Re: Decker's new book

#51
Ross,
It is precisely because of the social mechanics of fama that I see the use of the 7 virtues in the Florentine ur-tarot. All of the trecento and quattrocento writers touched on in that undergraduate thesis you came across are discussed in more depth in Fama: The Politics of Talk and Reputation in Medieval Europe. (eds. Smail D, Fenster T). Ithaca: Cornell University Press; 2003. See especially the essay in that book by Thomas Kuehn, "Fama as a legal practice in renaissance Florence"; my emphasis below:
The merchant and moralist Paolo da Certaldo in the fourteenth century opined that one did not want the fama of being a traitor, counterfeiter, murderer, blasphemer, sodomite or usurer. Above all he advised: “It is better for a man to have good fama in this world than to have great wealth; and if you succeed in living in this world rightly, then you gain good fama because he who dies with good fama is ever alive in this world. You gain good fama in this world by using the virtues and by leaving away from you the vices.” (Kuehn, 32)


Also see Philip Hardie, Rumour and Renown: Representations of 'Fama' in Western Literature. Cambridge Classical Studies. 2012. This latter book I think does a better job of illuminating why the Fool, not just the hanged man, would be associated with infamia.

Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#52
But the purpose of the trumps is to win tricks in a card game, not to teach men how to gain a good reputation, or to save their souls. It is not a moral treatise.

One has to try to understand moral conventions of the times, including the significance of fama, in order to understand why the middle section of the trump sequence made sense to them as a group, but it was not meant to teach anything about moral values. Understanding it is just necessary background information for us, since there is a lot about the logic of the choices of subjects and sequence that is not intuitive or automatic for us.

When Ruth Hoskins (or Charles Todd...) chose streets and businesses in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, to illustrate the Monopoly board, her intention was not to teach people about the economy, much less the geography and demographics, of Atlantic City.
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Re: Decker's new book

#53
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:But the purpose of the trumps is to win tricks in a card game, not to teach men how to gain a good reputation, or to save their souls. It is not a moral treatise.
Why waste all of this time on the meaning of the iconography of individual cards if it is all just so much window dressing, with the true meaning being the ordinal sequence for trump taking? And you've raised a similar objection with Hurst's "moral allegory"?

Marziano clearly reveals a card game that could be both ludic and edifying; there is nothing about the tarot proper that would preclude that dual function. Considering the standard tarot iconography is at least as complicated as that of Marziano's deck, the former practically begs for such a dual function...for the hand-painted decks at least. At all events the tarot is a unique combination of images not attested heretofore - that in itself would have piqued the interests of those encountering the deck for the first time.

That the interest in the iconography would wear off over time in the ludic context is a truism that applies to anything encountered repeatedly (any number of adages apply here, e.g.:familiarity breeds contempt). Despite the bizzare iconography of saints, devils, rituals, etc. inside a Catholic church, after attending such a place every sunday even the church-goer gets bored, contemplates none of the church's artistic program and simply daydreams; of course I'm only speaking here for myself as a one-time altar boy and product of parochial schools.

Phaeded




Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#54
Phaeded wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:But the purpose of the trumps is to win tricks in a card game, not to teach men how to gain a good reputation, or to save their souls. It is not a moral treatise.
Why waste all of this time on the meaning of the iconography of individual cards if it is all just so much window dressing, with the true meaning being the ordinal sequence for trump taking?
Because it is originally an iconographic sequence, not a numbered one (the court cards are the same, although of course there are only three or four to remember). The hierarchy was indicated by the pictures, not by numbers.

So we have to figure out what is the core, essential iconographic hierarchy, and put the rest of the iconography aside as inconsequential for the purpose of understanding the designer's intention.

But yes, most of the iconography is just "window dressing", illustrations amplifying the essential subject, making the cards more interesting or beautiful. Hopefully the window dressing doesn't obscure the view, however. One notorious case where the window-dressing has blocked the light is the "Tower".
And you've raised a similar objection with Hurst's "moral allegory"?
I don't think his de remediis interpretation of the middle section of the Tarot de Marseille order is the original designer's intention, if that is what you are referring to. I'm not sure I accept it for the Tarot de Marseille itself, either, but that is another discussion.
Marziano clearly reveals a card game that could be both ludic and edifying; there is nothing about the tarot proper that would preclude that dual function.
I don't disagree, I just wonder how you define "edifying" in this context, how much weight you put on the term. The trump subjects could be quite edifying, if you wanted to take them that way. The game is surely more noble in spirit (and Italian) than those German decks with randy drunks, juicy sausages and fat men pissing.

