Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
I think that the money bags depicted so consistently in Florentine Tarots (Charles VI, Rosenwald, Minchiate) show that the original designers were familiar with the most common use of shame paintings in Florence, which was for debt, bankruptcy and fraud. See Samuel Y. Edgerton's survey of the Florentine practice in Pictures and Punishment: Art and Criminal Prosecution During the Florentine Renaissance
(Cornell UP, 1985), particularly chapters 2 and 3, and Appendix A.
You can get the book on scribd
http://fr.scribd.com/doc/33835722/Samue ... enaissance
(or try Google Books -
http://books.google.fr/books/about/Pict ... edir_esc=y
In addition to the trial, fine and imprisonment when caught, defaulters were to be publically shamed, a practice formalized by statute in 1283/84 -
http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... tonp75.jpg
Edgerton's study makes it clear that the statute, however revised, never refers to the crime of treason as a reason for such a picture, although those instances we know of from histories are almost always for that crime. Thus, in addition to the money bags, the name of the card in Florentine sources, the blandly descriptive impiccato
, "hanged man", shows that Florentines didn't automatically associate the image with treason, as it would seem the Bolognese did, always using the name traditore
. Unfortunately, Bologna's use of the shame painting is not so well studied as Florence's, and I am unable to find out even if its use were statutory or merely ad hoc
in that city.
You left out the next paragraph, Ross, which explains why the statute did not refer to treason.
For treason the signory probably simply didn't want to specify the punishment for treason. Even then, the statute doesn't say anything about being hung upside down, or money bags, etc. It is just the person's portrait, done realistically enough to identify him, with his name underneath. Appendix A is another account of the punishment, and again nothing about being hung upside down. In fact, Appendix A is a 1465 complaint that "wrongdoers are either not being painted at all, or their effigies are hidden in obscure locations where the public cannot see them," on Edgerton's interpretation (p. 103). The document is deliberating the old statute (p. 227):
And considering that the said statute was made for the best of reasons, because it was found that many abstain from said bankruptcies for fear less they be painted rather than for any other reason, and because it does not appear that the said statute would be more fully observed, either because they are not being painted or are painted in places secret and hidden, thus not able to be seen...
The priors recommend that the paintings be put "also on the public facades of their private houses". Edgerton concludes:
The signory seems thus to admit that the traditional settings for these pictures, the Bargello and the Captain's Palace, are no longer adequate.
That may be one reason why it was no longer done for debtors
, as there would not have been enough room, considering all the paintings of traitors. This document is 1465, quite close in time to that of the Charles VI tarot itself.
Looking through the book, I see hardly any examples of debtors
, and the examples of people being hung by one foot include only traitors. Even then, that depiction is not common. Walter of Brienne and his henchmen, at least 6, "must have been shown upright and frontal" Edgerton says (p. 82). This painting remained on the Bargello wall until 1550. Vasari notes that they were depicted "All with mitre of justice on their heads as marks of shame" (p. 81). Another painting of Walter was done 20 years later and showed him "with devilish features and dark and scraggly beard." (p. 84), in a Last Judgment like setting, with an animal that Edgerton thinks might have been derived from one in Dante's Inferno
Then in 1377, as you say, came the first one hung upside down, reported by an anonymous diarist of the time (p. 85f):
Today [October 13, 1377] was begun the fresco on the facade of the palace where lives the pedesta, and to paint there the face and person of the traitor, Messer Ridolofo da Camerino, traitor to the Holy Mother Church, andthe people and Commune of Florence....Thus painted, he is on a gallows, tied at the top by his left foot and hung [upside down]. On his head at the bottom is a big mitra. At the side and tied to his neck is a devil. His arms are spread out, and from both right and left hand he gives the finger [fa le fica] to the Church and to the Commune of Florence.
Again there is the association with devils. Before this time, it is known that people (not historic individuals) hanging upside down had been depicted in hell, as part of Last Judgment scenes, as in Giotto's Arena Chapel (p. 28), but also for traitors. Edgerton comments (p. 87):
Pittura infamante artists elsewhere in Italy had already devised this denigrating pose, which was to become the standard for for victims of the art during the next centuries. (84) Actually, the upside-down figure as a symbol of infamy traces back to antiquity. Trecento Florentines had no trouble recognizing its meaning from the popular image on the tarot card, or the occasional upside-down suspension of an actual living culprit (often a Jew), or in other painted hell scenes such as Giotto's Last Judgment in Padua.
Edgerton seems to have the unfortunate impression that the Charles VI was actually done for Charles VI. He also dates the tarot done for Filippo Maria as having been done by Giangalleazo in the trecento! He notes that the first recorded upside-down shame painting was in Rome, 1347, "of two traitors painted on the Palace of the Campadoglio" (p. 87 n. 84).
Edgerton's reference to Jews being fair game for upside-down depiction suggests the only way I can think of in which the Charles VI might be a depiction of a debtor: that is, if he was meant to be a Jew, or like a Jew, who had fled the city with his money bags rather than pay his creditors. Jews were by definition infamous. Edgerton says (p. 64):
Certain persons were infamous de facto automatically, by virtue of their religion, occupation, or status of birth: Jews, Mohammedans, prostitutes, actors, and executioners, for instance.
