The Fool

A secluded place, set aside for the exclusive use of those wishing to study the iconography of tarot cards. Each trump has its own thread, allowing exploration of each card in detail from a variety of sources and possible inspirations.

Re: The Fool

Postby Phaeded on 29 Oct 2016, 01:10

Huck wrote:...you don't see the parallel to the distant battle of Zama and a contemporary Renaissance conflict around 1467 ?

Or do you want to say, that the observed Visconti sun at the picture is actually the star-flame at Caesar's coin?


I never connected the Caesar coin with any coat of arms (it was strictly in terms of a Caesar's divine status and the Fool's gesture of adoration - the Fool being the subject of this thread, no?) and the "Visconti sun" was more properly associated with the House of Sforza at this point.

Considering there were never any captives paraded to Florence at this time, as shown on the cassone (the cage of prisoners), the colocation of Medici and Sforza stemmi should be strictly seen not as a specific event but as a Medici response to Acciaiuoli and Dietisalvi failed attempt to win the Sforza over to their cause versus the Medici, with resulting trials against those two in 1466 (see Margery Ganz, "Perceived Insults and Their Consequences: Acciaiuoli, Neroni, and Medici Relationships in the 1460s" in William J. Connell, Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence, 2002, especially 170-171). The classical scene involving a Caesar or a Scipio was merely a martial context in which to show the Medici and Sforza allied.
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Re: The Fool

Postby Huck on 29 Oct 2016, 09:16

I remember a discussion between Ferrarese court scholars and Florentine scholars, who was the better man, Caesar or Scipio. Around 1435, Guarino and Poggio were active.
http://trionfi.com/poggio-guarino-ferrara
Poggio engaged for Scipio.

The battle of Zama is closely correlated to Scipio, a victorious defensive battle against an invasion. Scipio was also topic to Petrarca and his "Africa" gave reason for him to arrange a personal crowning as poetus laureatus in 1341. Alberti in 1441 arranged an unusual literary contest in Florence, possibly remembering the 100th year after this earlier event (and possibly inspired by the Northern peace between Milan an Venice; October 1441, Sforza marriage). Enea Silvia Piccolomini, close to the emperor, arranged, that he got this title around the same time.

The battle of Molinella was also such defensive action. I think, that the motif "battle of Zama" could associate specific Renaissance memories and also relate to a contemporary event.
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Re: The Fool

Postby Huck on 26 Nov 2016, 12:02

Letter decoration c. 1480-1500, Antonio di Niccolo
Florence


http://www.maggs.com/departments/contin ... sp/221219/



Full image:
http://www.maggs.com/media/2504776/221219.jpg

The webpage identifies it as ...
"The Fool Feasting, historiated initial on a vellum leaf from a Choir Psalter, in Latin [Italy (Florence), c.1480-1500]"

We naturally easily discover a figure near to the Fool-Magician of the Rosenwald Tarot.

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... similar Fool's cap ...

Accompanying text:

Size: 540x390mm, with a large initial 'D' and a full border for Psalm 52 'Dixit insipiens …', the first psalm sung at Matins on Wednesdays, 15 lines, 380x240mm, medieval or early modern foliation '69' in red ink, the verso with an illuminated foliage initial to Psalm 53, some smudging, including head of the Fool, and with some flaking of gold and pigments, in some areas the leaf with a somewhat bobbled texture due to having previously been stuck to its mount.
A fascinating depiction of the Feasting Fool, at table with children teasing him. This leaf was painted by ANTONIO DI NICCOLÒ (1445-1527) whose sculptural treatment of his figures is reminiscent of the work of Andrea del Verrocchio and Antonio del Pollaiuolo. Gaudenz Freuler noted the close relationship with a Gradual in Lucca in the later style of this artist (Bibl. Statale, ms.2676, f.83v; see A. Garzelli, Miniatura Fiorentina, II, fig.631) which also depicts a Fool being teased by children of different ages. The iconography of the Feasting Fool defies easy explanation, although in 13th-century Bibles and Psalters Psalm 52 often shows the fool eating a loaf of bread, so perhaps this is the ultimate inspiration.

Provenance: probably from the collection of John Frederick Lewis (1860-1932) of Philadelphia, by descent to Betty C. Lewis, much of the collection is now at the Free Library, Philadelphia.
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Re: The Fool

Postby Phaeded on 19 Jan 2017, 08:36

Huck wrote:Letter decoration c. 1480-1500, Antonio di Niccolo
Florence


Image

Accompanying text:

...A fascinating depiction of the Feasting Fool, at table with children teasing him.... Gaudenz Freuler noted the close relationship with a Gradual in Lucca in the later style of this artist (Bibl. Statale, ms.2676, f.83v; see A. Garzelli, Miniatura Fiorentina, II, fig.631) which also depicts a Fool being teased by children of different ages. The iconography of the Feasting Fool defies easy explanation


