Nice images and comments, Huck and Ross. I will examine the images, and also follow up on the Hind, Bartsch, and JSTOR references at the library when I get a chance.
Meanwhile I have been reading Mark Zucker's commentary in The Illustrated Bartsch
, Vol 24 Part 3 (pp. 1-61). Here are some things he says. I have added the book and article titles to his reference, from his bibliography.
Page 3: He notes that the 1467 Bologna manuscript has "a portion of the Knight and details from the throne of Mars" as well as the Emperor and "perhaps" the Pope. He notes (footnote p. 7) that Claudia Cieri Via, in Betti and Vitali, Tarocchi, Le carte di corte
, 1987: p. 50, pointed out that "the costumes of several figures at the bottom of the same page may reflect the image of the Merchant." [I'm glad someone else besides me has found the Knight! Maybe someday someone will notice the Merchant, standing by the Pope, and someone else besides me and Trionfi will notice the Servant, on the other side of the Pope, with more clothes and not serving (blue--or do you think he is the red one?). I think the King is also there, somewhat iconographically altered.] Zucker says that the Pope is Paul II and the Emperor is Theodosius (footnote p. 7). He says that in Lazarelli the Juno, Neptune, Pluto, and Victory or Fame "seem to stand for the four elements of (respectively) air, water, fire and earth."
Page 4-5: He says that the prints have "precise contours and fine rectilinear crosshatching, technical properties suggesting northeastern Italy rather than Florence, where contemporary Fine-Manner-engraving was far less disciplined and meticulous." [I don't agree with respect to Rosselli's early work.] He observes that "instead of deep, rich blacks, one tends to find subtle delicate grays resulting from the use of a variety of different-colored inks." He says that "within the field of fifteenth century Italian engraving" the E-series' "elegant craftsmanship is unsurpassed."
Page 6: about the E-series:
Only a single state is known, and there are no impressions showing later rework to the plates. All known impressions show small circular marks at the four corners of the decorative orders, signs of holes resulting from the plates' having been nailed down or riveted to, and then removed from a (wooden?) support prior to the process of printing. Such marks do not appear on any impressions of the S-series, but they are exceedingly common in niello prints and not uncommon in early Italian engravings generally; their significance remains somewhat conjectural.
Impressions Printed in Colored Ink. Many impressions of the E-Series are printed in inks of a color other than pure black or grayish black--for example, the sets noted above in London, Naples, Paris BN, Paris CR, Pavia, and Vienna, which include such tones as light bluish (Paris CR), greenish (Naples, Pavia, light bluish green (London), and light greenish brown (Paris BN).
Pp. 9-19, Conditions of Man. Comparisons to genuine tarocchi, especially the PMB (for Beggar, Servant, Artisan, Knight, King, Emperor, Pope) and occasionally Sola-Busca (Servant, Knight, King). Gentleman compares to two "falconer cards" in Dummett 1980 pp. 73-74; and to Marco Zoppo's Parchment Book of Drawings
(Ruhmer Marco Zoppo
1966, figs. 88, 90, 91, 105). Comparison to Palazzo Schifanoia for Merchant (March and August), Gentleman (March and April), Knight (Plates 14 and 19 in Ancona,1954, The Schifanoia Months at Ferrara
Muses and Apollo. P. 20:
Only under the influence of the engravings themselves did a more or less uniform iconography of the muses emerge, an iconography that became further standardized after the publication of the "Syntagma de Musis (Strassburg 1511) by the Ferrarese humanist Lilio Gregorio Giraldi (on which see Jaynie Anderson, in Mottola Molfino and Natale, Le muse e il principe 1991, pp. 441-43, no. 104), and, eventually, Giampaolo Lomazzo's study "on the form of the muses," which according to its title, was meant to be "very useful for painters and sculptors" (Della forma delle muse caata da gli autori greci e latini, operara utilissima a' pittori e scultori, Milan 1584)."...Contrary to what was once believed (by Hind 1910, p. 220; and 1938, vol. 1, p. 223; following Merlin, Origines des cartes a jouer, 1869, p. 48), the iconography of the engravings does not derive from an earlier tradition exemplified by the descriptions of the muses in the Art du blason, a French heraldic treatise preserved in manuscript form in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (MS francais 5242). Formerly dated to c. 1420, the Art du blason seems to have been written toward the end of the fifteenth century...Since the relationship between the Art du blason to the Tarocchi remains somewhat uncertain, however, descriptions of the muses from Merlin's transcriptions of the manuscript will be quoted or cited in each of the following entries."
