Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

Lorredan wrote:OK so it could well be Veritas locked up. Veritas is the Mother of Virtue the daughter of Saturn. ... veritas-2/
I found this World like figure whilst looking for depictions of Veritas........
So I think that tree with human features is not Daphne......but Mendacium (Falsehood has taken root in the garden)
Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks. That forgery, that product of subterfuge, thus acquired the name of Mendacium [Pseudologos, Falsehood], and I readily agree with people who say that she has no feet: every once in a while something that is false can start off successfully, but with time Veritas (Truth) is sure to prevail."
So it would seem that Truth needs the Virtues to free her.
Ahhhh... Thanks for the broken spear, I still do not understand the broken spear analogy.
A sort of "Veritas" in the theater play "Philodoxus" ... ... umento.pdf
... of Alberti (1424) is Alithia, daughter of Chronos (= Time), which likely shall say, that Veritas is something, which appears after some time (the girl with the final words) ... though in the play Alethia has only 4 sentences:

1. "What else? When they had grabbed Phimia (= Fame, which is Glory's sister), they left."
2. "Shall we go home then?"
3. "Hello, Father"
4. "Yes, Father"

What Alithia says at sentence 1, is the essential plot of the story. And sentence 2 is the essential idea of the spectator, after the story has finished.
And Mnimia (= Memory) is Alithia's guardian. And Mnimia is the lost wife of Phroneus, who is the friend of the male super-hero Philodoxus, who desires Doxia (which is Glory, sister of Fame). And Phroneus is the "true Alberti" himself. And Fortunatus, the foe-hero, is the one, who grabs Phimia.

6. Eternity = Doxia )= Glory
5. Time = Alithia = Mnimia = Memory and that, what Alberti prefers
4. Fame = Phimia
3. (Death) Philodoxus
2. (Chastity) Phroneus = Alberti
1. (Love) Fortunius

Virtues don't get special attention, but virtues commonly accompany "Chastity"
Huck it is interesting that those like Gonzaga that played Tarot had this obsession with Virtue and Vice.
If you look precisely, it's Isabella d'Este, daughter of Ferrara, who creates the Virtue and Vices fashion in Mantova.
Btw. ... 1502 is the year, when Alfonso d'Este married Lucrezia Borgia, and Isabella d'Este opposed this. And her husband found, that Lucrezia is attractive.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

aaaarrrgh that web site is devoted to the adoration of Charles Manson the psycho killer.
Honest to god the web gets weirder and weirder.
I did not read the site just grabbed that veritas image from Images.
Sorry I should have been more circumspect- given what I hate about the web.
I have several Art sourcebooks and in discussions about this Mategna Expulsion of the Vices- they all talk about the Tree been Olive. It looks like a Bay Laurel though- the hedge seems to be some sort of Olive or perhaps Orleander with buds. Olive trees are gnarled at the trunk- Laurels are smoth trunked and bushy at the base.
Interesting (aside from the sicko Manson), that image of Veritas is very like The World card (Tarot de Marseille type)
Other Roman depictions of Veritas look like our Papesse with book on Lap. Very Strange.
I wonder is Isabella D'Este played cards with the little tramp Lucrezia sort of poking her in the nose with Virtue and a warning to behave with Hubby.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

Lorredan wrote:
I wonder is Isabella D'Este played cards with the little tramp Lucrezia sort of poking her in the nose with Virtue and a warning to behave with Hubby.
Lucrezia and Isabella's husband are said to have had a special relationship. And Isabella's husband anyway had his side paths and later the Syphilis. And then he was Venetian prisoner. And then Isabella went to Rome.

And the relations to her brother Alfonso were stressed. Two other brother were send to prison in 1506. This all can't be hardly "simple lucky family". Life played in a way, that her husband was weakened in prison, and Ferrara lost its cards, when the French were driven out of Italy. This was 1512 and Isabella was IMPORTANT and she organized the welcome party for Massimiliano Sfoarza. This established her as the one great lady of Italy.

Well, this is after the series of virtue pictures, whereby I would say, that Parnassus 1497 is just another generation.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

Huck, I don't understand how you get Doxia = Eternity. Doxa means "opinion", which is fleeting. If anybody is eternal, it's Alithia = Truth.

