Re: Missale 1593

#3
Robert, I'm glad you copied the image - I wasn't quite sure if it would be allowed.

That image though (and others that seem to echo the tarot archetypes yet are not exact enough to be certain references to the same subject), makes me wonder how similar an image has to be before serious historians feel able to say: 'This is it!', 'Eureka!', or whatever. Ironically, of all the tarot images, Death has probably survived most successfully - intact, easily recognisable and positively identified by anyone at all, even non-tarot enthusiasts. No one challenges Death. Others too, yet we still have these few lost or forgotten ones that remain to be argued over. There's an image of Beauty somewhere that's very similar - I'll see if I can find it.
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Missale 1593

#5
Pen wrote:That image though (and others that seem to echo the tarot archetypes yet are not exact enough to be certain references to the same subject), makes me wonder how similar an image has to be before serious historians feel able to say: 'This is it!', 'Eureka!', or whatever.
Hello Pen,
I think a card like the Vieville World is ambiguous. There are many analogies to Resurrected Christ images like the beautiful engraving we are discussing, but there are differences as well. The Vieville figure is not bearded and is naked: covering his sex with the sceptre. This is not consistent with the iconography of Christ of that time. If it was meant to be Christ, how do we explain such differences? In my opinion, before we can say Eureka, we need to explain these important details of the central figure.

Other cards usually do not present such problems. Death certainly is a good example. In this case we can speak of an archetype, since the fact that a skeleton is associated to death is not cultural, but biological. Possibly, Death is the real exception. Also the virtues are generally quite conventional and easily recognizable (but in a "cultural" way). I guess that the allegory of Justice is familiar to many contemporary people in the Western world.

Marco

Re: Missale 1593

#6
I'm increasingly convinced it's Jesus Christ on the World card, and I think we're getting closer and closer to finding a really good cognate every year. We have scores of images of Jesus surrounded by the four evangelists, who else, in this time period, would have been presented in this way? If it's a saint I'm unaware of, I'd love to know who it is. Add to the four evangelists these images of Ecco Homo and Christ Resurrected, and I think we're getting fairly close. I can imagine an early Tarot de Marseille having an image with Christ, say circa 1500, and it changing enough to be what we have in Vieville and Noblet by 1650. I sure wish we knew what was on the Cary Sheet World!

If not Christ, who?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Missale 1593

#7
It's easy to accept why the Second Coming of Christ would be the highest trump, but it's not so easy to understand why the card would be called the "World" when, in the Tarot de Marseille (and Vieville) form, there is no world in it.

I think the ambiguity of the figure may be deliberate, to stay shy of outright blasphemy. So I would not expect that any such "World" card ever showed him holding the Cross-flag, or with a crown of thorns, or the stigmata, etc.

I think there must have been a "missing link" between the Italian Mondo styles, such as on the Beaux-Arts and Rosenwald sheets, and the Tarot de Marseille. In the Italian cards, there is a wreath, presumably a laurel wreath, around the World. In the TdMs, the mandorla is a laurel wreath as well. The laurel obviously means "victory" and "triumph". My "missing link" would be that somebody took the figure from off the top of the world and put it IN the world. The "world" disappears and the figure takes its place, and the laurel is stretched to accomodate it - ending up as a mandorla or oval shape. It's possible there's no "missing link" and somebody just did it all at once. The result has an obvious resemblance to the glorified Christ, which is heightened even further by the addition of the Evangelists.

Note in the Anonymous Parisian that there are four winds blowing on the world - maybe the "four winds" were a stage of development into the four evangelists - or maybe just another variation. We know from Piscina that packs in Piedmont already in 1565 already had the Evangelists, which I think is the earliest attestation of the design. The next is from Spain, 1588, where "cards imported from France" had the Evangelists too. Piedmont probably used cards imported from France too, or a design influenced by them.

There is also the S-Series (of the pseudo-Mantegna) which shows the four Evangelists around a world - or rather, the whole Cosmos. This is probably late 15th century.

With the woman on the card instead of a man, we might think it is the "Bride", the New Jerusalem, and by extension the "New heaven and new earth" of the Apocalypse.

Personally I think that the absence of a depiction of the World in the Tarot de Marseille types argues for it being the result of some kind of evolution as I just outlined.
Image

Re: Missale 1593

#8
Thanks Ross.

Let's remember that the Vieville isn't named at all, and that there are versions of the Tarot de Marseille without the title either, so it seems the image existed without the title for some time.

Of course, there IS the standard name for it, what date can we set as the earliest naming of "The World"? What are the chances that the Tarot de Marseille's imagery was created before then?

I don't disagree with you that the Tarot de Marseille is probably an adaption; but I do find the evangelists, mandorla, and similarity to the images of the risen Christ pretty compelling. I'm surprised you suggest that the "original" version wasn't explicitly a Christ, but an acceptable inference without crossing a line of blasphemy. I have a hard time imagining what people would have thought it to be! Just a year ago we didn't have an image as close as you've provided with the Béziers Jesus, I'm willing to keep hunting to find it. I don't see why a deck that contains The Pope, Death, and Judgement wouldn't have Jesus Christ triumphant as the final card.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Missale 1593

#9
I think the name "The World" is the only name this card has ever had, in any place or time, and in all the different sequences. The earliest attestation of the name itself is the Steele Sermon, whose date as you know is hard to determine, but anywhere from 1460-1480 will be acceptable to most people (although our copy is on paper made around 1500 according to Ronald Decker, who was in charge of the manuscript when the United States Playing Card Company's Museum was open. He determined this from the watermarks on the paper).

All the earliest World cards actually show a world, a landscape that encompasses all parts of the world (like the Modrone) or a city in a world (like the Visconti Sforza), so I don't think there is room for doubt that a world figures prominently in the meaning of the card, and explains its title.

For Jesus, I think it would be going a bit far to make it absolutely explicit, at least for a popular print (the VS "Angel" seems to show God himself, but maybe somebody else has a different interpretation; but these cards were for private use, not mass production). It's easier for me to imagine that whoever invented the Tarot de Marseille figure was copying or inspired by a design that had a character like the Anonymous Parisian in a laurel mandorla, perhaps with the four evangelists around (since they could be used in contexts other than supporting Christ himself) and instead made it more Christ-like because of the mandorla.

It's all conjecture, isn't it? You have to assume either a Christ who degenerated into a quasi-Christ, or changed into a woman, or a woman who changed into a quasi-Christ.

Edited to add:
Vieville does indicate that he knows the name "world" in his poem on the Ace of Coins and Two of Cups.
Image

Re: Missale 1593

#10
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Edited to add:
Vieville does indicate that he knows the name "world" in his poem on the Ace of Coins and Two of Cups.
Good catch!

Well, I'll keep looking. I think it most likely that the original card has Christ, with evangelists, in Mandorla.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

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