I prefer "God-denying fool" over Feasting Fool, as usually the illuminations of this Psalm 52 show David playing music and adoring God, usually overhead in a mandorla, as the Fool stands idiotically before David. I also wouldn't call the nude infants on either side of the Fool's head as simply 'children', but rather putti/erotes or 'spiritelli' to use the language of the day. They are earthly distractions diverting one from God, similarly as these related 'panisci' (panic terrors) run riot in the sleeping Mars' mind here in this contemporary painting by Botticelli (for a detailed discussion of spiritelli as well as this painting see Charles Dempsey, Inventing the Renaissance Putto, 2001: 127f;')

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On a somewhat related note in regard to putti-as-allegorical-moods/humours, you might recall our discussions regarding the first card of the Sola Busca, the Ace of Coins:
http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=988&p=15998&hilit=Sola+Busca%2C+hercules%2C+Ficino#p15998

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• Left putto: melancholic pose with head on hand
• Central Putto: Atlas/Hercules
• Right putto: arms crossed to indicate inaction (not even reading) = acedia/sloth.

I see the entire deck as heavily influenced by Ficino’s brand of Neoplatonism (via the conduit of Benardo Bembo and other Venetians with whom he frequently corresponded), and of course Ficino was obsessed with Saturn as the humanist/intellectual type par excellence and its associated maladies. The ascent of the mind/soul towards celestial understanding and harmony was beset by the vices germane to scholarship – withdrawl from the world into inactivity or melancholic depression. The Atlas-Hercules putto embraces the challenge of understanding the world while staring at the astral fatalism symbolized by the downward radiating star bearing down on the melancholic putto (iterated in the highest trump as well, the trump traditionally called the “World” but here features the gloomy, Saturnine “Nabuchodenasor”, so this melancholic theme is in the first and last card of the deck)

And of course Neoplatonism would not be focused on Hercules as a warrior (hence the empty suit of armour) but as a heroic overcoming of the self towards a cosmological understanding. In conjunction with his allegorical interpretation of Hercules’ “two choices,” Palmieri [ Libro della vita civile, where Hercules at the crossroads is reconstructed as between operational prudence and speculative wisdom]:

“...established the kind of contemplative wisdom over active prudence, Palimieri establshied the kind of critical foothold within civic humanism which would allow Ficino and his followers to find a solitary way, with the help of ‘heroic melancholy,’ out of its finite constraints. (Noel Brann, The Debate Over the Origin of Genius During the Italian Renaissance: The theories of supernatural frenzy and natural melancholy in accord and in conflict on the threshold of the scientific , 2001: 70)


Most importantly, there is no more precise description of the putti on the Ace of Coins than this:

The philosopher, pleaded Ficino, must find a middle way, like Odysseus, between two monsters threatening his sanity. The first monster, the Scylla of phlegmatic sloth, ‘often blunts and suffocates the genius’ [what is happening on the Fool's right], where as the second monster, the Charybdis of melancholy, while displaying certain enervative features in common with cold and moist phlegm, displays others as prone to overstimulating [what is happening to the Fool's left] as oppressing a scholar’s mind. (ibid, 100).

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Re: The Fool

Postby Langustl on 26 Feb 2017, 10:30

Hi, I read this thread and I had a thought I wanna share. In my eyes the animal of the Tarot de Marseille fool must be a cat. In the middle ages the cat got a similar character as the fool, Evel, death and devil, they thought about banning it for 300 years. Could it be that the fool and the cat as a pair should symbolize Adam and Eve Ieaving the paradise? And Eve as the evel woman that ate the apple is going on with eating and stealing the power of Adam by trying to eat his testicals? Both lost in unconsciousness.
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Re: The Fool

Postby Huck on 26 Feb 2017, 13:02

Langustl wrote:Hi, I read this thread and I had a thought I wanna share. In my eyes the animal of the Tarot de Marseille fool must be a cat. In the middle ages the cat got a similar character as the fool, Evel, death and devil, they thought about banning it for 300 years. Could it be that the fool and the cat as a pair should symbolize Adam and Eve Ieaving the paradise? And Eve as the evel woman that ate the apple is going on with eating and stealing the power of Adam by trying to eat his testicals? Both lost in unconsciousness.


The older Fools in Trionfi card context have not always an accompanying animal. The Mantegna Tarocchi has for its figures occasionally animals, the beggar (picture I) has clearly dogs.

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There's some suspicion, that the Mantegna Tarocchi beggar was influenced by the figure Momus, to which Leon Battista Alberti made a work of mockery (Momus), based on the satirical antique writer Lucian. Momus (according Alberti's version, 1447-50) declared the role of the beggar as the best on earth.
The philosopher Diogenes played a role in the early Trionfi motifs (the card of the Sun in the Este Tarot c. 1475). According an older story he was connected to dogs, and perhaps one could bring him together also with the lantern of the hermit (according another Diogenes story).