It is possible that, like Marziano's game, the game of Triumphs was conceived with the idea of keeping the mind on higher things while playing, but, also like Marziano's game, the essential thing is the recreation of playing, and the iconography is ultimately incidental, as long as it is decent.

The trumps' iconographic purpose was not to distract you from play, just to be a decent or honorable thing to play with.
Considering the standard tarot iconography is at least as complicated as that of Marziano's deck, the former practically begs for such a dual function...for the hand-painted decks at least. At all events the tarot is a unique combination of images not attested heretofore - that in itself would have piqued the interests of those encountering the deck for the first time.
I think that all of the images would have been quite familiar to Italians of the 1430s and 1440s. Their grouping would have been natural too. The only work for first-time players would be memorizing the precise hierarchical order of those familiar images. But most of the order is already implied by the groupings.
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Re: Decker's new book

#55
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Phaeded wrote:
Marziano clearly reveals a card game that could be both ludic and edifying; there is nothing about the tarot proper that would preclude that dual function.
I don't disagree, I just wonder how you define "edifying" in this context, how much weight you put on the term. …It is possible that, like Marziano's game, the game of Triumphs was conceived with the idea of keeping the mind on higher things while playing, but, also like Marziano's game, the essential thing is the recreation of playing, and the iconography is ultimately incidental, as long as it is decent.
And I don’t disagree with the thought of “while playing”; even with the caveat that he who commissioned the deck (perhaps with their belli) hoped that would happen, but that likely did not for the tavern crowd. As for how edifying: if tarot were created by a humanist, like Marziano, I think all that would have mattered to him was exactly this very edifying nature of the cards - to himself, his humanist circle and/or (princely) client [and I would throw the Medici into “princely” or at least “prince-esque” by 1440]. The hoped for impact of a mass production of the cards, again, was merely the circulation of one's the coat of arms in association with the encyclopaedic themes of the world (the signore in question embodied the virtues, would punish those who pursued vices, etc.)
Ross wrote:
I think that all of the images would have been quite familiar to Italians of the 1430s and 1440s. Their grouping would have been natural too. The only work for first-time players would be memorizing the precise hierarchical order of those familiar images. But most of the order is already implied by the groupings.
I’d only agree here to the extent that some of the cards are obviously high ranking (Judgement, World, Justice) while others belong at the bottom (the fool, juggler and papess, who in fact was not well known as Faith is previously not shown with a papal-tiara). In between are shades of grey with no obvious order outside of the virtues; e.g., a case can be made that the hanged man belongs down at the bottom along with the fool; the pope should be up with Judgement, etc.

I’ll stop procrastinating and post my literary source and its historical context in the mid-quattrocento by at least the time of my birthday, ye olde feast of the Immaculate Conception, that explains all 21 cards - except for the fool - in a 3X7 structure. Oddly that literary source does not explicitly give a preference for any of the three groups so there is no order other than 1-7 three times (which explains, in my opinion, why in fact there were competing orders). However, would you please elaborate on your last statement quoted above – what are your groupings of the cards?

Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#56
Phaeded wrote:However, would you please elaborate on your last statement quoted above – what are your groupings of the cards?
The presentation is not quite ready, so, like you, I'll wait.

Not trying to be coy, but I know my audience. There's no hurry.

Anybody who has followed the development of my opinions can probably figure it out, especially given a few of the things I've been writing here in the last month or so.
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Re: Decker's new book

#57
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.

Image


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 representing Fraud.

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.

Image

Image


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 (p. 78f).
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 [68], 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.

Re: Decker's new book

#58
Mikeh,
Re. the CVI's hanged man
I date the Florentine CVI to the Pazzi conspiracy, which would make the deck (datable to after 1478) anti-Sixtus IV propaganda to rally Florentine support for Lorenzo in his ensuing war with that pope.

I have several reasons for that theory but #1 would be that the pope and fool both have on a blue and gold robe/cloak, with the fool wearing what looks like a cheap, cloth version of a papal tiara. Furthermore the Fool has four younger men gathering stones dropped by the Fool like so much fool's gold. Who are the four men? The very same relations of Sixtus IV, infamous for his nepotism, who received favors and benefices from the pope (the Fool’s rocks), all of them painted collectively the very year before the assassination attempt (well, successful as far as Lorenzo’s brother was concerned), in a painting known as: ‘Sixtus IV Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library’. The pope, Francesco della Rovere, is faced by the kneeling humanist Bartolomeo Platina (not one of the 4 family members of course); cardinal Pietro Riario (son of Sixtus IV’s sister, Bianca), in the middle, and cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, behind him, and his nephews Girolamo Riario and Giovanni della Rovere on the left. Link to image of this painting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meloz ... AC_001.jpg
Also note that the Pope card proper is flanked by two cardinals - and two of his four relationsin the "Platina" painting are cardinals.