It is possible that red hair would have been associated with Jews (before the influx from Spain); I don't know. It was in Northern Europe. But there is no record of such shame paintings of Jewish merchants in Florence. They would have not been typical, judging from reports of the time. Hurst did a thread on ATF of the so-called Jewish Execution, but all he found of Jews being hung upside-down were Northern European, and mostly by both feet (see his posts at http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=93371
); only one, 1609, shows them hung by the left foot, and perhaps that was merely a guess, influenced by the tarot card. Also, they are of actual executions, not the shaming of people who fled prosecution. The Scheltbriefen
, it is true, were meant to shame, but again, they were Northern European. and not done on order of the commune, but by private citizens. Whether this existed in Italy is not clear. Edgington localized them to Northern Europe. In Italy, shame paintings were by order of the commune, not by private citizens as in Germany. Edgington writes
The pittura infamante bears some similarity to the contemporaneous German Shandbilder, or scurrilous pictures, often of Jews, drawn by private persons and attached secretly to the door of the victim's house. (50) The Italian defaming art was, however, always official.
For the German practice, Edington cites Otto Hupp, Scheltbriefe und Schandbilder
, Munich 1930, Eberhard Freiherr von Kuenssberg, "Rechsgeschichte und Volkskunde," Berlin 1925, and Kisch "Ehrenschelte und Schandgemaelde", 1931).
Hurst cites a source, Leon Efron (title unspecified), that cites a later Kisch essay as saying that these Sheldbriefen
were not just for Jews. Hurst writes:
Kisch brings proofs that up till the 14th century, this manner of Execution was not a punishment specifically or exclusively inflicted on Jewish offenders. After this time it was mostly, but not exclusively a tool to emphasize the difference of the Jew and to humiliate him as such. In a picture from 1490 appearing below we see a Christian noble Hans von Judmann zu Affeking who was of Jewish descent portrayed as being hanged like a Jew. This is not a depiction of an actual execution. It is a caricature which was a part of a Scheltbrief, which is a defamation book meant to dishonor a debtor who failed to pay his debt. Medieval Law in some countries allowed creditors to use the Scheltbrief in order to bring debtors to pay. The fact the Jewish Execution is used here emphasizes that at that time it was considered a 'Jewish' symbol. The insult to the Christian noble is even greater in this caricature where his coat of arms is also suspended with him on the gallows showing four 'Jewish-hats' (a sign of shame which Jews were made to wear) depicted on it, emphasizing the Jewish heritage of the nobleman.
Even if not exclusively for Jews, even here it is associated with Jews. Anyway, this is still northern Europe. Even there, it is not clear whether other infamous groups were shown upside down, and what these images looked like. All Hurst gives is pictures of actual executions and a passage from Moakley: "hanging by the feet as a method of killing a man as a punishment for theft". Hurst does not post any 1490 image that I can find in that thread. It is likely that the Catelin Geoffroy Hanged Man is meant to be a Jew; but that is a different sort of image from the Charles VI; whether it corresponds to a shame-picture for debt or--more likely, from the evidence given--an actual execution scene for theft is not clear (for the images, see Hurst's post at http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... ostcount=4
Another upside-down portrait in Florence was done in 1388 with the usual paraphernalia:
on his head a large mitra, and at his throat an iron collar with a hook. This is attached to a chain that a devil holds in his hand as he drags him...Under his feet there was written in large letters:
Arrogant, avaricious, traitor, liar,
Lustful, thankless, full of deceits,
I am Bonaccorso di Lapo Giovanni.
In Milan in 1392, Giangaleazzo Visconti made it part of a treaty with Florence that all the shame paintings done there as a result of recent hostilities with Milan be removed. The treaty was signed and the paintings removed. In 1390 he had decreed that the practice of shame paintings cease (p. 90):
Whereas on the walls of the new Palace of the Milanese Commune there are painted certain images, some showing the falsity of witnesses, some others [the falsity] of vile notaries, and others of money-changers and merchants. But though these images seem to be made to confound and defame the falsifiers, nevertheless pictures of this type cause scandal and infamy not only to agents of such deception, but to the whole city, so that any people, foreigners especially, looking at these images imagine and quite firmly believe that the majority of citizens are hardly to be trusted and are involved in great deceptions. On account of this it is decreed that all these same pictures be removed, and in the future no man will be painted, but more sharply and more severely punished unless subject to any contrary ordinances.
So the practice of shaming "falsifiers" of all kinds, probably including debtors
, apparently existed in Milan, but was banned. This banning of shame paintings apparently held in Milan until 1470 (p. 92):
In 1470 the Sforza leadership in Milan, now the great admirers of Florentine culture, reactivated pitture infamanti and ordered a certain Manfredo da Correggio of Parma to be so excoriated as a traitor.