Also, in the painting, Justice is the one in blue holding the scales. And let us be clear, I hope, that Prudence is not the "Mother of the Virtues", the one in need of rescuing. Prudence is the rescuer, Pallas Athena.

I read Alberti's essay "Virtue" today. It is a fable in which Virtue is having a great time with all the philosophers, who all worship her, when Fortuna and a gang of ruffians come in. Fortuna says, "What, commoner, don't you freely give way when greater gods approach?" Virtue tells Fortuna off, and Fortune replies with worse. Cicero defends Virtue and is beaten up by Mark Antony in return (actually Mark Antony had Cicero killed, if I recall, but I suppose in the Elysian Fields you can't kill people). All the other philosophers flee. Then the ruffians beat up Virtue. She goes to Mercury to try to get Jupiter to do something about Fortune. She's tried to talk to him already, but was told he was too busy working on butterfly wings and such. Virtue says that the butterflies fly about in splendor, but still no one will protect her. Mercury says he's sorry, but the gods owe their positions to Fortune, and they can't risk offending her. Virtue had best hide until Fortune's hatred of her is quenched. "Then I must hide eternally. Naked and despised, I am excluded from heaven" she says and the essay ends.

Here is Dosso Dossi's take on this fable, according to some people (well, my book on Dosso Dossi thinks that it isn't Virtue there, but "Spring", protesting being superseded by Summer, but that seems to me a narrow view). Dosso was another Estensi artist, Alfonso's.


Dosso seems to be on Jupiter's side, as a fellow artist.

The upshot is that while Virtue is all-mighty in the philosophers' world, she has no power at all in the world controlled by Fortune, i.e. the "real" world. The gods won't come to her aid. The moral virtues are up in the clouds. The only one who will defend Virtue is Prudence, i.e. one's wits. That's who, or what, Isabella must rely on, be an Athena.

I suspect that the broken lance device is a bit of sibling rivalry with her brother Alfonso. Alfonso was at that time spending a lot of time on cannon technology. He figured that a small state like Ferrara to survive had to have better cannons than its enemies, so that if Venice or somebody wanted to shell Ferrara again, Ferrara's better cannons would get them first. In the short term, Alfonso was right. His cannon saved the day in many a battle. And you know his famous portrait, with his arm affectionately caressing his cannon. The flaming cannon ball was his device. The broken lance is then Isabella's ironic reply.

As it happened, the Gonzaga ruled Mantua longer than the Estensi ruled Ferrara. Some people say that Isabella's statecraft is a major cause.

But there is more to the painting than the glorification of Prudence, Isabella's alter ego. Here I will try to summarize Campbell, but people should really read him, all 13 pages (it was longer than I thought at first). He raises the issue, and says the painting raises the issue: is Minerva going too far? She is not treating the little cupids with the beautiful wings very nicely, nor the female satyr with her children, nor the noble-looking centaur and the touching satyr father. Just because someone likes to do the sort of thing that produces lots of children, is no reason to attack her. Children are beautiful, like butterflies. (Lucrezia, that satyress, ended up having seven and dying in childbirth at 37. By the time she married Isabella's brother, at age 22, she'd had two husbands and one out-of-wedlock child.) Maybe Minerva, i.e. Isabella, should should leave lust alone, as long as it does no harm--just as Virtue in the Durer print should leave Pleasure alone. The vices of concern have labels: "Otium, Inertia, Suspicio (who carries the seeds of Fraud, Hatred, and Malice), Ingratitudo, Ignorantia, and Avaricia" (Campbell p. 148). Lust isn't one of them. I notice that the drunkard being carried on the right is wearing a crown; that might be an issue--I can't make out his label. But the issue is: should Isabella bother herself about her husband's sex life, as long as he fulfills his responsibilities and doesn't get in Isabella's way? (Her husband is said to have complained, in a letter, "My wife does as she pleases.") I understand from reading about her that she warmed to Lucrezia, too.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

mikeh wrote: Also, in the painting, Justice is the one in blue holding the scales. And let us be clear, I hope, that Prudence is not the "Mother of the Virtues", the one in need of rescuing. Prudence is the rescuer, Pallas Athena.
About Justice, I don't know what Huck was thinking. I have never found Justice given the title "Mother of Virtues", and, as you point out, and I did earlier on this thread, she is already portrayed. I can't recall, for the moment, any other iconographic representation of just these three virtues grouped together, with Prudence absent. This makes it potentially of interest to tarot trump-sequence interpreters.