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The monkey played a role, but in connection to the Bagatello (Magician). The Cary Sheet is dated to c. 1500 and it's seen as a forerunner of the Marseille Tarot. On the Fool fragment we cannot identify any animal.

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However, some researchers detected on the back of the Bagatello the face of monkey.

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There was a long discussion about this point ...

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http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p= ... ost1146156

We've only later pictures of the Marseille Tarot (since 1650) itself. We can't call them "medieval" with such a date.

The Marseille dog - indeed - occasionally looks like a cat.

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The Etteilla Tarot (1788) has a Fool with a sort of tiger.

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In the French revolutionary divination deck of 1790 the Tiger stands alone ...

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viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1083

The number 22 likely points to the role of the Fool in the Tarot decks.

In the Petit Oracle des Dames (1796/97) ...

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... the Fool (above) appears mixed with Bateleur (below) and the card number is 21. The animal of the Fool is a tiger again.

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The cat or Tiger seems to be a French idea. In the Tarot de Paris (c. 1559 according my interpretation) the Fool has no animal. The Bateleur has dog and monkey ... my own suspicion says, that two young Italian noble men in French military service were responsible for this deck. Charles Gonzaga, one of them, came from the Mantova-Gonzaga, which had a lot of relations to Tarocchi production in 16th century.
In this half-Italian deck the cat or Tiger is missing.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=783&p=11183&hilit=petot+oracle+des+dames#p11183

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In the Catelyn Geofroy deck (1557), also French, the Bagatello has no animal ... the Fool is missing.

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http://cards.old.no/1557-geofroy/

In the Minchiate Francesi (c. 1658) the Fool is presented as "Momus" (no animal).
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=782&p=11174&hilit=francesi#p11174

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Adam and Eve appear in the Minchiate decks on the Tower card.

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... this likely goes back to a picture of the Florentine painter Masaccio in a Florentine church

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion ... en_of_Eden

A brother of Masaccio, Lo Scheggia, is suspected to have had influence on the card deck called "Charles IV". It's possible, that Scheggia also influenced the very early Minchiate.
http://trionfi.com/evx-lo-scheggia
... variously discussed here at the Forum.

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Adam and Eve appeared also in Etteilla Tarot ... indirectly, as the theme "seven days of creation" dominates the deck. Card 1 = Chaos and the "Consultant" presents Adam and Eve = card 8 = "Consultante" or "Questionnante" is added to it.



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Re: The Fool

Postby Huck on 29 Mar 2017, 08:54

At viewtopic.php?f=11&t=747&start=100#p19288 ("Fame riddle") we discussed the double appearance of Fame at 2 positions, one at the high position, usually connected to position 20 as Angel and a second time on position 14 somehow overlapping the Temperance meaning with a "Fama sol".

I added in this context the following consideration:

5x14-theory to the 14 cards by the first painter of PMB:

hypothetical older development:

... 5 persons
1 Magician
2 Popess
3 Empress
4 Emperor
5 Pope

... 5 matters of life
6 Love ... Petrarca: 1-Love
7 Chastity ... Petrarca: 2-Chastity
8 Justice ... Petrarca: 4-Fame ... see discussion viewtopic.php?f=11&t=345&start=280#p17682
9 Hermit ... Petrarca; 5-Time
10 Fortune ... destiny

... 4 threatening things
11 Fool
12 Hanging Man
13 Death ... Petrarca: 3-Death
14 Judgment ... Petrarca: 6 Eternity


There would have been the Angel at the number 14 ... in Milan.

Alciato is much later c. 1540. He had Fama at the position 14 ... somehow his row is close to the Milanese row.

In Florence (Minchiate) the Angel became the Nr. 40 and highest trump, higher than world. Somehow this 40 was a 20, leaving the 20 trumps (16-35) aside, which make the Minchiate a Minchiate.
In the usual Tarot row the Angel became also a 20.

In the Dutch and Alsace and Cologne region (possibly also in region of Belgium) the game Klabberjas ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaberjass
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaverjas
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaverjassen
... the trump Jack (called Jappa) has the point value 20, and the trump-9 (called Mie, lowest card in the usual row) has 14 points. Both have the highest point values in the game.
I saw the claim, that this would ve national card game in the Netherlands.

That might be easily a region, in which Belgian types of Tarocchi had a "Fama sol" at the Temperantia card.

I stumbled about this picture these days ...


full image: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/or ... cbbaea.jpg

... said to be from 1570-1599, now somewhere in England, said to be of French origin.

I counted the Fools, somehow 18-19, 2 angels and 1 skull. Somehow 22 figures.
In usual Tarot we have 19 normal trumps, 2 cards are defined as the pair "highest and lowest trump" and one is the Fool.

I have no real idea, what this is about.

http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org ... ect/717541

Apropos 18-19 Fools: one doesn't know, if this part is counted as 1 or 2 Fools ...

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