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.