All of the theological virtues were associated with the popes – John XXII famously buried with statues of these virtues on his tomb in the Florentine baptistery, but Lorenzo’s father Piero had also adapted those virtues as his own via an imprese that featured them as three ostrich feathers, each in the color of the virtues. These were in fact painted on the reverse of Lorenzo’s birth tray which he displayed in his private chamber until the day he died:
Image

So why does the CVI hanged man have a red ostrich feather attached to him? Red is Charity’s color - charity being a special prerogative of the popes in handing out benefices and, again, is one of the theological virtues associated with the popes (in fact Sixtus IV would have his tomb covered with the virtues, like popes before and after him). What do the hanged man’s 2 bags of stolen money reference in an “uncharitable” vein? Immediately after the failed assassination of Lorenzo, the Pope excommunicated Lorenzo and placed Florence under interdict, guilty of having killed Cardinal Salviati and the other conspirators, and then sequestered the Medici assets in Rome, including the branch of the bank. Sixtus IV then instructed his nephews to occupy the territories between Imola and Faenza under the jurisdiction of the Medici Signoria.

The red ostrich feather of Charity, ironically attached to the hanged man, only makes sense if the party being ridiculed was normally associated with Charity: the pope – specifically Sixtus IV.

Phaeded

Re: Decker's new book

#59
Phaeded wrote: All of the theological virtues were associated with the popes – John XXII famously buried with statues of these virtues on his tomb in the Florentine baptistery, but Lorenzo’s father Piero had also adapted those virtues as his own via an imprese that featured them as three ostrich feathers, each in the color of the virtues. These were in fact painted on the reverse of Lorenzo’s birth tray which he displayed in his private chamber until the day he died:

Image


So why does the CVI hanged man have a red ostrich feather attached to him? Red is Charity’s color - charity being a special prerogative of the popes in handing out benefices and, again, is one of the theological virtues associated with the popes (in fact Sixtus IV would have his tomb covered with the virtues, like popes before and after him). What do the hanged man’s 2 bags of stolen money reference in an “uncharitable” vein? Immediately after the failed assassination of Lorenzo, the Pope excommunicated Lorenzo and placed Florence under interdict, guilty of having killed Cardinal Salviati and the other conspirators, and then sequestered the Medici assets in Rome, including the branch of the bank. Sixtus IV then instructed his nephews to occupy the territories between Imola and Faenza under the jurisdiction of the Medici Signoria.

The red ostrich feather of Charity, ironically attached to the hanged man, only makes sense if the party being ridiculed was normally associated with Charity: the pope – specifically Sixtus IV.
I'm not convinced, but here are some of the results of the research I did today, with an introduction -

The World Wide Web is an astounding invention for researchers in the humanities (understatement of the decade?). I am glad that I was born and trained in research methods before the Web and powerful research tools like Google not least because I know "what it was like before" and retain the ability to be impressed many times a day by its sheer reach and power. What would have taken even the most fortunately placed and resourceful scholars months or even years to find out (if at all sometimes), we can do in a few hours at most. And this is just for basic bibliographic research, reading, and viewing, not mentioning the ease with which communication among scholars has changed the speed of research, and of publication. Of course the downside is dilution of quality, but good training takes care of that pitfall. The increase in information is enormous, but the old methods of critical thinking are the same, more needed than ever - a brain is still just a brain, and it works to analyze and synthesize information - to "digest" information, to assimilate it - at the same rate as before.

Practical examples of the need for both critical thinking and research skills, and opportunities to test them and prove their worth, however "old school", come up daily here and elsewhere. For instance, your remark - upon which you extrapolated an extravagant theory - that the three feathers in the ring on Lorenzo's desco da parto symbolize the three Theological Virtues, as shown by their three colors, grabbed my attention. How do you know that? Who is your authority, what is your ultimate source? These are basic questions. Even though I am usually inclined to dismiss your wilder speculations out of hand, I am still interested in finding out answers to this and questions like this, which are at least in the temporal range of my main subject and deal with symbolism, which likely means that I'll learn something, gain some more background and resources along the way. It is a "teachable moment" then. I have not been disappointed.

