Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#11
Thanks for these great sources on the differences between wisdom and prudence. And I never knew the Grail Castle was allegorically identified with the New Jerusalem; it's a very lovely idea

Is the hard wisdom/prudence distinction something that goes back to antiquity, as it was understood in this period, or is it an artifact of medieval scholasticism?

This is not an idle question on my part. My (entirely unsupported) supposition is that while you get a return to Greek and Neoplatonic sources in the 16th century (earlier in Florence with Ficino), the rest of the early Renaissance may be more a return to Roman rhetorical and philosophical sources. Would the distinction between prudence and wisdom become less sharp if this were the case with the trumps' development?

In any case, the idea that wisdom is the mother of all the virtues is consonent with Stoic and middle Platonic ideas. Is it really such a stretch if wisdom is the basis for the world card for it to pick up prudence as a secondary meaning? It seems a better match than fame.

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#12
Jim wrote
And I never knew the Grail Castle was allegorically identified with the New Jerusalem; it's a very lovely idea.
I'm not sure it counts as "knowledge". It's just my idea: the Grail Castle is a chivalric version of a combination of the New Jerusalem and Mt. Olympus. In some Grail stories, only a pure knight can get there. In every story, it's the object of the knights' quest. It isn't exactly in our world, because no one can find it, despite its rather conspicuous appearance, unless it wants to be found. It sends out knights from itself, like Lohengrin, to assist humanity--rather like angels from heaven. The people there live indefinitely, nourished by the Grail. And it's in a state of suffering, incompletely realized, until a person with the right knowledge or character gets there.

Jim wrote,
Is the hard wisdom/prudence distinction something that goes back to antiquity, as it was understood in this period, or is it an artifact of medieval scholasticism?
Well, it's in Aristotle. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phronesis, for the distinction between Prudence, i.e. Phronesis, and Wisdom, i.e. Sophia. Phronesis is practical wisdom, Sophia contemplative wisdom, the life of the philosopher (or mathematician or scientist), who through phronesis and other virtues, and reasoning, attains the ability to know first principles by immediate apprehension and reason from them back down to prudence and then the other practical virtues.

For how the distinction got used, I have no first-hand knowledge of the texts. I am relying on Nicholas Webb's "Momus with Little Flatteries: Intellectual life at the Italian courts," in Mantegna and Fifteenth Century Court Culture. I quote (p. 68):
...in Seneca's De constantia animae or Petrarch's De remediis utriusque fortunae, it is the enduring sapiens rather than the active prudens who resists fortune...During the middle ages the most common allegorical interpretation of Minerva was that of a personification of the vita contemplativa, sapientia and wisdom, following the account in Fulgentius's Mythologia. The 14th century Fulgentius metaforalis refers to the association of prudence with Minerva in Homer from the De deo Socratis of Apuleius, but this is in the course of establishing the identity of Saturn with prudence...

So the Middle Ages preserved this Aristotelian distinction. It's in Aquinas, too, in the Renaissance understanding of him. We see that in the encyclopaedic Margarita philosophica of G. Reisch, Strasburg 1503. Webb says:
Reisch quotes Aquinas on the Sentences for prudentia as the mater virtutum, while allocating speculative thought to sapientia, scientia and intellectus among the intellectual virtues.
So we have, in the Correggio "Triumph of Virtue," Minerva standing above one figure personifying the practical virtues, including prudence, and another for the speculative ones. (Remember that this is not the Mantegna painting. And Aquinas said other things, too.)

Jim wrote,
This is not an idle question on my part. My (entirely unsupported) supposition is that while you get a return to Greek and Neoplatonic sources in the 16th century (earlier in Florence with Ficino), the rest of the early Renaissance may be more a return to Roman rhetorical and philosophical sources. Would the distinction between prudence and wisdom become less sharp if this were the case.
Webb also says (using Greek letters for the Greek terms, which I'm not bothering to do) (p. 68)
Many classical authors used phronesis, 'prudence', as an interchangeable term with sophia, 'wisdom' - most notably Cicero.
I don't know about other Roman sources, such as Macrobius. Seneca, by my previous quote from Webb, apparently kept the distinction. But, yes, if the early Renaissance returned to Roman rhetorical and philosophical sources, that might make the distinction less sharp. But all the places associated with the early tarot (Milan, Florence, Ferrara, Bologna) had humanists in the mid-century who were very knowledgeable in Greek. I think that the examples I gave show well enough that the mid-15th century, between its Greek scholars and its scholastics, did preserve this distinction much of the time. And it used different iconography for the two virtues.

