Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#11
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Metropolitan Museum
http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/c ... 32526&vT=1

Trionfi version
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A nice example, how bad the Trionfi.com pictures are, but it should be the same engraving. The dating of the Metropolitan edition is probably made according the general estimations about the Mantegna Tarocchi, so "according Hind".
Variations in the letters might depend on the bad pictures, even the size of the letters is no guarantee, as the Mantegna Tarocchi designer might have used different letter stamps.

The suggestion, that the engraver of the Ptolemy edition and of the Mantegna series is the same, was made by Hind, not by me. Hind surely had better material to observe.

mikeh wrote: The Lazarelli manuscript has the names of the images in Venetian dialect already.
I don't know, from which source you do have this wisdom. I recognize from this composition, that "Poesia" (Mantegna Tarocchi) reads "Poesis" in the Lazzarelli version (as far this is recognizable; Lazzarelli's is the small picture in the right upper corner).

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I don't know, what's so interesting in Bologna.
Well, I gave several reasons for preferring Bologna as the place of origin for the designs and perhaps also the engravings. I wrote, "For Bologna, I offer (a) Galasso's move there, as the most likely candidate for the "anonymous Ferrarese" whose style is closest to the cards; (b) the marked divergence of the "Mantegna" from Borso's (as opposed to Leonello's) Belfiore Muses and most of the Schifanoia; (c) the presence there of the 1467 miniature, (d) the keys of the Pope card as Nicholas V's device [Bologna's favorite Pope, let me add], and possibly (e) the resemblance in engraving technique to Florentine engravings of the time [Bologna's ally] and (f) the later presence there of the Belfiore Euterpe and Melpemone. Moreover (g), Bologna, with its internecine feuds, suffered from too much passion and intensity; the elevated but conventional mood of the cards, in contrast to the best of Ferrarese art, would have been welcome there."

But none of these arguments are strong. The 3 Muses were in Ferrara, where anybody with access to Borso's studiola could copy them, design engravings, and keep going, despite their incompatibility with the more fashionable styles of Tura and del Cossa. The cardmaker Gherardo da Vicenza, whom Campbell (1997) says did a lot of repetitive house decorations, could have been just such a designer. And the cards once printed could have gotten to Bologna easily enough. So I have to say Bologna is most probable, followed by Ferrara.
When Ferrarese artists emigrated for better working conditions to Bologna, they somehow would stay Ferrarese artists ... With the plan of Leonello (ca. 1446) for a Studiolo a general Ferrarese interest in "Muses" was given in Ferrara. As far we can guess it, it was for some time specific for Ferrara and not a general feature of Italian art. During this project a lot of "Muses-versions" might have been developed, just as preparations of the final big versions, maybe as small ink paintings, which as a pool stranded in Venetian art and printing shops as "cheap art" ... generally it should be calculated, that Lazzarelli likely wasn't very rich, so he couldn't buy very expensive pictures.
For his own paintings, which appear in the manuscripts, he had an own "Apelles", as he remarked in his text.

If Lazzarelli had taken a well known version, which had appeared as a complete version of 50 pictures in large numbers before, for his manuscript, how cheap would that have looked in a manuscript for duke Borso or the duke of Urbino? Especially for Montefeltro it is known, that he took a conservative position against printed, "mass-produced" media. Montefeltro accepted Lazzarelli's version ... an indication, that the Mantegna Tarocchi as a whole didn't exist.
Huck wrote,
Sweynheim entered the discussion, cause Hind believed, that the engraver of the Ptolemy edition of 1478 might have been the engraver of the e-series ...
There are many alternatives, a whole universe of alternatives, but Sweynheim was "recognized" as a possible candidate by Hind.
...
..And about the hot-bed of gambling in Bologna: We know the few documents and we probably know them better than Hind did. And "gambling" mostly means dice, not playing cards or woodcut use
My alternative, Bologna, is not one possibility equal to a universe of others. II have (a) Galasso's reported move there; (b) the 1467 manuscript; (c) German printers in town and nearby Benedictine monasteries, to account for the 1468 manuscript; and (d) the close association of Bologna and Florence, the center then of North Italian engraving. And other reasons already listed above.
More than one Ferrarese artist went to Bologna. The 1467 manuscript is from there and this makes 2 1/2 not very precise motifs of 50, which is somehow less than 5%, so not very much. The St. Gallen manuscript has 4 motifs, more or less totally precise (so a direct link to the engraver), 8% of the motifs. Lazzarelli reaches more than 50% of the motifs, though only illustrations.
Benedectine monasteries ... you haven't offer any. I've offered a few opportunities to search, but I haven't offered a monastery, which fulfills the demanded conditions. You've offered a shot in the blue, nothing else.

Bologna developed printing technologies ... since when? What is the first engraver in Bologna? What about a person with the name Francia, who is reported as having worked as a goldsmith since 1468?

San Bernardino preached at many locations, not only in Bologna. The whole story about San Bernardino and the card maker ... ask Ross.
He also says, "it needed St. Bernardino in his lenten sermons in this city in 1424 to persuade the players to burn their cards."
Didn't he say 1423?
"Whereupon the preacher, taking a compass at hand, described a circle on a tablet, in the center of which he drew the H.T.I. surrounded by rays."
Not IHS?

