Virtue

#1
I thought rather than interupting other threads....bits and pieces, iconography, symbols etc on Virtue could be deposited here.
Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.
Wikipedia.
Christians believe there is three thelogical Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity/Love and come from the Bible in the book Corinthians.
From Classicial antiquity we get four classic Virtue of Prudence, Temperance, Strength/Fortitude, and Justice.
Plato considered there was a further Cardinal Virtue- Piety
Eastern philosophy has different moral excellences- for example -Respect.
Tarot has clearly 6 Virtue, but there is the on going debate of "Where is Prudence" and depictions of Faith,Hope and Charity, seem to have dissapeared. Or Not.
Then there are some that do not appear in Tarot, but come up in conversation, because of Artworks of Late Medieval or more commonly called Renaissance depictions.


I am starting with Humility...because it appears current. :)
The symbols of Humility are various- A candle /a Book/Bulrush/Daisies and Violets and in Eastern thought Bamboo.
Monastic groups of Nuns and Monks etc placed high regard and Laws on Humility.
The term "humility" comes from the Latin word humilitas, a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as "humble", but also as "grounded", "from the earth", or "low", since it derives in turns from humus (earth). See the English humus.
Saint Anthony of Padua thought and said Humility is the highest Virtue- so Christian debate on Virtue is ongoing.
Here is a picture called 'Nun reading a book to the congregation of Nuns.' It is actually about Humility.
Profound Silence is the 9th step in Humility practised by some Orders of Nuns. The ninth step can be achieved when one, practicing silence, only speaks when asked a question. I think many members of this Forum pratice this step of Humility :ymdevil:


Depicted here is Vallumbrosan Nuns. Their charter is an excercise in Humility. The Nun with the Book -a Saint or a Virtue? Either it seems. Saint Humilitas was a Vallumbrosan Nun.It was an extreme order of the Benedictine persuasion.In fact it was so extreme that Galileo's Father got him away from the Vallumbrosans by subterfuge.
So if Nuns and Mon ks invented tarot the Virtue of Humility would no doubt be represented.
Humility at a meal.jpg
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The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Virtue

#2
"Virtue" is a huge subject.

A few months ago we discussed the allegory of Virtue that architect Filarete (whose nom de plume means "lover of Virtue") placed at the very center of his ideal city Sforzinda:

Image



An allegory of generic "Virtue" appears in those Tarot de Marseille Love cards that represent the Choice of Hercules.

As discussed by Michael J. Hurst, the group formed by three virtues represented in tarot (Justice, Fortitude and Temperance) "is one of the most fundamental in the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas":
Thomas wrote:"justice is the most excellent of virtues". Among the other moral virtues, which are about the passions, the more excellent the matter in which the appetitive movement is subjected to reason, so much the more does the rational good shine forth in each. Now in things touching man, the chief of all is life, on which all other things depend. Consequently fortitude which subjects the appetitive movement to reason in matters of life and death, holds the first place among those moral virtues that are about the passions, but is subordinate to justice. Hence the Philosopher says that "those virtues must needs be greatest which receive the most praise: since virtue is a power of doing good. Hence the brave man and the just man are honored more than others; because the former," i.e. fortitude, "is useful in war, and the latter," i.e. justice, "both in war and in peace." After fortitude comes temperance, which subjects the appetite to reason in matters directly relating to life, in the one individual, or in the one species, viz. in matters of food and of sex. And so these three virtues, together with prudence, are called principal virtues, in excellence also.

Re: Virtue

#3
Hi, Marco,

Aquinas, the great Philosopher of the Church, is the premier source for understanding the virtues in 15th-century Italy. Like Petrarch and Boccaccio, he dealt with a central subject of the trump cycle and was the most influential and authoritative source at the time and place of Tarot's creation. Then there is the larger history of the virtues in art and literature. One of the best places to start looking at the subject is with Katzenellenbogen, one of those old Warburg-School guys. He catalogs a great many examples of how virtues were used, with and without vices, how they were grouped, and how they were depicted.

Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Mediaeval Art from Early Christian Times to the Thirteenth Century.
http://books.google.com/books/about/All ... s4AQAAIAAJ
http://www.amazon.com/Allegories-Virtue ... B000HX8OYO

One of the traditional failings of Tarotists, earlier occultists, online enthusiasts, and including most of those who write books on the subject, is that they don't bother to learn anything about art history and iconography before they begin their fantasy explorations. Not knowing either Aquinas nor Katzenellenbogen, would-be Tarot experts naively believe that there are only two groupings of virtues that count: the four Cardinal Virtues and the three Theological Virtues. Given that naivete, they make assumptions about imagined Ur Tarot designs and distort the meaning of various cards to fit their preconceptions. In reality, there were endless different individual virtues and combinations or groupings.

As an aside, here is one of my favorite Hercules Choice pictures. Like the allegorical design of Giotto's Arena Chapel, we have two paths, one leading to glory and the other to damnation. Overhead is the psychomachia, an allegorical epitome of the Stoic battle between Fortune (and the four passions of the soul which she inflames) and Virtue, Mankind's only remedy (De Remediis) for this affliction.
Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Virtue

#4
mjhurst wrote:...would-be Tarot experts naively believe that there are only two groupings of virtues that count: the four Cardinal Virtues and the three Theological Virtues. Given that naivete, they make assumptions about imagined Ur Tarot designs and distort the meaning of various cards to fit their preconceptions. In reality, there were endless different individual virtues and combinations or groupings.
Actually I think the problem is the number of tangents created by people casting far and wide for awkward parallels throughout the Middle Ages and Europe when in fact the ur-Tarot has been narrowed by DePaulis and Pratesi to Florence, ca. 1440.

Of the numerous monumental representations of the Virtues in Florence one finds the Cardinal and Theological virtues everywhere there: on the Campanile, on the Loggia dei Lanza, on the Baptistry doors (albeit with Humility for symetry's sake on the rectangular doors), the three theological virtues inside the Baptistry on the tomb of Antipope John XIII by none other than Donatello, the cardinal virtues above the tomb of Cardinal of Portugal in S. Miniato by della Robbia, all 7 on the spalliere above the magistrates seats in the Mercanzia by the Pollaiuolo brothers and Botticelli, on the wall of the Spanish chapel of the Aquinas fresco, Redeemer and the Seven Virtues on the ceiling of Santa Felicita, etc.

Exactly where are these alternate "endless different individual virtues and combinations" in Florence?

These works of art are paralleled by Florence's writers such as Bruni and Palmieri who also reveal a keen interest in the 7 Virtues precisely in the time before 1440; e.g., Palmieri's Della vita civile ("On Civic Life"), composed in 1429 and circulated between 1435-1440 - Book 2 discusses fortitude, prudence and temperance while Book 3 is dedicated to justice.
Image

the cardinal virtues on the ceiling above the tomb of Cardinal of Portugal, S. Miniato, Florence by della Robbia