I think Webb makes sense when he says (p. 69)
Two commonplaces of Renaissance moral philosophy were that prudence governs the other virtues and is itself subject to wisdom.
I suspect that the Fulgentius Moralized was quite influential in pictorial art (it gives detailed visual descriptions, if you look at the examples in Seznec). For that and other reasons I think that Prudence, if it has to be in the 22-trump tarot, is better associated with Saturn, i.e. Cronos, which was identified with Chronos, Time, i.e. the tarot Vecchio, near the middle, closer to the other practical virtues. (Yes, prudence is an intellectual virtue; but it's a practical one, too.) Lower down in the sequence is where Prudence is in the "Holy Mountain"'s ladder, too. It makes sense: prudence is about action in time, neither too slowly nor too quickly, festina lente, and hopefully time teaches its lessons.

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#14
We see her holding a scepter and a globe, just like on the Charles VI card.
why show the Coin? That is not a scepter and globe or orb. It says Public Peace and Liberty for/in Florence. It is a three branched olive (biblical promise of three gifts of grain oil and wine when peace comes) and the symbol of the orange of the Medici. Which is why you see oranges on the trees in the frescoe of the Procession of the Maji in the private chapel of the Medici in Florence. It seems that Florentines were in love with the number three. That card that Ross put up- shows Cupid, heart and reed- Love and Music in the Land?
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#15
Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:That's from the only Este set I know, and I don't see any Prudence in it.
In the Este World we see a world, with an eagle underneath, surmounted by a winged putto who is holding the traditional scepter and globus cruciger of sovereignty. This seems a pretty generic conclusion to the cycle.
Image
In context, the eagle has two inescapable meanings. First, it is another symbol of sovereignty. Second, it is the emblem of St. John, putative author of Revelation. What is the symbolic allusion of the scepter, which is shown as a flexible wand? In the End Times context, it is obviously reminiscent of Christ's reed scepter.

We can, as always, speculate about the more obscure details. There is another object in the putto's left hand, and the subject matter depicted in the circle of the world is not clear. However, unless we constrain our speculations to be consistent with the overall design, i.e., a traditional Christian dénouement, then they will be arbitrary and incoherent.

My question for you is, how would you describe and/or explain the scattered hills, trees, and towers(?) in the world? Does the composition suggest a referent that would complement the design?

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#16
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Which "Este" card are we talking about here?
The "Charles VI" world card, which I thought came from the Este court.
charles vi world.jpg
charles vi world.jpg (56.65 KiB) Viewed 4977 times
So is it New Jerusalem, Prudence, or Wisdom? Do the world cards show a transition of this sort? Or is Il Vecchio always prudence.

More generally. If the trump order goes through several redesigns, wouldn't the images tend to become more polysemic and less systematic? In other words, you can see streches of multiple systematic orderings, but never arrange all the cards perfectly according to just one system.
mikeh wrote: ... I don't know about other Roman sources, such as Macrobius. Seneca, by my previous quote from Webb, apparently kept the distinction. But, yes, if the early Renaissance returned to Roman rhetorical and philosophical sources, that might make the distinction less sharp. But all the places associated with the early tarot (Milan, Florence, Ferrara, Bologna) had humanists in the mid-century who were very knowledgeable in Greek. I think that the examples I gave show well enough that the mid-15th century, between its Greek scholars and its scholastics, did preserve this distinction much of the time. And it used different iconography for the two virtues. ...
I think Webb makes sense when he says (p. 69)
Two commonplaces of Renaissance moral philosophy were that prudence governs the other virtues and is itself subject to wisdom.
Wow! Thanks for the this very precise description of the "reception" of virtue ethics at that time. Clearly, the courts at the time had access to almost the same materials we have now, Greek-philosophical, Roman-rhetorical, and Scholastic, and probably a lot more expertise at deploying them than us (certainly than me)

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#17
OOPS!! Sorry! that is a scepter reed and orb on the card. I write statements instead of opinions. Me bad.
Thank you for the enlargement.
The hills and landscape seem more local than a "World"
I have some vague memory that the area known now as Tuscany is known as the Land of Towers?
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#18
Thanks for the clarification, Ross. Jim first mentioned the d'Este, and I asked about where the snake or the mirror was. He replied with the Charles VI, and I went with that. Then later I spoke of the "figure on the Charles VI, d'Este, etc." as sapientia, forgetting that the d'Este doesn't have the lady on it. Actually, we're only speaking about the Charles VI. I'll add an edit to my post. (The deck generally referred to as the d'Este is a different deck, Jim.) Another variation is the Rosenwald sheet, with an adult angel holding a scepter and globe on top of a circle containing ground, towers, and clouds.

Regarding the Charles VI, Jim replied that in the context of Roman rhetoric and philosophy, the distinction between sapientia and prudentia was blurred. I agreed, but thought that the Renaissance in general kept them separate. That's where we are.