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And what about this, from Hind, previous page?
Kristeller notes...a card-maker (pittor di niabi) of Florence, Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, who declares amongst his property in 1430 'wood-blocks for playing-cards and saints.'

As we know, Florence was a city full of artists, in aspect probably better than any other city.
One engraver or woodcutter in 1430 till ca. 1450 is a very bad result, either based on "careless research" (which isn't the case ... nothing is better researched than Florence) or based on negative reality ... there wasn't much engraving in Florence. Likely this depends on the many card prohibitions in Florence.
http://trionfi.com/0/p/20/
8 card producers in Nurremberg till 1450 ... surely also a city full of artists.

Huck wrote
I've seen Hind's collection about early Italian engraving and wasn't so much impressed. Engraving catalogs of German and Flemish engravers offer much more. But I'm not a specialist.
Hind based his book on what was in the British Museum.
No, he also visited libraries in Italy. But I'm not here to defend Hind, surely he was limited by the conditions of his time ... although we've to state that Hind already presented the major arguments, we have to deal with in the case of the Mantegna Tarocchi. And we discovered Hind's note about the connection to the engraver of the Ptolemy only, when we studied Hind's text, not by referring notes of later writers. So it's (possibly) a case, that others didn't read Hind carefully enough.

About Lambert and her work I don't know, I can't judge it.

About Blockbücher ...
Blockbücher sind im 15. Jahrhundert im Holzschnittverfahren hergestellte illustrierte Bücher relativ geringen Umfangs, die eine Übergangsform zwischen der illuminierten Handschrift und dem illustrierten gedruckten Buch darstellen. Sie gehören zum seltensten und damit wertvollsten Sammlungsgut von Bibliotheken. Weltweit sind nurmehr etwa 100 Ausgaben von 33 verschiedenen Werken in etwa 600 Exemplaren nachweisbar.
http://www.digitale-sammlungen.de/index ... rdnung=sig
Als Heimat der Blockbücher gelten die Niederlande und der Oberrhein (Basel, vielleicht auch Straßburg). Sie ist zu sehen im Zusammenhang mit den sonstigen Bemühungen des 15. Jahrhunderts, Bücher möglichst rationell und preiswert herzustellen.
[/quote]
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbuch

Examples
http://www.hab.de/bibliothek/wdb/xylographica.htm

A complete full-page-technology, which was probably only used in the Netherlands and in Germany - before it was overcome by Gutenberg's letter printings.
Maybe something, which Baldini attempted in Italy with full page engravings - as you've mentioned for 1460-64.

*********
Jenson had been in Mainz, so he knew Sweynheim from there. He's not recorded for Subiaco or Rome. Ulricus Han is said to have been also in Subiaco, and he printed in Rome. A not very clear role plays the cardinal Torquemada, who was "Abbot commendatario of the monastery of Subiaco, August 13, 1455", who invited possibly Ulricus Han and also Sweynheim and Pannartz.
http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1439.htm#Torquemada
Perhaps he's only involved, because he was just the "abbot in function" for Subiaco, perhaps it was so, that also Spain had some more experience with printing technology than the general Italy and Torquemada (and Subiaco) was chosen cause of this reason. The first printed book in Rome had been "Meditationes seu contemplationes vitae Christi" (1466), written by Torquemada himself.
Though ... it seems probable, that Subiaco was chosen, cause Benedectine abbeys had been full of Germans.

The motor of getting German printers to Italy should have been Pope Pius II. and Cusanus, both experienced with German conditions and both dying in 1464. So Torquemada got the responsibility.

****
... :-) ... the experiences of Ulricus Han in Vienna show, that not everybody was happy with the invention of mass production and the printing technology.

For the dating of the Baldini pictures, see ..
viewtopic.php?f=11&p=6033#p6033
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#12
I don't think I understand Mike's argument for the E-Series being created in Bologna. It's true we have evidence of its being known there in the 1460s, which is some of the earliest evidence, but I expect that if we looked, we'd find it was known and used by artists as a model book in many other places as well (like we see in Ferrara and perhaps Rimini - I'll have to check Rimini, which I dimly recall noting).

My argument for assiging the invention of the game of Triumphs to Bologna is a deduction from the choice for the Southern type being the earliest, thus effectively reducing the choice to Bologna or Florence. Choosing Bologna (arguments I've developed elsewhere), the dearth of early evidence demands explanation.

When we look at the early evidence from Ferrara and Milan, we note that it is privileged evidence - court documents and luxury cards, which historical accident will privilege with survival. Bologna had no court as such and probably didn't produce cards likely to be preserved as heirlooms or fine art. When we remove the "privileged sources" from Ferrara and Milan, we have the earliest date in Milan 1449 (Marcello) and 1456 for Ferrara (Trotti). Florence now comes second, with a prohibition in 1450. The pattern, even with such a drastic action as suppressing the luxury sources, remains still puzzling, since you have Milan and Florence within one year of one another. You have to presume a longer time before for the game to spread to these distant places.

