Clouds above the Lovers

#1
I think there's something wrong with the Lovers card in the Marseille Tarots.

I've mentioned it before elsewhere, but I think it's worth bringing up again. Let's take a look at the Lovers card from the Jean Noblet Tarot, (Paris, 1650):
Image

Notice the area that contains the cupid? The shape of this area has always bothered me. It seems erratically drawn, why isn't the shape more circular or evenly distributed?

We find a similar design on the Jean Dodal Tarot, (Lyon, early 1700s):
Image

The Dodal strikes me as less odd, but still somewhat strange.

I would have left it at this, but noticed something very interesting one day when examining a set of cards illustrated in Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume II.
Image

The deck that caught my eye was one created by François Heri, a Tarot of Besançon style deck (where the Pope and Popess are replaced with Jupiter and Juno). Like the Jean Dodal Tarot, it was created sometime in the early 1700s. This deck is particularly interesting because it is the only deck I have ever encountered which is similar in proportion to the Jean Noblet Tarot. The deck is shorter and wider in proportion to other Besançon decks just as the Noblet shows the same relationship to other Marseille tarots. The two are obviously related somehow. There are little differences on nearly every card, most of these of a typical Besançon style; (as an example, the Devil is slightly different than in Marseille Tarots, he has hairy legs and his minions are shown in profile).

Because the Heri and the Noblet are so similar, I find it very exciting to compare where they "agree" iconographically, and where they differ. Unfortunately, I've only the enlarged black and white images from the Encyclopedia to use for comparison; but it is the best that I have at this time to work with. It was in such a comparison that I first noticed a striking difference between the Heri and the Noblet on the Lovers. The Heri has clouds about the Lovers.
Image
Image

For me, the Heri depiction makes much more sense.

And that's odd because in almost every way, the Heri is a generally cruder. Why would Heri add the clouds?

Perhaps the answer is that the clouds are just a typical detail that appears in the Besançon decks, but not in the Marseille decks? It's true they do appear on other Besançon decks. Here for example is the Marseille Tarot by Jean Dodal, and the Besançon Tarot by J.B. Benois:
Image
Image

Notice how poorly the wings of the cupid are drawn on the Jean Dodal; and also the way the upper leg is disconnected from the body? Even though the Jean Dodal is the older of the pair, again I feel that the Besançon Tarot makes more "sense". It's interesting as well to note that both the Heri and the Benois Besançon Tarots follow the same "Tarot de Marseille I" style exemplified by Noblet and Dodal. Even the character's feet which are missing from the Dodal are also missing on the Benois.

The "Tarot de Marseille II" style associated with the François Chosson and Nicholas Conver portrays the Lovers card very differently. Here is the François Chosson:
Image

Here the Cupid is reversed and without a blindfold, the feel is entirely different.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm inclined to think that the card "should" have the clouds on it. The depiction in the Besançon Tarots makes more "visual sense" to me than their cousins in the Marseille Tarots.

To be fair, it's very possible that when the Besançon style was first being developed, a cardmaker also felt that the cupid could be improved and redesigned the Marseille card to have the clouds.

I'm not so sure though.

I'm more inclined to think that the Besançon Tarots "retain" a feature that probably existed in early Marseille decks, but was "lost" in the Marseille "bloodline" by the time of the Noblet.

There is another possibility that I have been considering ever since I first noticed this years ago. Is it possible that the Noblet and the Dodal are actually modified Besançon Tarots, adapted to meet the style of the Marseille? Is the "Tarot de Marseille I" really a modified Besancon to take on traits of the "Tarot de Marseille II"? I think it unlikely, but worth mentioning.

What do you think? Are there clouds above the Lovers?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#2
Love how you compare cards!

“Originally, Cherubs and Putti had distinctly different roles, with the former being sacred, and the latter, profane. That is, Cherubs and Seraphs are Angels, occupying the highest angelic orders in Heaven and are thus the closest to God. On the other hand, Putti arise from Greco-Roman classical mythos. They are associated with Eros/Cupid as well as with the Muse, Erato; the muse of lyric and love poetry.”

What's With the Cherubs?
Juan Carlos Martinez

Now as far as I can tell Cupid is the the only Putto that has a blindfold- as Cupid is associated with Venus- profane Love/desire/Lust not sacred- one might think he should have clouds (clouds of Venus)- but on the other hand clouds are supposed to show the unseen God or veiling the sky. Conversely, jagged clouds of light (uneven) are suppose to symbolise Theophany or the appearance of a God to man like Zeus or Prometheus who bought Fire to mankind. So for me I prefer the uneven jagged whatsit around Cupid than a cloud.
~Lorredan~
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#3
Lorredan wrote:Love how you compare cards!
Hi Lorredan, and I love how you always ask me to consider things from perspectives that I would usually miss! So thanks.

