There is a series of Miniatures from Moral and Grammatical texts.
The ones that interested us were ones painted by Gian Pietro Birago who signed the miniatures in Brescia 1471-73 and were illustrating 'Grammatica del Donato' (Aelius Donatus a 4th Century Grammarian).
They are Maximilian In Triumph, A Picnic in a garden, Choosing Virtue in preference to Vice, Maximillian receiving a book from His Tutor. Several other illuminations have been lost or stolen.
These pictures were commission for a luxury book by Ludovico il Moro Sforza for his son.
Some of the works because of the History have been included in the Sforza hours
http://www.manoscrittilombardia.it/uplo ... 8_2009.pdf
This shows two of the pictures.
I would like to discuss the relationship between Ars Minor/Major Grammatica and the Tarot cards.
We noticed that there is a similarity between the illustrations and cards, at least the Tarot de marseille types.
These books became so popular, that printing presses were making pictures for books at an amazing rate.The Grammatica Figurata of Mathias Ringmann was first printed in 1509. This work was an attempt to enliven Donatus' Ars Minor by printing up illustrated card sets for each grammatical rule. Apparently the children would have a card set. The rules are not explained at length, but a few hints are scattered here and there in the work. The final section on "Exclamations" has a sentence on how to figure out which student has won. Each card represented a part of speech, a gender, a case, or a tense, etc. Depending upon the teacher's questions a student would play the appropriate card or cards. It is wacky and interesting even if it is of questionable pedagogical value. Long believed to be lost, one copy of Grammatica figurata was found and reprinted in 1905. Of particular interest are Ringmann's digressions on assorted subjects, from the prevalence of gambling among the German priesthood to the reasons behind his refusal to illustrate full-frontal nudity.
This subject may well have been covered before, so any insight would be appreciated.
Here is the main thrust of my enquiry..written by Irene Mittelberg
One of the Texts of the grammtica for Sforza was ...An Emperor is a Noun, a Governor is an Adjective.Grammar is an elaborate symbolic system. It belongs to the group of abstract concepts and intangible entities that we treat in our thinking and speech as objects with certain properties, sub-categories, and relations to other concepts. In doing so, we seem to rely on certain mental representations of grammar and a figurative vocabulary to seize its structures and mechanisms. The aim of this study is to make out the metaphorical concepts underlying grammatical terms such as 'construction of a sentence', 'word classes', or 'hierarchy of constituents' by investigating how the corresponding mental models might have been imprinted in the collective memory of speakers. In order to get a grasp on such a process of cultural mediation, I will take into account not only the metaphorical language, but also pictorial representations which have remained prominent throughout the academic history of grammar as one of the seven liberal arts. If we assume that both linguistic expressions and visual images reflect human conceptualization, it seems plausible that they can illuminate as well as complement each other. When we consider, for instance, the fact that metaphors, personifications, and allegories can take shape by linguistic and pictorial means of expression, it makes it seem worthwhile to explore not only linguistic, but also visual evidence.