It is notable that art historians (like Campbell?) also ask the question "where's Prudence?", which shows that it is not just stupid people who ask the question about missing Prudence in tarot (and her insertion into Minchiate also shows that some people took her to be missing).

But, Mike, why are so sure that the Mater Virtutum is not Prudence? I think Prudence is the only one of the Cardinal Virtues ever to be given that title.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

Well, I'm not sure, now that you ask, Ross. Thanks. It should have been a question, not a statement: Can we be clear that Prudence is identified with Minerva? Campbell quotes an essay defending that view, without much elaboration. I have ordered the book from Interlibrary Loan. Hopefully in a week or two I'll have it. Maybe there are some facts in it. Meanwhile, why did I think that this position was right? Fortunately, THF has a good "search" function where I can look up what I once wrote, now buried in my subconscious.

On the one hand, Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, hence Sapientia personified. I see I've defended that position myself on THF. I seem to have forgotten that point. On the same hand, in the later Correggio painting, she is shown, still with her broken lance, with all four virtues, as though the missing one had been rescued. That was a different time and a different painter, but same commissioner and same studiola.

On the other hand, Sapientia in a versified medieval legend was the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity, hence the mother of the theological virtues: ... ienta.html In that way she would get the title "mother of virtues". We're speaking medieval Latin, a language I don't know. Did they have a way of representing the definite article "the"?

Also, on the ladder of virtues, in the frontispiece to Holy Mountain, 1477, Sapientia is higher than Prudentia. So it seems, genealogically, that it should be the mother of the ones below it. I posted pictures at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=5017&hilit=sapientia#p5017

And allegorically, you need to step on the lower rungs of the ladder to get to the higher ones. So to get to Wisdom, you need to practice Prudence. (But I suppose it could be the other way around, in somebody's thinking. The point is perhaps overly subtle.)

And there is a 1452 painting of Sapientia where she looks like a mother. At least the lady is very parallel to paintings of what I thought was Christ as Sapientia. I posted these at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=365&p=4839&hilit=sapientia#p4839

I would expect to find Sophia of the Wisdom literature in the Hebrew Bible represented as a mother in Greek orthodox ikons, but I don't know them.

Are you sure that it was Prudentia and not Sapientia who was called Mother of the Virtues? Or maybe they both were.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

Plato identifies Justice as the greatest virtue of the State in his Republic and there's an implication that it is the highest good for the soul as well because it brings the soul into balance. I don't remember the details of the argument.

There's a good discussion here, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: ... -politics/

For what it's worth, I had Italian olive and bay trees in my yard in Sardinia and that gal looks like Olive to me.

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

I am glad you see that gal as Olive.... which means that ain't Daphne. :ymhug:
Now as I beat my drum once more
In Roman mythology Veritas is the Mother of Virtue.
I do not know which is the greatest Virtue amongst her daughters.
Christians reckon it is Prudence as does Saint Paul inhis letters to the Thessalonians.
Saint Thomas Aquinas says Mary is the Mother of Christian Virtue.
Plato reckons Justice is the greatest daughter......
That painting is mythological?
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Plato and Virtue(s)

I did a search on the mother of virtues when posting on the original thead on AT : from what I recall one can find Prudence as the mother of virtues, or temperance, or Mary, or truth, or Caritas, or discretion* ... and half-a-dozen others to boot...

*Discetion is called the mother of virtues by St. Benedict writing in his ideal of an Abbot:

"Taking, then, such testimonies as are borne by these and the like words to discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper all things, that the strong may have something to strive after, and the weak nothing at which to take alarm.”

I mention him in particular because Mantegna included a figure of St. Benedict in his St. Lucas altar piece.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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