On other cards that have activity in sky... Judgement, the Aces, there are certainly clouds. As you point out, they seem to indicate a heavenly appearance.

On the other hand, we do have an example with the so-called Charles VI Tarot of cupid(s) on clouds:

Image


So maybe it's not unusal to have them associated with Cupid as well?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#4
There are many ways to picture the same something.

I think the clouds are a nice additional element.

I know I should have finished painting the woodwork by now, but Spring is here, and with all this rain, the paint is not drying properly....Next it will be Summer, and the clouds will clear....I think I'll erect a canopy to keep off the sun...
I am not a cannibal.

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#6
Thankyou for that - I could not recall which image it was that I was thinking of with regards to this, and you have presented it above with the first of the Judgement of Paris.

Whilst I question what was likely on the earliest of the tarot images, and whether the parting of the clouds or the parting of the heavens is a detail that perhaps has iconographic equivalence for the period, I tend to agree that the clouds appear to make more 'sense'... and yet I'm still unsure if the difference is as much of a 'loss' of image as something that was seen as basically equivalent.

Perhaps unlike the detail-loss we find in quite a few cards (such as on horses or clothing), it seems to me to be more a distinction in two possible types of imagery representing a similar concept, rather than a 'loss' as such - though I'm willing to seriously reconsider this as possibilities are presented.
Image
&
Image
association.tarotstudies.org

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#7
I like what jmd said about 'equivalent'- that makes sense!
I was reminded that on the edifici/ floats on Saint John the Baptist feast days- the contraptions were often very tall and little dressed putti (well undressed really lol) from the population were placed up high and these little cherubs, with their bows and arrows, snuggled up in heaps of teased wool or cotton to look like clouds. In Dale Kent's book on Cosimo De' Medici and the Florentine Renaissance he quotes where these floats sometimes toppled over or caught fire (which was taken as an omen of disaster) and the little darlings and their clouds came to earth; this happened on one occasion before the plague hit Florence and so the death of these wee ones was that omen of the coming plague- like in the Bible with the Passover.
So I guess with those wonderful images- I guess it is clouds. Is it my imagination or does the mosaic show Cupid blindfolded?
~Lorredan~
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#8
Hello all,
To respond to all and more specifficly to Robert ;) :

Hypothèse of Clouds added to exprim same meaning in place other drawings, could be ok if... there is no hidden structure in Tarot decks.

Some are searching in this direction.

We all have to wait and see and I am like you on this point: Unpatient of course.

Sorry to be unable to tell more at this stage.

Yves 8-)
Personne n'est au dessus de l'obligation de dire la vérité.
Nobody is above obligation to tell truth.

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#9
Yves Le Marseillais wrote:Hello all,
To respond to all and more specifficly to Robert ;) :

Hypothèse of Clouds added to exprim same meaning in place other drawings, could be ok if... there is no hidden structure in Tarot decks.

Some are searching in this direction.

We all have to wait and see and I am like you on this point: Unpatient of course.

Sorry to be unable to tell more at this stage.

Yves 8-)
Hee hee. Well, there are LOTS of people searching for, or advocating, a hidden structure to the Tarot! I think waiting a while for another hypothesis will probably be fine. :D
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Clouds above the Lovers

#10
Hello all my friends and the new to come yet !
(Hello Monsieur Yves ! )

Well a nice topic as usual Le Pendu...
You want very sharp clouds ?.
Here my old dear friend Conver have them by contrast as one can see them on XX card.
http://www.tarot-history.com/images/Con ... medium.jpg

So I could again by contrast suppose that on VI card there aren t clouds but an allegory of Sun/Love/God/Messenger.
It s very very interesting your Charles VI (Curiously VI,see you ... ) attachment because there are 2 angels pointing toward not to the couple but to the cortège.So contrary with regard to the other decks.
That drives me to a close topic about this card.
Where is pointing the arrow,and why is so (I mean SO ) different between ours familiar decks ?
Is it toward the middle subject or to the middle between him and his left consort ?
I know very well that at our dear other forum I suggested that the 3 figures could be from left to right:The Master,the disciple and the "Earth love temptation" (So lovely of course )
But here I want to be close to Le Pendu very interesting inquiring,so again I only could send more questions than answers because I "feel" that questions have them "Hidden"

Have a nice weekend Friends= Fire - ends (Never end I expect deeply )

And just for the end, don t looks for Love,as VI card show Love Choose Us.The Angel prove it and the middle man don t realise about it ...(see that my friends because that is the KEY )
Again,L Amour choose Us so not contrary (Regrettable on 99 per cent cases I think...)

Eugim
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

cron