Bologna remains, as it is with the full body of information, the empty center of the crossroads between north and south. That emptiness is not evidence of absence, I argue, because of Bologna's very location and large body of likely card players, as well as a known playing-card industry. The explanation, as I said above, is because Bologna's cards were never luxurious works of art, and the players were not nobles or the ruling class.
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Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#13
Ross, for the "Mantegna" the point is not the city so much as the artist. I am resurrecting an old Italian theory that Galasso Galassi did the 3 standing Muses at Belfiore, the style of which is the same as the Muses of the "Mantegna" and the other standing, robed figures. Galasso moved to Bologna in the early 1450's, according to Vasari. So he is a likely suspect for continuing the series, in the same style but in Bologna. That's my thesis, argued first by Venturi.. It is not about who did the engravings, but about who did the designs that the engraver followed. And I do not exclude that the "Mantegna" was designed by an artist in Ferrara who happened to like Galasso's work; Gherardo da Vicenza is one possibility.

Rimini was done according to the same program, not following the Ferrara Muses but the program for them as written by Guarino da Verona. Rimini is much more faithful to the program than the Belfiore. I am not aware of other Muse projects before the mid-1460's when I and current art historians think the "Mantegna" was done. And these historians are not merely copying Hind; they reject Hind on many things.

And Ross, I see nothing against your argument that Bologna is the likeliest place for a middle-class tarot deck to have been produced first, and early on, say 1441. Perhaps you still want to say more than that; but that much makes sense to me. The "Mantegna" is of course a separate issue. The only way the two might interrelate is that in Bologna the imagery of the one deck might have influenced that of the other, and vice versa, as early as the 1450's—-for example in putting a Martial figure on the Chariot card, or a chariot with the Mars figure.

Huck: well, I made a couple of slips. About my saying that Lazarelli's labels were in Venetian dialect, I thought my source was Kaplan, Vol. 1 p. 27. But when I look again, I see that the labels are probably Latin, in some form: most are, anyway; Lazarelli’s "Jupites," as opposed to the "Mantegna's" "Jupiter," might be some kind of Latin, or just a misspelling. And "Talia"--that's the same in both, as opposed to "Thalia." Is that Latin? Maybe Lazarelli thought it was.

And yes, I meant "IHS." I even double-checked, and I still got it wrong. I was jumping from one window on my computer to another, typing as much as I could remember. That’s one reason I try to give references, so people can check these things. (I gave the Kaplan reference in an earlier post, but didn’t mention him this time.) Thanks. Today I triple-checked the date, 1424. That I got right: it's on the top of p. 76, http://www.archive.org/stream/lifeofsbe ... 6/mode/2up.

Huck wrote,
When Ferrarese artists emigrated for better working conditions to Bologna, they somehow would stay Ferrarese artists
Yes, I said that, too. Galasso was a Ferrarese and former Muse-painter even while living in Bologna. (The other painters who went to Bologna later aren’t really relevant.) But he wasn't in Ferrara after 1451. So the “Mantegna” designs, done in the same style, would likely have developed in Bologna. Huck wrote,
If Lazzarelli had taken a well known version, which had appeared as a complete version of 50 pictures in large numbers before, for his manuscript, how cheap would that have looked in a manuscript for duke Borso or the duke of Urbino?
Yes, good point. Unless Lazarelli was simply ignorant of what was on sale to all in Ferrara, that’s another argument against the “Mantegna”’s being developed in Ferrara. And who knows how large a printing it was in the beginning? For Lazarelli, it was a Venetian novelty. And most of the images are quite different from Borso's at Belfiore. Lazarelli’s poem would have helped Borso and his court to see the Muses in a new light, as bringing us closer to the divine and the ideal rather than seducing us away from it (I get this from Campbell 1997).

If the prints weren’t sold in Ferrara, then maybe they weren’t sold in Bologna either. With their Venetian Doge with his characteristic hat, they seem aimed at Venice. But Bologna must have been part of it, otherwisee how did the designs influence the Bolognese manuscript, or the manuscript the designs, in 1467? The only thing I can think of is that the designs came from Bologna, although the engravings were made in Venice. The practice of sending designs elsewhere for their execution apparently was common. Tyson ( p. 59) quotes a 1459 claim in Ferrara for a design that Gherardo da Vicenza submitted, "per fatura et spese de designado et fato zalo una mostra de uno bocale trande como uno folio de carta reale per designo da mandare a Venezia per fare fare a dito designo dui bocali grandi de arzento per lo Signore: for manufacture and expenses for having drawn and made yellow the image of a ewer as large as a sheet of reale paper, as a design to be sent to Venice in order to make two large silver ewers for the master)." Tyson notes that the claim wass struck out with the words "non vale" (not worth paying), and concludes that if that happened a lot many designing activities simply went unrecorded.

Huck wrote, about Bologna
Benedectine monasteries ... you haven't offer any. I've offered a few opportunities to search, but I haven't offered a monastery, which fulfills the demanded conditions. You've offered a shot in the blue, nothing else.