[I won't reproduce these quotations from the Art du blason
unless you want me to, but they certainly convince me of their relationship to the “Mantegna.”. However I am not convinced that there is a relationship between the Syntagma
and the “Mantegna.” Presumably the Jaynie Anderson article is “Il risveglio dell’interesse per le Muse nella Ferrara del Quattrocento”, pp. 165-185 of the Getty’s version of Le muse e il principe
, which I made a copy of when I was in Los Angeles. She doesn’t say anything about the Syntagma
being influenced by the “Mantegna.” She reproduces 6 pages of it, with woodblock prints of 7 of the muses. Here and there a detail in the woodblock corresponds to the “Mantegna,” but on the whole they are not alike. I will scan the 6 pages and post them; maybe somebody can explain them to me.]
p. 24: Donati saw a connection of Erato to the tambourine-playing angel in Raphael's early altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin
, now in the Vatican Pinacoteca, but "the figures are only similar in a general way, and a direct connection is highly unlikely."
p. 26: "With some justification, Cieri Via has compared the figure in the engraving [Thalia] to that of Aurora on the chariot of Apollo in one of the frescoes of the Pallazo Schifanoia." Thalia is also on the ground covered with vegetation at Tempio Malatestiano.
p. 27. "Melpomene's resemblance to figures of trumpeting angels in Last Judgment scenes was rightly noted by Westfehling."
p. 29. Clio's swans compare to Triumph of Venus at Schifanoia.
p. 30. Apollo's attribute of swan also at Palazzo Schifanoia and Tempio Malatestiano.
PP. 31-41. Liberal Arts. Main source is Capella's De nuptis
, as was usual until the High Renaissance (except Poetry, not in Capella). The pictures compare to descriptions in Art du blason
, except for Astrology and Theology, and "show unequivocally" that it "corresponds to the E-series rather than the S-series."
p. 33. Notes engraver's propensity to replace traditional serpents with dragons, in Logica and also Chronico, Prudence, Mercury and Saturn.
P. 38: source for Poetry seems to be various aspects of his own Muses.
PP. 42-50: Genii and Virtues. P. 42: No visual precedents for Genii except the tarocchi, "which frequently served as a visual source material for the series as a whole." Iliaco, from the Greek Heliakos
--personifies the Spirit or Genius of the Sun, or of light." Trees compare to trees in background of PMB Knave of Coins, as well as cards shown in Kaplan vol. 1 pp. 104 and 105. [These are the PMB-style Victoria and Albert cards, undoubtedly he means the Star and the Pagte of Coins. On p. 105 it is the Andrioletti Pagte of Coins. I hadn't noticed this. Here they are (V&A in center column), with comparable trees in the "Mantegna" and the "Cupids":
P. 43. Chronico, Genius of Time. Again, a dragon instead of a serpent. Notes that Baldini also changed serpent to dragon in his Aaron
, and Rosselli in his Moses on Mount Sinai
. Thematic relationship to Hermit in tarocchi.
p. 44. Cosmico, genius of the world. Thematic relationship to World card in tarocchi.
pp. 45-50. Temperance. Why the animal, an ermine, symbol of purity or chastity, should be looking in a mirror has not been satisfactorily explained. Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude are all related to tarocchi, although in Fortitude's case not to the PMB.
pp. 51-61. Planets and spheres. Planets all use traditional images. The three spheres come from Dante's Convivio
, although not described there in a way that lends itself to images. Zucker comfirms relationship observed by Levenson between the “Mantegna” and the Libellus
P. 52: The water on the card is one of Luna's attributes; compare to Baldini's Luna in his Planets
p. 53: Pose and costume of Mercury reflect "a Hellenistic relief transmitted to fifteenth century Italian artists via a drawing by Cyriacus of Ancona (ill. Saxl, fig. 21; see also Seznec citing other Renaissance examples)."
p. 54. Venus compares to Star in later tarocchi. Also this:
Partial copies of the engraving, unrecorded by Hind, may also be noted on the frontispiece of a Livy manuscript in the Vatican Library (MS Borghes, Lat. 368; see Rathe, “Sulla classificazione di alcuni incunabili calcografici italiani,” Maso Finiguerra 5, 1940, p. 6-7 and fig. 2); and on a Venetian glass chalice of ca. 1475 in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Venice, p. 74, no. 64), the other side of which has a partial copy of an unrelated early Florentine engraving, The Peddler Robbed by Apes, either TIB 2405.047 or 2405.048).
P. 55. Sun: The winged figure, not traditionally male, may be Aurora. "The scorpion, placed emblematically in the sky above the horses, is also an element in the legend of Phaeton (Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art
, rev. ed., 1979, pp. 243-44, 275)."