I also said that I thought the attributes of the two were different. Actually, while prudence had clear attributes, I'm not sure sapientia did, other than being at the top of the ladder, or all-embracing. As Minerva, she could be either prudentia or sapientia, depending on the context (which sometimes distinguished them and sometimes didn't)! So then the question returns, who is the lady on the Charles VI? If Minerva, we could be back in ambiguity. However I think that her position at the end of the sequence--like the top of the ladder--makes her sapientia,

Lorredan: The lady on the coin is not, to be sure, strictly speaking either Minerva or sapientia. She is Florence. But she holds an olive branch, the attribute of Minerva, and a globe. In the Correggio painting (http://copiosa.org/images/virtue_correggio.jpg) Minerva holds a broken lance and a round, globe-shaped helmet. I don't think it matters, in a world of visual puns, if the globe is really an orange or a helmet; it's still a globe, and an attribute of Minerva--or is it sapientia? I need more information. But the message of the coin is to asssociate the Medici with wise leadership of the city.

In the 9th century illustrations to the Psychomachia (Bern Bergerbibliothek. Cod. 264), the figure of Wisdom, the one who is "enthroned" at the end, might have both a globe and scepter, I can't tell. Unfortunately my image processor isn't working, or I'd show you. Prudentius's Psychomachia describes her, inside the Temple of Wisdom built after the defeat of the vices (in O'Reilley's paraphrase, p. 27 of Studies in the Iconography of the Virtues and Vices in the Middle Ages) :
Inside, Wisdom sits enthroned bearing a sceptre budding with leaves, blood-red roses and white lilies (symbolic of the Incarnation and Redemption), 'which was prefigured by the flowering rod that Aaron carried'. (p. 341)
No mention of a globe. Of course both globe and scepter are attributes of sovereignty, and hence implied by "enthroned". O'Reilley says that this part of the Psychomachia is Prudentius's variation on Revelation's New Jerusalem (which doesn't have a temple: the Lord and the Lamb are the temple, Rev. 21:22). I see that O'Reilley refers to some very long writings by Tuve on the imagery of the virtues in the middle ages. My local library has them, so I'll try to get to there in the next few days.

I am glad Michael raised the issue of the hills and castles. In the past he connected them to the so-called "Fama" fresco in the Bentivoglio Chapel, which has always seemed to me an excellent association, if rather late (1490). I posted a fairly clear image of that fresco at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&start=10#p5795, along with my attempt to put that fresco in a broader context, including that of sapientia. The lady in the fresco has a trumpet and is below the circle with the hills and castles. The lady on the Charles VI, on the other hand, is above the circle and has no trumpet. There are perhaps two kinds of "fama"--worldly glory and heavenly glory, or, in the 1490 tournament in Bologna, fortune (tarot card 10) vs. sapientia (tarot card 21), as I explained in my post.

On the one hand, the circle might represent the world, i.e. this earth (or even a section of it, such as Tuscany, as Lorredan suggests), with all its vanities. So the figure on top, whether a putto or a lady, could signify the transcendence of this world, viewing it from the perspective of eternity, contemplative sapientia, and--on the d'Este--of Christ its sovereign, the embodiment of sapientia. Then, too, this world (or Tuscany) has the possibility of being ruled by sapientia, according to Plato's Republic. So the card could also mean the triumph of virtue in this world, and the attainment of "fama" in both senses.

On the other hand, in the Charles VI, the circle with the castles in the hills seems to be floating on some clouds. That would suggest something above the world, perhaps a reward for virtue. In the d'Este, the circle is held by the eagle's wings.

I also don't understand why the d'Este has a putto rather than a lady. Is it related to the children on the PMB Sun and World? Is it to suggest the Christ child? On the other hand, putti were everywhere in Renaissance art, so perhaps it's just a light touch.

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#19
If Prudence means the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason and the wisdom to do so- and a mirror means self knowledge (know yourself) and a snake means be cautious- could it be the landscape framed circle is the snake and mirror- so Prudence is there governed by Wisdom?( Charles 1V) or in the E'ste card a putti which might mean Prudence (The mirror and snake) is governed by Love?
So the Mirror reflects the landscape?
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Revisiting Petrarch and Giotto

#20
Unlike the world cards with Putti, in the Charles VI card, the world circle is riding on clouds, and is presumably a heavenly, not an earthly, city. Until I saw the illustration of the cosmic grail castle; I would have assumed this could only be the heavenly Jerusalem. In the Rosenwald sheet, you also see lines that could denote clouds below the world circle. This would mean the trumpet is more likely the last one rather than the one of fame.

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