I saw something recently that is reminiscent of our discussion of how the table is drawn, in particular the Cary-Sheet, maybe the PMB, especially the de Geblin drawing, and indeterminately the "Marseille" are drawn in "inverse perspective," as SteveM pointed out, starting at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&start=70#p6878
, then viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&start=80#p6898
, with the PMB just above it. Unlike what we are used to, the "vanishing point" is in front of the picture frame instead of behind.
What I saw that was new to me was an illumination of Mercury in a c. 1420 ms., Vat. cod. Palat. 1066 (about which I have started a thread). It is of Mercury killing Argus.
What is of interest here on this "Magician" thread is the way the table is drawn. It is very similar to the way the Cary Sheet is drawn.
So perhaps the artist of the Milanese-style cards was referring back to, or thinking in terms of, or using as a model, the illustration in Palat. 1066. At that time, c. 1420, the method of perspective that we are used to today was very new, in Italy first seen in c. 1413 Florence (although it had been used in the Netherlands before that).
Another thing I ask myself is, what is that table doing there anyway, in Palat. 1066? It's not there at all in other contemporary representations of Mercury and Argus, e.g. the Libellus, c. 1420 (from which both the "Mantegna" and Lazzarelli's poem drew; my source for the drawing is Hans Liebeschutz's book Fulgentius Metaforalis: Ein Beitrag...
, 1926, which includes both the 1066 and the Libellus, which is Vat. cod. Reg. 1290):
It's also not in the "echecs" (http://classes.bnf.fr/echecs/feuille/amour/index.htm
I think the 1066 artist has borrowed the table from the Libellus drawing (or another like it) of Aesclepius (but not in this case that artist's sense of perspective, or lack of it):
In other words, the 1066 artist wants Mercury to be in the category of healer or apothecary, as indeed Magicians were, as we learened in this thread in the discussion of Bosch's "Stone Operation." The 1066 illumination, from which the PMB, Cary Sheet, and probably "Marseille" (although we don't have enough of the table there) has him with his medicine. Or they might be the chemicals of an alchemist. De Rola, in Alchemy: the Secret Art
,where I first saw the illumination, encourages an alchemical interpretation, although he doesn't say anything about the table specifically. He just says that Argus's eyes are what the alchemists saw as the raw material for a stage of the work they called "the peacock's tail," and that the weapons are the "secret fire." (I find it of interest that of all the scenes involving Mercury, the illustrators of the books on the gods should have chosen this one incident. I suspect the alchemical significance may have something to do with it.) But many alchemists were in practice physicians as well (e.g. Maier, Fludd); the main difference between an alchemical, Hermetic physician and an Aesclepian one--at least as the Libellus shows him--was that the alchemical one used chemicals as well as, or instead of, herbs. (Modern medicine, like so much else, is therefore a byproduct of alchemy.)
Anyway, these pictures might be part of the ancestry of the Bateleur; therefore it is worth seeing him from their perspective. They of course suggest a more positive evaluation of the Bateleur than is usually given on these pages. My view is that many if not all the cards have positive and negative interpretations. I have presented an even higher intepretation of the Bateleur on the "Tarot and alchemy" thread that I initiated recently. See viewtopic.php?f=11&t=647#p9689
In the illustration I started off this post, I have not differentiated between the woman at the table and Mercury next to her, who seems to be in charge of the pots. She is actually the healer in this scene, while Mercury goes about the killing (at Jupiter's behest, as Argus was guarding a virgin he had his eye on). In the tarot card, the Bateleur takes her place, while both Mercury and Argus have dropped out of the tarot's version of the scene. She is actually a figure that appears often in the illustrations of Palat. 1066, eiher of one hooded lady or of similar depictions of different ladies. She deserves a post of her own. I have tried to do so at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=647&p=9870#p9870