duke. But none of that is true for the Pope; there, the succession is not supposed to be hereditary! So we have one ecclesiastical figure, two secular figures.
By the time of the PMB, however (it seems to be getting later and later: not 1455 now, but 1460; well, never mind!), Bianca wants to put ancestors in. And maybe she sees Boccaccio’s Pope Joan as a positive role model for Ippolita, along with some cautionary advice. In Boccaccio, God only gets angry at Joan when she becomes Pope; before that, he seems to be helping her. So now we have a Popess, as an instructional tool and an ancestor-card.
For Florence inventing the Popess (and Empress), in place of the second Pope and Emperor, I suggest that it has to do with the literary, and thence luxury, taste for Petrarchan triumphal images, which is greatest in Florence beginning in the 1440s. This imagery makes its way into the actual painted cards in the Charles VI, Catania and Visconti Sforza Hermit, who, holding an hourglass, should only appear in the late 1450s. Likewise the young woman on the Chariot is a luxury taste, not present in any printed, or "common" version. In the case of the Popess, images of Petrarch's Trionfi include Pope Joan as a captive of Love by 1480. I suggest that she was seen as appropriate for this subject already by the 1440s in Florence.
Luxury... Milan was equally as as luxury-conscious as Florence in the 1440’s, maybe more so, being a duchy with an official court. We don't so far have a reason for preferring Florence over Milan, for this imagery.
Petrarchan... Why “already by the 1440’s”? One reason for Pope Joan's being in the 1480 Petrarch illustration might have been the Popess’s already being familiar from popular printed cards produced outside Florence. As you say, you can't get her from Petrarch.
The only remaining reason for there to be a Popess in Florence originally is that it fits your theory of four authority figures originally, which get changed to male/female pairs.
We know that Florentine artisans emigrated to Milan in the 1440s...
This statement needs a citation. The Visconti and Medici had been enemies, and nobody that I’ve read sees evidence of Florentine influence in Milanese art at that time. With the Sforza it was different, but that was the 1450’s.
So I can see luxury card painters having introduced the Florentine pattern into Milan, resulting in the style we see in the Visconti Sforza.
What does Florence—as opposed to Padua--have to do with the Bembo? The style of the CY and original PMB is Lombard, perhaps with some Paduan influence (from their time in Brescia), and in the second artists’ cards, Ferrarese.
Likewise, I think Tarot probably came from Florence to Lyon already in the 1450s or 1460s, perhaps in both forms, but certainly in a popular form.
Well, perhaps then, although some defense of that statement would be useful, one that doesn’t apply as well to the Sforza, who were on just as good terms with Louis XI as the Medici. But by the late 1450’s, a 22 trump mass-produced deck with the Popess is more believable, available in both Florence and Milan but perhaps produced elsewhere, incorporating Milanese and other cities’ innovations. And why do you say that Lyon used the Florentine A order? Are you assuming that the Piedmontese order, when it was similar to Bologna’s, came from there? I have assumed, based on later evidence, that Lyon took the C order. And if Lyon did take Florence’s A order, which one was it--without the Popess, without Death being 13, or with 2 cards numbered the same?