I could have put this post in any of several threads, such as the World thread (where much of the discussion took place) or "What's with the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?". However here will do, since it has to do with the Vecchio/Hermit card.
An argument in favor of tarot origin in Florence is that the figure of the old man with the hourglass does not appear anywhere before Florence c.1450. See Ross at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12423
Of course, absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence, when the playing field is not level, as it is not in Northern Italy before 1440. Both Milan and Bologna had major destruction, and in fact Ferrara, too, in the sense of its "delights", i.e. palaces for leisure activities outside the city walls. Florence kept the most intact.)
But perhaps some progress could be made if we looked at predecessor images for the Old Man with the Hourglass. By predecessor, I mean ones similar to the ones we see with hourglasses in the cassone panels and tarot cards, and illuminations after 1450.
The immediate predecessors of the man with the hourglass is the same figure, Time, holding a globe, which Simone Cohen, in the 2000 article that Ross cites (also cited in the present thread by Huck), we see in Florentine cassoni starting in 1442 (online at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... 5-time.jpg
). But what was there before that? Unfortunately there are very few cassoni extant before then, and none with a Triumph of Time (all I know about is one with a Triumph of Fame from c. 1425-1430). And of course there are no extant tarot cards of this figure this early.
Here is what Cohen finds as predecessors: First, medieval cosmic diagrams showing a nude man in the middle as the microcosm. Second, the globe in representations of Apollo or Christ Cosmocrater. and (as armillary sphere) of the geocentric universe). And third, the hourglass in representations of Temperance 100 years earlier, in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. She rejects Panofsky's proposal that images of Saturn
are predecessors. But while not denying these others, I would agree with Panofsky and the applicability of the old Chronos/Cronos equivocation, at least in relation to the tarot card (our main concern, as opposed to illustrations of Petrarch), as also noted e.g. recently by Jim Schulman at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12307
, or me at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12441
Here I want to submit an image from the 14th century, perhaps Bologna, that ended up at some point, probably before the beginning of the 15th century, in Milan. It was bound with the Bartolomeo di Bartoli "Song of the Virtues and Liberal Arts" that some of us examined on another thread (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=862
; the book itself is visible in full online at http://books.google.com/books/about/La_ ... IOAAAAIAAJ
). The style of illumination between the two is quite similar, and Dorez surmises that it was intended as a companion piece to the Virtues and Liberal Arts, adding the seven planets. It may have been left incomplete. Only three sheets remain, all illuminations: one of Saturn
, one of Jupiter, and one of Mars (pp. 137-139 of Dorez). Jupiter sits on a throne holding a globe and scepter, wearing a hat like that of the Charles VI Pope, with the constellations Pisces and Sagittarius behind him. Just enough of Mars is done that we can see it is of a warrior on a horse with a sword and a spear. What I want to talk about here is the drawing of Saturn
The question is, what is he holding, and how similar is the image to the one with the hourglass or globe? Here is a closer look
Of this illumination Dorez says (p. 84):
Prima si vede una splendida pittura a guazzo, che rappresenta su fondo
azzurro, come negli aifreschi di Giotto, il vecchio Saturno sotto la figura di un
mietitore toscano, con gran falce ricurva ed un boccale tra mani, circondato dai
raggi aurei del sole estivo. Ha i piedi ignudi, la camicia è aperta sul petto, e pare
che il contadino celeste ritorni dal lavoro quotidiano. In lettere gotiche di color
bianco si legge a destra : SATURNUS. Dietro di lui sono i due segni che
corrispondono al pianeta, cioè il Capricorno corrente nel cielo e l'Acquario in atto
di rovesciare la sua brocca piena, con un cappello che rassomiglia al petaso di
Mercurio. Anche le stelle intorno al Capricorno e all'Acquario sono messe ad oro.