Your suggestions seemed like enough to meet the “demanded conditions,” as you say. I wasn't looking for a monastery with engravers and printers, or even scribes. I just needed a connection between Bologna or Ferrara and St. Gallen. Any Benedictine functionary would do, who might know about the manuscript project. And now that I've read Hind on the St. Gallen manuscript, I need even less. He says that the prints of the Virtues were “pasted” on the pages ((History of Engravign and Etching 1923, p. 54). So anybody who knew about the St. Gallen manuscript project could have just bought them in Venice like Lazarelli and sent them to wherever the book was being made. Or perhaps the engraver of those four in Bologna showed them to the prelate, who said, hey, I know who could use them; here, I’ll pay you something.

Huck wrote,
Bologna developed printing technologies ... since when? What is the first engraver in Bologna? What about a person with the name Francia, who is reported as having worked as a goldsmith since 1468?.
I have no idea who the first engraver was in Bologna. It may have been a Florentine who kept his techniques to himself, not somebody who stayed and had students, i.e. someone the Bolognese wouldn’t have identified with their city. I know about Francesco Francia, but he did nielo; There are no documented copper engravings by him. Hind says four are attributed to him, but they could just as well be by his student Marcantonio (1923, p. 92). So if he did do any, they were late in his career. The few nielo that I have seen of his don’t look like the cards.

If any at all were distributed in Bologna, it might have been a small number (to escape Borso’s and Lazareelli’s notice), just samples or proofs, and probably without the lettering. You don’t need a printing press to print engravings. According to Lambert, the “Mantegna” engravings are “proche de la maniere fine florentine,” i.e. Florentine influenced. That was the main reason I considered them possibly engraved in Bologna, that and the Bolognese manuscript. But Hind in 1923 called them Venetian (History of Engraving and Etching, p. 55). Gombosi, in the article posted by Trionfi, said Bolognese or Ferrarese, but certainly not Venetian. Well, I don’t have specialized knowledge. I rely on the specialists, who contradict each other.

I have not found out much about “printing technology” in Bologna. All I know is that Germans set up printing businesses in a large number of Italian cities early on. Bologna is famous for producing the first printed book in Hebrew, 1477. Ady notes German printers in Bologna in 1494. There is a printing museum in Bologna, there must be something interesting there, maybe they know more. As I say, you don’t need much printing technology to print engravings.

It seems to me more likely that the prints that Lazarelli bought—the “Mantegna” with lettering--were printed in Venice. Jenson went there in 1467, and around 1468, Johann and Wendelin de Spira, who started printing in 1469. These two seem worth mentioning here. Here is one source on the web, http://www.aboutbookbinding.com/story/28.html:
Venice was the next city of Italy to take up the new art. There, in 1469, Joannes de Spira, or John of Spires, executed Cicero's Epistolae; ad Familares. He obtained a privilege from the Venetian Senate with regard to his productions, and, more than that, a monopoly of book printing in Venice for five years. He
died, however, less than a year later, and his monopoly with him. His brother Vindelinus carried on his work, and was succeeded by Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman, who, from a technical point of view, was perhaps the most skilful and artistic of early typographers.
Here is a page of his work, a Pliny that Stanford University says is 1469 (http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/e ... _index.htm):
Image


This book appears to have had a press run of about 100 copies (http://www.minrec.org/libdetail.asp?id=1134). The “Mantegna,” not being a book, might have escaped notice. Unfortunately I have not found anything about engraving per se in Venice at that time.

Sweynheim moved to Rome in 1467. I haven’t found out the other three’s whereabouts in 1466. Maybe they were all in Sabiaco, all sent there by Cusa. I will keep looking. In any case, the Germans must have known one another, corresponded, and even cooperated to some extent, as opposed to working with Italians, who could compete against them in the same city.

Huck wrote,
The suggestion, that the engraver of the Ptolemy edition and of the Mantegna series is the same, was made by Hind, not by me. Hind surely had better material to observe
Well, here is the quote from Hind posted bu Trionfi (http://trionfi.com/0/m/00/):

"On the other hand there is a close similarity between the present series and the engraved maps of the Ptolemy printed at Rome in 1478. The precise cutting of the maps and the representation of forests and hills are closely related in style. If the engraver of these maps is identified, some solution might be found for the engraver of the socalled Tarocchi might have undertaken the work of the Roman printer."

That’s a pretty tentative suggestion. I wonder what Hind wrote before the “on the other hand” in the quote above. Also, the last sentence is not up to Hind's usual good command of English grammar; something may not be quoted accurately. I will have to find the book.

According to Hind, the mountains on the maps are similar to those in the “Mantegna.” I wouldn’t conclude much from what I see, below (http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/etexts/mendel/) and in the map I posted earlier.

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I haven’t found forests yet.

In 1923, he called the “Mantegna” Venetian. Here is the passage (History of Etching and Engraving, p. 54f:
The assumption that the E series is the work of a Venetian engraver is strongly supported by the correspondence of its technical manner, the clear cutting, and the regular system of shading, with a print so certainly Venetian as the political Allegory of Pope and Emperor (Otley, Fascimiles, 1826, No. 24, cf P.V. 190, 106). Nevertheless, while placing the engraving in Venice, we would stil look to the Ferrarese school for the origin of the designs.
(Ross posted an image of the “Allegory” at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=334&start=110#p5499.) What to think? I am no specialist. I think you should give more credit to those since Hind who are specialists--not uncritically, but at least acknowledge more than what is said tentatively in three sentences of one book. They have more knowledge than he did, and they don’t just repeat Hind uncritically. For example, nobody says today that Baldini’s “Planets” were by Finiguerra, as Hind did on p. 40 of his 1923 book.

