I did find one minor discrepancy between the image and O"Neal's translation: Lazarelli says that Apollo holds a "laurel wreath" in his hand, while the image shows him with a laurel staff. This might be a translation problem; I will check the Latin.)
I did check the Latin for the sentence with "laurel wreath" in it.
71f. Not the laurel but the royal crown binds your hair, and the odorous laurel wreath fills your holy hand.
71f. Laurea non stringit, sed regia nexa capillos.
Et complet sanctam laurus odora manum...
I don't know Latin, but I can associate every word in the Latin with a word in the translation: literally, "And fills holy laurel odorous hand." There is nothing left over that could mean "wreath." For the third time in this Book Two of the poem, the discrepancy between poem and illumination (which also has no wreath) goes away once we look at the Latin. I suspect that when Lazarelli was writing Book Two, he already had seen the illuminations to Book One, and realized that the illuminator wasn't going to make any major changes to the images Lazarelli had given to him, the ones he bought in Venice. Lazarelli would have to be satisfied with just the addition of the four creatures to the Primo Causa.
Now I'm ready to address the issue of whether the designer of the S-series knew the Lazarelli manuscript. Ross wrote,
This is the view I have always had. Lazzarelli found sheets or an album of the series and was inspired to write a panegyric that also included a "complaint" about the abuse of the images of the gods. He also invented others, like Juno. I find it hard to believe that Lazzarelli's mansucript influenced the engraver of the S-Series - the four evangelical beasts around the Prime Mover - so it might be that the S-Series - another engraver - had already been produced by 1471. Either that, or the S-Series engraver really did know Lazzarelli's work.
Levenson observes that one difference between the E- and S-series is that the designer of the E-series knew the Libellus, and the designer of the S-series did not.
Here is Levenson on the E and S Venuses (p. 145):
This image furnishes additional proof that the E-series is the original set. The S-series print replaces the doves, which are specified in the text, with a veritable menagerie of different types of birds .
On Mars (p. 149):
The animal in the E-series print is clearly characterized as a wolf by its bushy tail and chunky proportions; the S-series engraver, however, misunderstood the image and depicted a dog instead.
And on Saturn (p. 153):
It is interesting to note that the S-series copyist omits the handle which the E-series master had indicated on the shaft of the scythe and does not emphasize the length of the figure's beard. He evidently was not himself acquainted with the Libellus description.
What the Libellus says on this point is
445. He was depicted as old man, gray-haired, with a long beard, stooped, melancholy, and pallid, his head covered...
445 Natus in hoc parua spargit lanugine mentum
Paruaque dum graditur lumina figit humi.
The relevant difference here is in the beard, not the scythe.
Now we have to ask, if the S-series designer didn't read the Libellus, did he read Lazarelli'? Here we need to look at Lazarelli's poem and its illuminations, and compare them to the S-series.
For Venus, Lazarelli specifies doves:
703 Among the birds they gave to her the snow-white dove which tends to her chicks during any phase of the moon.
703. Inter aues illi niueam dedit esse columbam.
The S-series, of course, has the "menagerie," as Levenson' calls that collection of diverse birds
For Mars, the change from wolf to dog goes totally against Lazarelli, who clearly specifies a wolf:
531. The wolf stands fixed and never leaves the traces of its master, and the greedy animal always desires to live on plunder.
531. Stat lupus et numquam domini uestigia linquit.
Atque rapax praeda uiuere semper auet.
It is hard to tell what the animal is in Kaplan's small black and white reproduction of Lazarelli's illumination; but the rest of the image, incuding the placement of the animal, fits the E series image, so probably the illumination does, too.
On Saturn, Lazarelli specifies just the merest sign of a beard.
...445. By nature, meanwhile, he starts to cover his chin with signs of a beard and while he walks he fixes his small eyes on the ground...
445. Natus in hoc parua spargit lanugine mentum
Paruaque dum graditur lumina figit humi...
I assume that the translation is accurate.
The S-series doesn't exactly comply with this description, but it does shorten the beard in comparison to the E-series. S follows Lazarelli's wishes, but only a little: it is still not more meager than Jupiter's. By the same token, the S-series has Jupiter with a fuller beard, but still not fuller than Saturn's, as Lazarelli would have wished:
510. His hair is long and his full beard is becoming...
510. Caesaries longa est barbaque plena decet...
A couple of other cards are worth looking at.When we look at Luna, we see that the S-series design follows neither Lazarelli's poem, which specifies that one of the horses be partly black, nor his illumination, which makes one of the horses black and the other white.
And finally we have the Primo Causa. Lazarelli described the "four evangelists" on the outside, and for a second time (after Luna) the illuminator complied with his idea. Moreover, the S-series broke with his E-series predecessor and did the same, giving us the same four creatures in the same four corners (from Huck's post).
Since the Primo Causa was God, and God was Christ, it was a small jump to add these creatures; it was common practice to put them in the corners of mandorlas was a common practice, for example that below.
But the configuration was almost always different: typically the angel and the eagle were on top, and the lion and the bull on the bottom (sometimes switching sides). It is the same on the earliest tarot World card of this design that I know, the "Sforza Castle," as well as all subsequent ones.
Presumably it was felt that lions and bulls, being heavier than angels and eagles, and less frequently found with wings, should be on the bottom. To my knowledge, only the Lazarelli illumination and the S-series "Mantegna," have eagle and lion on top and the angel and bull on the bottom.
But there was another tradition which may have been more fashionable at this particular place and time (whenever that was), penetrating even the territory of the sacred mandorlas. That tradition was that of the four winds, the four temperaments, and the four elements. In his engraving "Philosophia" (http://www.fourhares.com/images/philosophia.jpg), Duerer put air and fire on top and earth and water on the bottom.
That makes sense: air and fire are lighter than earth and water. But Durer also identified the four apostles with the four elements and the four temperaments. In "Four apostles," 1520's, John is on the far left, and Mark on the middle right. (The other two are Peter, middle left, and Paul, far right.)
Duerer identified John with air and the sanguine temperament; hence his red complexion and youthful appearance. John was traditionally identified with the eagle. Mark was identified with the lion, ergo fire, and that is how he is in "Four Apostles So it could be that John, as air, could be put at the top of the Primo Causa iillumination, and also Mark, as fire. presumably on Lazarelli's instruction. And the S-series either followed Lazarelli's instruction as well, or for some other reason independently drew on the same tradition as Lazarelli did, either independently of Lazarelli or before him. All this is speculation, however. The correspondences remain puzzling.
My conclusion is that in view of the discrepancies between the poem and the S-series images of Venus, Luna, and Mars, the S-series designer probably did not have access to the Lazarelli poem. However he might have heard of Lazarelli's complaint about Jupiter's and Saturn's beards being too meager and too full, and tried to adjust the images accordingly, without understanding what Lazarelli was getting at. He also might have heard about Lazarelli's complaint about the lack of animals in Primo Causa and adjusted the image there, too. Why they have the same configuraton in Lazarelli and the S-series remains unexplained. Perhaps someone knows some other explanation, besides supposing either that the "four elements" interpretation of the creatures was in fashion, and adopted either by the S- series designer, or else the S-series designer had some instruction deriving ultimately either from Lazarelli or from someone who had seen the Primo Causa illumination in his manuscript.