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The Fool - Page 2 - Tarot History Forum

Re: The Fool

#11
Thanks Robert - it didn't show up in the preview (except as text) so I assumed pngs weren't allowed - the problem might have been spaces I guess.

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Fool

#12
Pen, I'm happy I can help.

I'd like to add a couple of old tarot images that I think, when studies, give less of the "innocent fool" impression, and more of a "tormented outsider". The outcast to be teased and harassed out of town, so to speak.

The Fool from the d'Este Tarot:

Image


and The Fool from the (so called) Charles VI tarot:

Image


Both of these have an element of "exposure", and an element of being teased and tormented.

With that in mind, The Fool from the Jean Noblet seems related, at least to me.

Image
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Fool

#13
I've always found the D'Este Fool card pretty shocking - it raises the question as to whether that sort of carry on actually went on in the palaces of princes, dukes and marquises. I'm reading Isabella D'Este by Julia Cartwright at the moment (2 volumes), having really enjoyed and learned much about the period with Beatrice D'Este, A Study of the Renaissance, by the same author. And having also read a section from a letter in Moakley's work on the Visconti Tarot ( viewtopic.php?f=12&t=458 ) where "instructions were given to paint Duke Giangaleazzo with all his servants "da naturale", and likewise the Duchess Catalina", it seems passing possible.
Pen wrote:The short section below is by Gertrude Moakley from her book The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family. I bought the book - I'm thrilled - it's signed!
For Esther Johnston with many grateful memories Gertrude Moakley.
The text refers to Bembo. I hadn't come across it before so thought I'd post it for those who haven't seen it either - very revealing. It seems to lend weight to the idea that the family (or at least Galeazzo Sforza) would have no scruples about showing a relative or ancestor in a less than flattering light.

The following year Galeazzo Sforza (Francesco Sforza's son) commissioned him to return to Pavia for more work in the halls of his Castello. The walls were to be decorated with scenes showing friends of the Count and their dogs in varous hunting episodes. In the written instructions of Count Sforza we read such directives as:

Item, that Alexio is to be shown being thrown from his horse by a stag, with his legs in the air.

In another scene the same Alexio was to be shown attacking the offending stag with his sword. In addition to the hunting scenes, instructions were given to paint Duke Giangaleazzo with all his servants "da naturale", and likewise the Duchess Catalina. Other ancestral Dukes and Duchesses were also to be shown: Fillippo Maria, Francesco, and Bianca with their councellors. The directions go into great details as to costume and the colours to be used. It is evident that the family (or at least Galeazzo Sforza) was not dependent on its artists for decorative ideas.


Pen
But you know, Robert, although I can read a a slight doubt in the eyes of the D'Este Fool, neither fool seems to me remotely tormented...

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Fool

#14
Pen wrote: But you know, Robert, although I can read a a slight doubt in the eyes of the D'Este Fool, neither fool seems to me remotely tormented...
Maybe it is similar to how the Hanged Man doesn't tend to look too unhappy either?

If you look at the Charles VI, the kids are gathering stones to stone him, one has already aimed and is about to hit him, another holds or trips him. In the Noblet, the dog is the tormentor, about to attack his exposed genitals. The d'Este is difficult to understand. Any idea what is happening?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Fool

#15
Pen wrote: But you know, Robert, although I can read a a slight doubt in the eyes of the D'Este Fool, neither fool seems to me remotely tormented...
Pen
I have to agree, I do not see the degree of 'tormented outsider' that Robert seems to : there seems to be inordinate focus on the fool's genitals (more or less the central point of each card).
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Fool

#16
The wandering jew:

Image


from 14th century Italian Haggadah
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Fool

#17
robert wrote:
Pen wrote: But you know, Robert, although I can read a a slight doubt in the eyes of the D'Este Fool, neither fool seems to me remotely tormented...
Maybe it is similar to how the Hanged Man doesn't tend to look too unhappy either?

If you look at the Charles VI, the kids are gathering stones to stone him, one has already aimed and is about to hit him, another holds or trips him. In the Noblet, the dog is the tormentor, about to attack his exposed genitals. The d'Este is difficult to understand. Any idea what is happening?
The Charles V1 Fool is so huge compared to the kids, and seems to be too interested in playing with the string of - are they bells? to be much bothered by them.

The Noblet Fool has a removed look in his expression, as if what's happening is a common enough occurrance and the best way to deal with it is to pretend it's not happening.

As for the D'Este... I can easily imagine that he's taking part in some sort of tableaux, and that the kids are trying to distract him - he's trying to keep a straight face and thinking perhaps of being immersed in icy water or the cold steel of sharp instruments...

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Fool

#18
robert wrote:
I'd like to add a couple of old tarot images that I think, when studies, give less of the "innocent fool" impression, and more of a "tormented outsider". The outcast to be teased and harassed out of town, so to speak.
I've been thinking about this, and wondering if the different kinds of Fool in the distinctly different historical decks created in different places at different times (but pre-Gebelin) should be thought of individually rather than as a single character with the same attributes. Perhaps a list for the main categories would help - that might just work for the other major cards too - it might just help us to see more clearly (well me, anyway).

1. Il Matto, the Lenten Fool from the PMB, (can we include the Lombardy 1?) with his penitential clothes and seven feathers in his hair. He seems a sad disadvantaged figure - mentally challenged perhaps - one who might well be tormented or driven away. It looks almost as if there's something wrong with his neck - a goitre? Perhaps the club is used for protection from bullying children and dogs.

2. The Court Fools from the D'Este and the Charles V1th, if we can safely assume that this is what these two are. Palace residents kept to entertain and allowed more or less free license - doing and saying things that would have another person thrown in the dungeons.

3. The Tarot de Marseille Fool - le Fou. Surely a travelling entertainer, as shown by his costume, with his worldly goods in the pack on his back. Pretty lowly, chased out of town, harrassed by dogs. I don't think he would be a fool in the mental sense, although others may disagree.

4. The childlike Fool from the Mitelli - the innocent who seems to anticipate the modern versions of the Fool.

There are others, eg Harlequins. Gertrude Moakley says: "In some packs the first of the trumps and the Fool are both shown as Harlequins." She gives no date for these packs.

There's some interesting information re. other fools here (not tarot fools though):

The Fool Plough

and from the Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore - Beliefs, Superstitions & Popular Customs by by W.C.Hazlitt, (Pub. Reeves & Turner, London - 1905) here - scroll down a bit:

Fools - Christmas, Court and Domestic
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: The Fool

#19
Pen wrote:This old etching reminds me so strongly of Tarocco Neoclassico's Il Matto,
Pen
And it reminds me of this woodcut that I just stumbled across:

Jean Charlier Gerson as a Pilgrim by Albrecht Durer
http://allinsongallery.com/durer/index.html

Image


Another book that I have (Astrology, Magic, and Alchemy in Art, published by J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) implies that Mr. Gerson is on a pilgrimage to St. James in Compostela and states that the walking stick is an attribute of St. James.
"Music is nothing but knowing the order of all things" - Hermes Trismegistus

Re: The Fool

#20
I seem to remember that Adam McLean wrote about or coloured this image at one time. The shield is interesting - I must try to find that post (I think in the art section of his website), but there's so much there...

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...
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