Here is a slightly edited machine translation of your quotes in German about Block books, for anyone else trying to read this thread:

"Block books are in the 15th century woodcut-produced illustrated books of relatively low range(extent) which represent an intermediary form between the illuminated manuscript and the illustrated printed book. They belong to the rarest and thus the most valuable collection property of libraries. World-wide there are provably no more than approximately 100 issues of 33 different works in approximately 600 copies."

"The homeland of the block books is considered the Netherlands and the Upper Rhine (Basel, perhaps also Strasbourg). They are to be seen in connection with other efforts of the 15th century to produce books as rationally and reasonably as possible."

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#14
Kenneth Clarke at
http://trionfi.com/0/m/16
First of all there is the general similarity of the drapery apparent on comparing almost any of the female figures in the Tarocchi with the four pictures by Parrasio reproduced. It is, ofcourse, the drapery which gives the Tarocchi their Ferrarese look, and this likeness might be due to nothing more than a common origin in Ferrara. But writers on the Tarocchi have always pointed out that they have Umbrian or even Tuscan characteristics which do not agree very well with a purely Ferrarese origin. Some of the landscape backgrounds, for example, are not North Italian (Squarcionesque) but Umbrian. This can be accounted for if the designer were Parrasio.
... argues with the landscape backgrounds, which are not North Italian (Squarcionesque) but Umbrian. To him it's a reason to argue for Angelo Parrasio.
Lazzarelli in the hidden Camerino in the mountains had his "Apelles", who painted for him. Camerino is not too far from Perugia, the heart of Umbrien, google maps speaks of 85 km. If Lazzarelli got the major figures in Venice, but was free with the backgrounds, this working process might have caused, that Ferrarese drapery mixed with Umbrian landscapes.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#15
Angelo, who was from Siena, perhaps did introduce to Ferrara the fashion of putting hills in the background. He was Galasso's and Tura's teacher. Piero della Francesca, also from Tuscany, was another influence (according to Venturi and Drogin). Hills are in many of the Muse paintings. Jill Dunkerton sees "the winding river and paths and the many detailed background figures" in the Belfiore Polyhymnia and finds there "a knowledge of Netherlandish painting, even if the rock arch and the fantastic city are more obviously Ferrarese" (Cosme Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara, p. 119). All this is 1450. Between Bologna and Florence, there's mostly hills, according to my Michelin map. Hind saw Venetian "lagoons" in the "Mantegna" (in the quote I gave toward the end of my previous post). By the time of the "Mantegna," I think, such things were standard decorative elements, copied from one artist to the next.

I just read an interesting article about letter punches, at http://maphistory.net/LetterPunches.html, first published in Print Quarterly IV:2, June 1987. It was later part of a book published by the University of California Press, 1987, The earliest printed maps: 1472-1500, by Tony Campbell. He mentions two errors made by Arthur Hind in relation to early map engravings. Both pertain to the Sweynheim workshop.

First, about the Ptolemy maps, Hind "praised the lettering on the assumption that it had been hand-cut, although he acknowledged his error on being shown some enlarged photographs by Hinks in 1943." (Campbell's references are Hind, Early Italian Engraving I p. 292, and A. R. Hinks, "The Lettering of the Rome Ptolemy of 1478," [/i]Geographical Journal[/i], C1, 1943, p. 189.) The use of the letter-punch in the Ptolemy maps had already been pointed out by Wilberforce Eames in "A List of Editions of Ptolemy's Geography," in J. Sabin, A dictionary of Books Relating ot America, New York 1886, no. 66470, but Hind was unaware of this source.

The other error has to do with the so-called Eichstatt Map of Northern and Central Europe by Nicholas of Cusa, insecurely dated 1491. Hind attributed it to the Reyser brothers, either Michael of Eichstatt or Georg of Wurzburg. It in fact was made in Italy with the same set of letter punches that was used for the Ptolemy maps, according to Campbell. So it, too, is a product of the Sweynheim shop under Buckinck, or a successor.

Campbell says that each set of punches was so different that particular sets can be identified in different publications. Moreover, punches for making ordinary printing type could not be used; a special set had to be constructed just for engravings, and using it required very specialized training. He adds that "Punched lettering seems to have been restricted to maps." At least he knew of no other application by the time of posting, although leaving it open whether any other application might someday be discovered.

I draw several conclusions relative to the "Mantegna." First, Hind in 1938 had no better access to the Ptolemy maps than we do today on the Internet. Second, if he speculated then that both came from the same workshop, he must not have thought that the "Mantegna" had punched lettering. A set of the E-series was in the British Museum for him to examine. Apparently optical inspection at 1943 levels can tell whether letters were punched. One would think that at least in1943 he would have looked again at the "Mantegna." Third, even if Hind didn't inspect the "Mantegna" optically, by now someone has (unless to a specialist it is too obviously not punched). It is a clear, well-known example of non-map but maplike lettering from that time. This result does not show that the Sweynheim shop did not produce the "Mantegna." But it removes one possible verification that it did.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#16
mikeh wrote: I just read an interesting article about letter punches, at http://maphistory.net/LetterPunches.html, first published in Print Quarterly IV:2, June 1987. It was later part of a book published by the University of California Press, 1987, The earliest printed maps: 1472-1500, by Tony Campbell. He mentions two errors made by Arthur Hind in relation to early map engravings. Both pertain to the Sweynheim workshop.