Phaeded

Re: Virtue

#5
I should have mentioned in my opening post about Humility- that the image of the Nuns I linked was painted by Pietro Lorenzetti who was active from 1306- 1345, and Saint Humilatis dies in 1310- so when Lorenzetti painted the image Humility was not a Saint- so likely it was the Virtue rather the Nun depicted (with the Halo). It would have been Vanity to paint her as a Saint, if the work was commissioned by the Convent.
Mjhurst said...
In reality, there were endless different individual virtues and combinations or groupings.
This I agree with and depending what you ar looking for- you can find them all over the place. Siena for example. I would have thought for Florence the Virtue of Magnificence would have been an obvious choice for an Ur Tarot. In a North Tuscan town, the church where Bartoli di Fredi painted his Frescoes, you can see CY Visconti type Virtues under Augustine with heretics under their feet- they were painted in 1350 and considered a usual style of the Siena School and Magnaminity is one Virtue depicted. Bartolomeo de bartoli did the same in his exeplum "The Song of Virtues and Sciences" explained in another thread here.
Marco said "Virtue is a huge subject" and he is right.
Pheaded said..
the number of tangents created by people casting far and wide for awkward parallels throughout the Middle Ages and Europe when in fact the ur-Tarot has been narrowed by DePaulis and Pratesi to Florence, ca. 1440.
Whilst that maybe so...where is the evidence in cards? So far it seems speculation and what we have does not point to Florence as much as I would love it to. I would love to see the Armenian group sponsored by Cosimo Medici in 1438/39 in paintings and decorating of floats- because apparently they had wonderful illuminators along with them.
Cosimo specifically asked them to be involved with the Annuciation festivities for the Council and the iluminating of music for same events. If you look to the Armenian churches in Leppo (mostly likely bombed into the ground now) you will see different groups of Virtue as applied to their specific philosophy.
The Wonderful "Choice of Hercules" sounds like what was in the Grammatica of Donatus for the Sforza family in the late 15th Century and appears to be echoed in the Tarot de Marseille style cards- The Virtues have been lost/stolen- so we presume they are four-maybe with what mjhurst said they were only three.Prudence may never have been in Tarot in the first place.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Virtue

#6
Phaeded wrote:I think the problem is the number of tangents created by people casting far and wide for awkward parallels throughout the Middle Ages and Europe when in fact the ur-Tarot has been narrowed by DePaulis and Pratesi to Florence, ca. 1440.
Actually, that is me (and the late Dummett (late as in his latest statement on the issue, I mean)). I believe neither Thierry Depaulis nor Franco Pratesi would argue for the probability of such a close dating with the earliest documentation. I think I am the most conservative (perhaps along with Michael Hurst) in both my dating and definition of the Ur-Tarot. I think it is within 3 years of 1440 (inclusive, i.e. the game was invented in 1437 or later, up to early 1440 (which I think is highly unlikely)), and had the 22 standard trumps.
Image

Re: Virtue

#7
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Phaeded wrote:I think the problem is the number of tangents created by people casting far and wide for awkward parallels throughout the Middle Ages and Europe when in fact the ur-Tarot has been narrowed by DePaulis and Pratesi to Florence, ca. 1440.
Actually, that is me (and the late Dummett (late as in his latest statement on the issue, I mean)). I believe neither Thierry Depaulis nor Franco Pratesi would argue for the probability of such a close dating with the earliest documentation. I think I am the most conservative (perhaps along with Michael Hurst) in both my dating and definition of the Ur-Tarot. I think it is within 3 years of 1440 (inclusive, i.e. the game was invented in 1437 or later, up to early 1440 (which I think is highly unlikely)), and had the 22 standard trumps.

Ross,
Agree; should have definitely named you. My problem with you is you don't post often enough lately.

As for 1437 to early 1440 - please refresh as to why you subscribe to such a precise time period that oddly enough rules out Anghiari as the triumphal event as the basis for the ur-tarot. You know my positions here; 1) generally, that a triumphal event triggered the creation of a trionfi deck trumpeting the same; and 2), only two events in Florence that fall in that window are trionfi-worthy.

The real sticking point here is I'd be interested in hearing anyone's detailed reason for why the cards were ecclesiastical in nature and spawned by the East-West Union/Council of Florence...but you don't even seem to allow for the theological virtues outside the supposedly one-off deck of the CY. I mean why would the often-at-odds-with-papacy Visconti - especially in the years leading up to Anghiari when the papal armies were aligned against Milan - make sure to include the theological virtues, while the Florence-based pope would not have lead to the inclusion of the theological virtues in that city?

Phaeded

Re: Virtue

#8
MJ Hurst wrote
One of the best places to start looking at the subject is with Katzenellenbogen, one of those old Warburg-School guys. He catalogs a great many examples of how virtues were used, with and without vices, how they were grouped, and how they were depicted.
I did a short summary of Katsenellenbogen, O'Reilly, and Tuve on the medieval virtues and vices in relation to Giotto at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=848&start=20#p12160.

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