To begin answering the question "What is the basis for Phaeded's assertion?", the first thing I did, of course, was to google. A lot of sources mention the colors of the feathers and virtues as if it were a fact, but the first paper I found which gave a source that could get to the bottom of the question "who first said it?", was Jacqueline Marie Musacchio in "The Medici-Tornabuoni Desco da Parto in Context", Metropolitan Museum Journal 33 (1998), pp. 137-151.
http://fr.scribd.com/doc/31988829/JACQU ... pp-137-151
A simple PDF is also available, no doubt temporarily -
http://www.metmuseum.org/pubs/journals/ ... nnered.pdf

See page 140 and endnote 20. She writes -

"The reverse of the Medici-Tornabuoni tray is dominated by Piero de' Medici's prominent personal device, composed of a diamond ring, three feathers, and a scroll inscribed with the motto 'Semper.' The diamond ring with feathers had been used by Cosimo de' Medici, Piero's father and Lorenzo's grandfather, but Piero added several details to make the device his own. He incorporated the colors of the Theological Virtues (red, green and white) into the feathers, and added his motto to the arrangement. The Medici-Tornabuoni tray seems to be the earliest example of this complete device. (20)" (my emphasis)

Her statement implying that 1449 would therefore be the earliest example of the motif, and the fact that the assertion had a note, got my attention, and it proved fruitful, since it led to the primary source.

Early sources describing Medici heraldry, in chronological order -

1. 1459 - Anonymous Terze rime in lode di Cosimo de' Medici e de' figli e dell'honoranza fatta l'anno 1458 [sic] al figlio del duca di Milano et al papa nella loro venuta a Firenze (Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Magliabecchiano VII, 1121), only excerpts of which are published; the manuscript does not appear to be digitized http://www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it/pagina.php?id=85
The published parts do not include any discussion of the symbolism of the device -
http://www.palazzo-medici.it/mediateca/ ... izza&id=13

2. 1468 (1469) Anonymous Ricordo d'una giostra fatta a Firenze a dì 7 febbraio 1468 [1469] sulla piazza di Santa Croce
http://www.palazzo-medici.it/mediateca/ ... izza&id=46

Lorenzo's standard is described (not our device) :

1 Paggio a cavallo vestito d’un gonnellino di velluto bianco e paonazzo, con berretto in capo di detto drappo. Portava in mano 1 stendardo di taffettà bianco e paonazzo cor uno sole nella sommità e sottovi un arco baleno, e nel mezzo di detto stendardo v’era una dama ritta sur un prato vestita di drappo alessandrino ricamato a fiori d’oro e d’ariento, e muovesi d’in sul campo paonazzo un ceppo d’alloro con più rami secchi, e nel mezzo uno ramo verde che si estendeva fino nel campo bianco; e la detta dama coglie il detto alloro e fanne una ghirlanda, seminandone tutto el campo bianco, e pel campo paonazzo è seminato di rami d’alloro secco. 1° Coverta al detto sino in terra di taffettà bianco e paonazzo, con guazzeroni intorno, e frangiata a sua divisa.

3. 1468 (1469) - Lorenzo Pulci, Giostra fatta in Fiorenza, first printed in 1572 (pp. 75-91)
http://books.google.fr/books?id=GptAAAA ... 22&f=false
Does not describe our device, although of course I could have missed something interesting (although I doubt Ames-Lewis did), and anyone is free to look for themselves.

4. 1555 (and following editions) - Paolo Giovio (see below)

5. 1556 - Gabriel Simeon; Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, ms. Ashburnham 1376 (Ames-Lewis Appendix I)

6. 1685 - Alessandro Segni, Raccolta of the Medici imprese (manuscripts; Ames-Lewis, Appendix II)

7. 1979 (Secondary source) Francis Ames-Lewis, "Early Medicean Devices", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XLII (1979), pp. 122-143.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/7 ... 2931313521

Some comments from Ames-Lewis -

"Except for brief suggestions in Pulci's Giostra there is virtually no contemporary evidence on the symbolic significance of fifteenth-century devices."