First, about the Ptolemy maps, Hind "praised the lettering on the assumption that it had been hand-cut, although he acknowledged his error on being shown some enlarged photographs by Hinks in 1943." (Campbell's references are Hind, Early Italian Engraving I p. 292, and A. R. Hinks, "The Lettering of the Rome Ptolemy of 1478," [/i]Geographical Journal[/i], C1, 1943, p. 189.) The use of the letter-punch in the Ptolemy maps had already been pointed out by Wilberforce Eames in "A List of Editions of Ptolemy's Geography," in J. Sabin, A dictionary of Books Relating ot America, New York 1886, no. 66470, but Hind was unaware of this source.
As I already noted, already Immanuel Gottlieb Breitkopf, father of modern German playing card research, made comparable remarks, if I remember correctly, in 1779 (or 1777 ?). I don't remember the place. Breitkopf was a printer, who developed improvements in the printing business (especially musical notes, but he also experimented with Chinese kanji for instance), and he was in this business from youth on. Naturally he had a good eye for used technology, also he should have been a good observer for that, what was possible in his time and what not. He's just about 200 years nearer to the objects than Hind. He had a very big private library (about 15.000 titles or so) and he worked for Heineken and lived near to Heineken and Heineken had access to a large collection of engravings (and presented the top view on engraving history in his time).
http://autorbis.net/tarot/biography/tar ... ecken.html
I draw several conclusions relative to the "Mantegna." First, Hind in 1938 had no better access to the Ptolemy maps than we do today on the Internet. Second, if he speculated then that both came from the same workshop, he must not have thought that the "Mantegna" had punched lettering.

I would assume that Hind had access to a Ptolemy edition, otherwise it's rather difficult to imagine, how he could made such a risky suggestion about a relation between engraver of Ptolemy and engraver of Mantegna Tarocchi.
A set of the E-series was in the British Museum for him to examine. Apparently optical inspection at 1943 levels can tell whether letters were punched. One would think that at least in1943 he would have looked again at the "Mantegna." Third, even if Hind didn't inspect the "Mantegna" optically, by now someone has (unless to a specialist it is too obviously not punched).
I think, we can be sure, that Hind knew at least some of the original engravings. One series is reprinted in his book 1938. Hind was an art historian, probably not a practical printer.
It is a clear, well-known example of non-map but maplike lettering from that time. This result does not show that the Sweynheim shop did not produce the "Mantegna." But it removes one possible verification that it did.
... :-) ... you exclude the possibility without real research.
It's seems clear, that the quality of the Mantegna Tarocchi letters didn't reach the quality of the Ptolemy. Does this prove, that stamps weren't used? The technique of letter punching must have developed from bad to good results, as other technologies also developed.

Large scans:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... _-_Sol.jpg

http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_a ... mit=Search
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#17
Image


We see two "O" and both have opposing parts of a thinner and a thicker line - which would be rather difficult for the engraver to arrange it, if he had made it by hand only.
In this case the thinner line appears in different directions ... that's probably "not desired", but just happened by disorientation, cause it's not easy to recognize at the O-stamp, how to hold the stamp, when you punch it (at other letters we also recognize, that the stamping hand had trouble to find the correct vertical position).
If he had made this by free-hand-engraving, one would wonder, why the designer made such a blunder with the "O".

I would think, that in the later Ptelomy-edition the words were arranged in blocks before the punch - similar to common book printing technique. Also it may be, that a technique was used, which guaranteed either the same punch or the same pressure on the copperplate.

I don't know, what precisely happened to the surface of the plate. In the usual carving technique material should disappear. In the punch-or-pressure technique you would cut the plate, but the material wouldn't disappear, possibly causing the plate to become uneven, so before use it might be made even again.

I could imagine, that the Mantegna Tarocchi served as a field of experimentation with the stamp technique and single-letter stamping was tried.
And it's not clear, if the designer in this state of experimentation had stamps for each letter. Some letters are rarely used, there's just not so much text at the Mantegna Tarocchi.

I see - as you - and agree with you, that some letters don't look as made from the same stamp, but the transfer technique has many stages:

copperplate
- age of plate plus errors by damage
- color to plate
- color from plate to paper
- possibly added retouche operations
- age of paper plus damages and other dirty items
- possibly welled paper
- scanning process with a lot of possible forgeries
and then as .jpg-file to our computer

... so not equal letters could have many reasons to look different, starting with the simple possibility, that the printer used not always the same stamps for the same letter and ending with the possibility of dust at your monitor.

A good research would need a more or less perfect version, perhaps then a sort of "final judgment" is possible.