No mention is made of how he was hung. But (p. 91)
In 1477 the French King Louis XI, also an admirer of Florence and the Medici, tried to punish the traitor Jean de Chalon, prince of Orange, by having him depicted infamously in the Italian manner. A contemporary described the picture: "The portrait of my lord the prince of Orange,...fully, armed, was hanged on a gibbet by his left foot. His bowels were protruding from his stomach, his head enveloped in flames, and a devil using an iron tong was holding the prince by the tongue, which he pulled from his throat." This unsubtle imagery apparently derived from a Trecento Italian prototype...
The red hair on the Charles VI Hanged Man might be a simulation of such flames.
In the 15th century the practice mostly died out, except in Florence (p. 93).
Except for a few other sporadic incidents, the pittura infamante went out of style everywhere in Europe, even in Italy, during the fifteenth century. Only in Florence did it continue to prosper in spite of Giangaleazzo's treaty proviso.
So when the Florentines' condottieri, including Nicolo Piccinino of Perugia, deserted en masse at Anghiari in 1425, they were painted, upside down hanging by one foot, according to an 18th century historian who could not have seen them. More famous, however, were the paintings of Rinaldo degli Albizzi and seven designated henchmen, who had fought for Milan against their Florentine homeland at Anghiari in 1440. All the figures were apparently depicted hanging upside down. The painter was 20 year old Andrea del Castagno, who did them in the realistic style of Massaccio. Painters were reluctant to do shame paintings, for fear of retaliation if the ones shamed should return to power. But Castagno wanted to serve the the Medici (he was "much beholden to the house of the Medici" says Vasari, thinking of 1478 and the Pazzi paintings; he in fact died in 1457). The paintings made Castagno so famous that he got the nickname "Andrea degl'Impiccati", Vasari says (p. 101).
Castagno's paintings were destroyed in 1494 with the rest of the Medici shame paintings, when Savonarola took power, but Edgerton proposes that we can get an idea of what they might have looked like if we turn to a drawing that Castagno made of an angel upside down. Here it is, right-side up:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1RWjrk8AY6c/U ... ton102.JPG
It seems to me that there is a distinct resemblance to the Charles VI card, especially in the arms, hair, and face. I turn it upside down for comparison purposes.
I am not proposing that the same painter did both. Castagno died in 1457. It's more that the Bargello walls had become "a veritable art as well as rogues' gallery", as Edgerton puts it (p. 103), for the new realistic art style. It may be significant that the year and place of Castagno's painting is the same as that for the first recorded trionfi note.
The last documented pittura infamante series in Florence during the 15th century were those of eight major Pazzi conspirators, 1478, done by Botticelli. Most of them had already been executed. Edgerton observes:
This was an unprecedented action. Almost all pitture infamanti in Florence were of criminals still alive and away from the city in contempt of court.
The best record of the paintings comes from the sixteenth century Anonimo Magliobecchiano. They were:
...all hanged by the neck, and Napoleone Francese hung by one foot...
The most probable reason why Napoleone was treated differently was that he had managed to avoid capture. Lorenzo composed a verse for each of them; the one for his brother's actual murderer called him a "new Judas" (p. 106). I am not sure why the number eight was chosen; it seems to have occurred before, for the Anghiari traitors. One possibility is that in Macrobius, eight is the number of justice.
The connection of hanging with Judas is mentioned in one other place besides Lorenzo's poem. Edgerton says (p. 148):
Renaissance artists, however, if they depicted the symbolic imagery of hanging at all, tended to reserve it for the enemies of the Church, such as Haman and Judas Iscariot.
Also, there was another punishment for the most infamous criminals, the damnatio memoriae
If the criminal himself could not be physically chastised, then his remaining artifacts at least should be held up to public ridicule. His former properties, for example, might be razed. 934). In Florence, during the disastrous siege of 1530 by the Spanish troops of Pope Clement VII, the signory punished the renegade condottiere Baccio Valori by having his house in Florence cut in two and the swath between the halves labeled "Traitor's Alley." (35)
Footnote 34 notes that:
The right to raze the house of a criminal was in part derived from Acts 1:20, Peter's description of the punishment of Judas: "For it is written in the Book of Psalms , Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein."
And there was the association of Jews as a whole with infamy, as I have already talked about.
In relation to the tarot, if the Arena Chapel images, and their painter Giotto, have anything to do with it, there is the "despair" image, which connotes Judas, or at least it did, with a rope around his neck, as the antitype of "hope" in the iconography of the virtues.
I hope that is enough to show that at least based on Edgerton, there is ample reason for thinking that the Charles VI card is meant to be of a traitor, not merely a defaulter on debts, and most probably Judas. The only way in which it could be a defaulter would be if it was meant to be a Jew, who by definition was infamous, who was defaulting, fleeing with his money rather than paying his debt. It is possible that the Charles VI was done for the Medici, and that the Medici saw Jewish moneylenders as unfair competition. But such depictions would have been much rarer than those of traitors, if they existed in Florence at all; an association with Judas would have been more readily apparent than one with defaulting Jews; and indeed that is the way the card was subsequently understood, based on the titles it was given.