How do we know they are ostrich feathers? Ames-Lewis : "The earliest reference to the Medici feathers as those of the ostrich known to me is in Cod. Vat. Lat. 5381, on the decorations for a festa in Rome in 1513: 'Tutto è fatto di leoni et anelli con diamanti orante di penne di strutto.'... Emblematic ostrich feathers were used by the Sforza of Pesaro: 'la sua insegna di pene di struzo et pavoni d'oro et altre insegne diverse' (1475)... But St. Gregory, in his Moralia, much read in the fifteenth century, compares ostrich feathers (= Hypocrites) very unfavourably with those of the falcon (= the Faithful); see Moralia xxxi, ch. viii (on Job xxxix, 13)... The Gonzaga inventory of 1407 includes 'Unum banchale nigrum vetus cum pennis strucij rubeis et albis'... Mantua may have been the source for the Medicean usage."

So the identification of the type of feather is even conjectural and controversial, and is first attested in a 16th century source. St. Gregory's identification of the ostrich feather as symbolizing hypocrisy is more to the point, if we want to place symbolic significance on the Charles VI impiccato's feather (not that I want to, just saying...)

But what about about the three feathers in three colours of the Theological Virtues?

"virtually no contemporary evidence...", but maybe, just maybe, Pulci mentions Piero de Cosimo di Medici's three feathers as the three Theological Virtues?

Nope - Ames-Lewis, p. 129, says: "Giovio associated the colours given to the feathers of the full family device with those of the Theological Virtues, implying that the bearer is forever controlled by Faith, Hope and Charity: this may well be an element in the symbolism of Piero's livery colours (31) "

"... may well be", but is not "certainly", or proven by being explained as such by Piero himself nor his contemporaries. It is not implausible (it is not anachronistic), and perhaps not unlike him (I really don't know, but it would seem to be impolite for a secular person to appropriate these virtues, especially all three), but that is a long way from considering it a fact, something that can be assumed, and used to base further speculations on.

His note 31 begins: "Giovio, p. 21: '... tre penne di tre diversi colori, cioè: verde, bianco e rosso, volendo che s'intendesse, che Dio amando fioriva in queste tre virtù; Fides, Spes, Charitas...' Giovio attributes the use of coloured feathers to to Lorenzo di Piero, but there are numerous examples in Piero di Cosimo's usage..."

Proof that Giovio was making up the explanation is implied, then, by the fact that he didn't know about Lorenzo's father's use of the emblem. He says that it was Lorenzo who picked up the use of the emblem and placed three feathers in the ring: "... il magnifico Lorenzo s'haveva usurpato un d'essi con gran galanteria, insertandovi dentro tre penne, di tre diversi colori..."

And what about Paolo Giovio's interpretation? This is first attested in 1555 and in Simeoni's Discours of 1556 (directly invoking Giovio). Ames-Lewis notes this and the two further editions which I give below, in note 2, p. 122, at the beginning of her article (you can read this page, even if not subscribed, at JSTOR). Giovio wrote over a century after Apollonio's cassone, Lorenzo's birth-tray, and perhaps even the painting of the Charles VI Tarot.


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/flor ... 555p43.jpg

Next year a Venetian edition, page 31 -


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/flor ... 556p31.jpg

First time with an illustration, an edition of Lyon, 1559 -


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/flor ... 559p41.jpg

Giovio's book was very popular, and this is why the explanation of the three feathers as the three Theological Virtues has become the common wisdom, even though there is no contemporary basis for it, and he is the only one of the near-contemporary sources to suggest it.

To sum up:

We don't know they are ostrich feathers. But be that as it may, they probably are, on the example of Gonzaga and Sforza of Pesaro, and despite the possibly bad reputation of the ostrich, as opposed to the falcon.
We don't know why Cosimo and Piero and Lorenzo chose them. We don't know their views of the symbolism at all.
We know that Paolo Giovio, a century after the events, is the first to assert that the three feathers were invented by Lorenzo de' Medici, and intended to symbolize the three Theological Virtues.
We know that Giovio cites no authority on this matter, and we know that he was wrong to attribute the invention of the device to Lorenzo, so it does not inspire confidence to speculate that he was relying on "oral tradition" or something as the basis for his interpretation. In other words, he was just making it up. A nice story in any case, and everyone believes it.
Image

Re: Decker's new book

#60
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:We don't know they are ostrich feathers.
Wiki states: "The ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters".

Likely there's a way to recognize them and to differentiate them from others. Perhaps a common and expensive trading object in 15th century? The Prince of Wales, 14th century, already used them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_ ... s_feathers

A dictionary of fashion history states to "feathers":
"from 15th century onwards" and "especially ostrich"
http://books.google.de/books?id=A5InHbF ... ry&f=false

Perhaps some "older source" connected the 7 virtues (cardinal and theological) to specific colors?
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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