P. 56. Mars. Absence of a sheep shows that engraver had no direct knowledge of the Libellus
, "although he was certainly familiar with the tradition it exemplifies." Compares to King of Swords in PMB and Chariot of various packs. "Comparison may also be made with a miniature painting by Marco Zoppo showing Mars on a Triumphal chariot n a Virgil manuscript of the early 1460s (see Alexander, ”A Virgil Illuminated by Marco Zoppo Burlington Magazine
111, pp. 514-517, 1969, fig. 40).
p. 57. Similar mandorla with a rainbow is in Francesco del Cossa's panel of St. Vincent Ferrer
, now in the National Gallery of London (Ruhmer, Francesco del Cossa
1959 pl. 69).
P. 59. Eighth sphere: figure similar to Muses. Arc of orbit also appears in engraver's depictions of planets.
p. 60: no visual precedents for Primo Mobile. [Zucker translates this as "Prime Mover," but shouldn't it be "First Moved"?]
p. 61. Prima Causa. Conventional medieval image of the Universe, with 13th century Sphera mundi of Johannes Sacrobosoco as the "most widely read [and illustrated] source for this universal paradigm" (Dixon, Giovanni di Paolo’s Cosmology,” Art Bulletin
67, 1986, pp. 604-613, p. 606.
Then there are the two other engravings identified by Levenson as by the same Master, the "Cupids at the Vintage" and "Death of Orpheus." I've already posted images of them. Of the first, Zucker (p. 157) notices the similarities to the trees in the three genii (already noticed by Levenson) and also
between the awkward foreshortening of the child Phaeton, tumbling through the sky in The Sun, and the equally awkward foreshortening of two cupids in the foreground here. In addition, the fine rectilinear crosshatching of the engraving is precisely comparable to the technique of the Tarocchi (p. 157).
Here are the images.
Zucker's most interesting comment is about its dating:
"...there is a partial, unreversed copy of the print in a manuscript of 1466 (see Rathe, Kurt, "Sulla classificazione di alcuni incunabili calcografici italini," Maso Fineguerra 5, pp. 3-13).
No doubt some classical model or models lie behind all four of the fifteenth-century prints, although none of them corresponds in any detail to surviving classical examples.
I have already referred to one that does, at the Getty in Malibu.
On the "Death of Orpheus" (p. 155f), Zucker observes that it, like the "Mantegna" itself, was originally thought to be Florentine. But since the artist is clearly the same as the "Mantegna," it must be from Ferrara, Zucker argues. Orpheus in that pose is found in classical art (Warburg, Gesammelte Schriften
1932, figs 99-100 facing p. 446). In the Renaissance, it is in the engraving of Hercules and the Giants
, after Pollaiuolo. For Pollaiuolo's own versions, see Ettlinger, Antonio and Piero Pallaiuolo
1978 pls. 88, 105. The complete composition is present in several examples: The Death of Pentheus
, in Zoppo's Parchment book of Drawings
(Ruhmer Marco Zoppo
1966, pp. 77-81, fig. 98). The city on the hill corresponds in the same book to fig. 99 of Ruhmer. More closely related is the early Duerer drawing, Death of Orpheus
, but with a different landscape and musical instrument. But the design itself did not originate with the "Mantegna," but in some lost work of another. Pollaiuolo is posited by Armstrong, Paintings and Drawings of Marco Zoppo
1976, p. 278ff; but most historians, including Zucker, favor Mantegna.
If nothing else, the character of the landscape is Mantegnesqu3e to the core, and Roessler-Friedenthal ("Ein Portraet Andrea Mantegnas als Alter Orpheus im Kontext seiner Selbstdarsellungen," Roemisches Jahrburch der Bibliotheca Hertziana 31, pp. 149-185) has recently contended that the head of Orpheus in Duerer's drawing (but not in the Ferrara print) faithfully preserves a self-portrait of the young Mantegna.
I see I will have to look at more Zoppo. He was from Bologna, but not in my radar. I see that pre-1465, Zucker notices a lot of Florentine comparisons, as I do. The Ferrara ones are all post-1465. So I still don't see why the "Mantegna" artist couldn't be a Florentine working further north, c. 1465. And given the comparison between the trees of the genii and those of the PMB, along with the other parallels to the PMB, it still seems to me that Bologna's Ginevra Sforza is a more likely patron than Ferrara's Borso d'Este. (I am talking about the initial engravings, the ones that Lazarelli bought, not anything that might have been produced later.) But I will study Zucker's comparisons further.