************
And from the following we also learn something:

http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_a ... ll_start=1
Image


http://search3.famsf.org:8080/view.shtml?record=311086
Image


Both are called e-series Mantegna Tarocchi ... and even a very stupid mind might discover, that there is a difference. Well, alright, it's called "copy after", in other words it's Ladenspelder, whose version in the Trionfi.com picture looks this way.

Image


I found also a large scan of the S-series:

Image


One can discover, that this engraver tried to imitate the "O", but probably couldn't decide, to copy all thin and thick lines, which are used in the E-series. Unluckily I couldn't find other large scans to get a satisfying overview.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#18
For your Gombosi idea or better for "somebody from Ferrara" ...

We found the following (I spare some details) ...

Jacopo Antonio Marcello was rather precisely April 1449 (according our research) in the situation, that he desired to have a "nice Trionfi deck" (whatever he understood by this according the conditions of his time). He later became aware, that the wonderful Michelino existed and got a chance to get it probably begin or mid of May 1449, probably during the peace negotiations between Venice and Savoy, likely direct from the widow of Filippo Maria Visconti, who was earlier engaged to stimulate Savoyan participation to help Milan and who was the natural heiress of some smaller art objects at the Visconti court.

In the month of April he couldn't have seen a quick chance to get this deck (and he probably even didn't know of it), as the fighting was still going on. In this time he might have taken some operation to get an artist for this project.

In the life of Andrea Mantegna we found a "journey to Milan in 1449" mentioned (possibly only speculated) in an Internet document, which is lost to us. Further researches to find something about this unknown journey stayed without success.
Research to the general life to Mantegna gave the result, that Mantegna was generally occupied with his long-time-job at the Ovetari-chapel in Padova, but had disrupted this in spring 1449 and was definitely in Ferrara late May 1449.
From the later life of Mantegna it's definitely sure, that there was a commissioner-artist relation between Jacopo Antonio Marcello and Mantegna, which is a little bit "only speculated" for a manuscript for the St. Mauritius order (better known as "order of the crescent") of Renee d'Anjou about ca. 1452/53 (generally it's assumed, that Girolamo of Cremona made it, but Girolamo cooperated with Mantegna) and it's sure for the period 1456-59. Mantegna worked for Jacopo Antonio Marcello, before he went to Mantova in 1459, perhaps it might be assumed, that Marcello participated in this change.
Mantova was important in 1459 in diplomatic matters (congress of Mantova 1459) and Marcello (who might well had become a doge of Venice) was always a high diplomat for interests of Venice.

Under this insecure conditions it seems possible, that Mantegna got the commission to make a Trionfi deck in April 1449, which caused a "journey to Milan" ... not to Milan, but to the camp of Marcello ... and in the follow-up a journey to Ferrara, a location, at which Trionfi cards had been produced before.

As Marcello got his desired cards from elsewhere, the whole operation might have been stopped short after, nonetheless it's possible that Mantegna started to design a series of pictures, which finally weren't used ... or were used for another purpose.
We definitely know, that Jacopo Antonio Marcello later had Trionfi cards, just those, which the young son Valerio played around 1460.

The year 1449 had the attraction, that it was near to the year 1450 and this year 1450 had been a Jubilee year and this took place all 50 years till this was changed ca. 1467 according papal decision to periods of 25 years with the natural background, that the papal year of 1450 had proven as a very good business.

With all this the possibility exists, that around 1450 something existed (either just the idea, or something real, a complete or incomplete design, perhaps even cards), which has been a solution to the problem, a sort of collection fixed on the idea to show 50 allegorical elements in a global composition, relating to 50 years. And this was possibly connected to the name of Mantegna.
Without assuming, that the later engravings must have been totally identical to this "unknown idea" of 1449, this earlier idea or real picture-collection might have been in the mind of some persons, who knew about it and might have caused later, that the composition was called "Mantegna Tarocchi" ... though, I admit, that many other possible ways and errors exist, how this name found to the the relevant objects.

Interestingly the following story exists:

Zoan Andrea at http://www.answers.com/topic/zoan-andrea-2
( fl c. 1475-?1519). Italian engraver and painter. A painter named Zoan Andrea is recorded in a letter of September 1475 written to Ludovico II Gonzaga, 2nd Marchese of Mantua, by Simone Ardizoni da Reggio, a painter and engraver. Simone claimed that he and Zoan Andrea had been brutally assaulted on the orders of Andrea Mantegna. Mantegna was enraged to hear that the two had remade some of his prints. Their exact crime is not clear, but it has been suggested that they had re-engraved Mantegna's original plates. Given this connection with Mantegna's circle of engravers, it is likely that Zoan Andrea can be identified with the anonymous artist who signed himself ZA on 20 engravings, the earliest of which show a strong dependence on Mantegna, both in technique and composition. The three monogrammed engravings closest to Mantegna are of Hercules and Deianira (B. 2509.005), Judith and Holofernes (B. 2509.001) and an Ornamental Panel (B. 2509.045), in all of which cross-hatching is used extensively.

I'm not sure, if I haven't seen elsewhere the year 1474 (?), but both years are very near to that date, which I assume, that it is the true date for the real Mantegna Tarocchi.
It would be nice to see the original letter ... currently at least there might be the possibility, that Mantegna was embarassed that motifs, which were originally part of "his version of 1450 (or some time later)" wandered to a successful "official version" of somebody else ... caused by a humble art deal of the customer Lazzarelli in a Venetian shop a few years before 1475.

Nice story, isn't it?



Order of the Crescent, given either to Girolamo da Cremona, Mantegna or Bellini, graphic inside the St. Maurice manuscript, send from Jacopo Antonio Marcello as present to Renee d'Anjou
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

#19
Huck, I am replying not to your last post, but to the two before it. I can't keep up with you.

Huck wrote,
I would assume that Hind had access to a Ptolemy edition, otherwise it's rather difficult to imagine, how he could made such a risky suggestion about a relation between engraver of Ptolemy and engraver of Mantegna Tarocchi.
When I said "He had no better access in 1938 than we do today on the Internet" I was assuming that since Hinks used photographs to show Hind wrong, that Hind had also used photographs. My assumption was unwarranted. You are right.

Huck wrote,
you exclude the possibility without real research.
Well, my conclusion should be more tentative than I put it. It did need more research. I didn't have a clear idea of what the evidence of punch-lettering looks like. On JSTOR I had tried unsuccessfully to find Hinks' article. It's listed under a different title ("Monthly Record") and with no author given. A librarian set me straight yesterday.

Hinks says 5 enlargements of the Ptolemy were shown to three presumed experts. He reproduces all or part of 2 of the 5:

Image


Image


Then Hinks quotes from two responses (he does not say whether the third responded). Here is the comment by Mr. Stanley Morison:
I am strongly inclined to guess that the original lettering on the five portions photographed form the Ptolemy, and which you enclosed in your letter, was contrived by stamping, and not by engraving. I do not see how the spacing and alignment of a word like PEPERI on Photograph 2, and a word like SANTONES on Photograph 5, could have been produced by any other means than stamping, in the manner still used by book-binders. The expert view is, I believe, that the practice of stamping a legend on the cover of a binding much antedates the origin of printing, and probably made a contribution to the invention."
And here is the response by Arthur Hind:
A conclusion would of course depend on the conviction that certain letters were always in exactly the same form and size--which could hardly be as if engraved.From your enlargements I am inclined to think that the letters and the O for place must be stamped from punches. The consideration of a word like PEPERI with its varying slopes also inclines me to the same view as it would be easier to keep regular parallel letters in engraving than in punching.
Then Hinks adds his own statement.
A certain variation in the detail of the letters might be produced by striking a little obliquely and so varying the amount of burr to be smoothed away; also by touching up with the graver names imperfectly punched, as well as by irregularity in inking and roughness of paper. The strong evidence for punching is the irregularity of orientation, of spacing, and of alignment, much easier to explain as due to difficulties of punching than of engraving between parallel scribed liens.
So the question is, do the "Mantegna" designs show any of these indicators? You present the "O"'s in "ZINTILOMO as evidence of irregularity of orientation, and I assume in "VENUS" the "S." Huck wrote:

Image

We see two "O" and both have opposing parts of a thinner and a thicker line - which would be rather difficult for the engraver to arrange it, if he had made it by hand only.
In this case the thinner line appears in different directions ... that's probably "not desired", but just happened by disorientation, cause it's not easy to recognize at the O-stamp, how to hold the stamp, when you punch it (at other letters we also recognize, that the stamping hand had trouble to find the correct vertical position).
If he had made this by free-hand-engraving, one would wonder, why the designer made such a blunder with the "O".
And from the following we also learn something:

http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_a ... ll_start=1
Image


Well, these cases are not like the ones the experts dealt with in 1943. We are dealing with very subtle differences. Were these "O's" and "S's" punched, but with a different tilt? I tried blowing them up and rotating one until it matched the other, more or less. Here is the O. The first one, on the left, is rotated about 30 degrees from the horizontal:

Image


I can't make it match any better than that. Maybe you can. Were these done by the same punch? (If you are supposing different punches, or one punched and the other not, the case is hopeless.) They look different, but I'm no specialist. Hinks made a point of saying that punched letters can have slight variations even with the same punch. A calligrapher who also engraved lettering and used letter punches might know.

For the "S," I took the "S" in "Sol," the next planet, from the Bibliotheque Nationale's copy of it in Lambert. For comparison, I used the "S" in both the Venus the one in Lambert and the one you posted. Then I put them alongside each other and rotated the ones in "Venus."

Image


Image


Image


Image


The first one doesn't look the same as the second and third to me, but I'm no specialist. And if you allow that there was a mix of punched letters and engraved letters, and different punches, the situation seems even more difficult.

Another example: the backwards N. Is that because the engraver slipped and wrote it the wrong way, or the puncher slipped and used a punch for making type rather than a punch for making engraved letters? I would think the former would be an easier mistake to make, but I am no specialist.

I am not saying that the letters on the "Mantegna" weren't punched. I'm just saying that it's way beyond my competence to say one way or the other. Maybe yes, maybe no. Where does that leave us?

And in any case, we're only dealing with the letters, not the figures. We know from the St. Gallen manuscript that at least those might have been done without any lettering, or indeed without the accompanying animals.

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