Before us we see a beautiful painting in gouache, which is on the bottom blue, as in the frescoes of Giotto, old Saturn in the guise of a Tuscan reaper, with a large curved sickle and a jug in his hands, surrounded by golden rays of summer sun. His feet are naked, his shirt is open at the throat, and it seems that the celestial farmer returns from his daily work. In Gothic letters of white on the right we read: SATURNUS. Behind him are two signs that correspond to the planet, that is, Capricorn running in the sky and Aquarius in the act of overturning his pitcher, with a hat that resembles the petasus of Mercury. Also the stars around Capricorn and Aquarius are made with gold.
I do not see "Saturnus", as opposed to "Aquarius". Added later: I do see it now, in the upper right.
In any case, we have a characterization of the object the man is holding. It is a jug, he says. Perhapts it is related to the sign Aquarius, although that figure has his own. Visually it resembles a lantern or small stove and is not far removed from the globe held by the early Florentine cassoni figures.
Dorez is historian enough to look for other similar representations of Saturn
from the same time and region. He finds a few. One is still visible (p. 84)
A Venezia sui capitelli del palazzo ducale si vedono i Pianeti quasi cogli stessi
simboli che si osservano nelle nostre pitture. Saturno è un uomo quinquagenario
con barba corta; siede sul Capricorno (una capra, senza coda di pesce), colla destra
impugna una falce ; a sinistra ha un'urna donde egli stesso versa l'acqua. Presso di
lui si legge la scritta : E[S]T [TIBI] SATVRNE DOMVS EGLO-CERVNTIS ET VRNE, cioè: "
la tua casa, o Saturno, è quella del Capricorno " [Egloceronte] e dell'Acquario...
In Venice, on the capitals of the Ducal Palace are seen the Planets with almost the same symbols that we observe in our paintings. Saturn is a man of fifty years with a short beard; he sits on the Capricorn a goat, without fishtail), with his right hand a scythe, at left he has an urn from which he himself pours water. Near him we read the words: E[S]T [TIBI] SATVRNE DOMVS EGLO-CERVNTIS ET VRNE, that is: your home, or Saturn, is that of Capricorn [Egloceronte] and Aquarius.
In this one the jug, or urn, is clearly related to Aquarius. In that regard the image is different from the one in the manuscript.
Another example is from descriptions of a fresco series in Padua, Dorez says in the Chiesa degli Eremetani, by the 14th century Guariento (mentioned also at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guariento
). The frescoes apparently were decayed beyond recognition by Dorez's day; but there remained an old description, or even two (I am going to give two; I assume they are of the same fresco). One account appeared in Rosini, History of Painting in Italy
. Vol. II, Pisa, 1840, from which Dorez (p. 87) quotes. I think it is by someone named Bossi:
la prima figura che si vede entrando nel coro a diritta, rappresenta, al mio modo d'intendere, il pianeta Saturno. Egli sieste con le gambe incrociate, e, in apparenza d'uomo stanco, senilmente si appoggia ad una zappa. Non mi spiace dì vedere data a questo nume una zappa in luogo della solita falce, poiché con la zappa pare che meglio alludasi alla agricoltura da lui insegnata, essendo che la falce miete l'erba e gli arbusti anche nudi senz'arte, mentre la zappa dispone il terreno ade seminazioni, e, se crediamo al Vico e ad altri, per l'appunto da Satis fecero i Latini il loro Saturno. Ma il Guariento, qual che sì fosse il motivo che il mosse a rappresentare i pianeti in questo Luogo, non accontentossì delle figure di pianeti soli, ma volle anche rappresentare le loro influenze sulla specie umana, e ciò ottenne con due figure accessorie, in mezzo delle quali pose la principal ligura del pianeta. A destra pertanto di Saturno, cui son sacri il Freddo e la Vecchiaia, vedesì infatti una vecchiaccia grinzata, che Fruga nel fuoco con una verga. Questa figura è di bella invenzione, e naturalissima: è inoltre vestita di molti panni foderati di pellicce, il che gia accorda tanto con l'età della donna, quanto il molesto influsso del freddo pianeta. Dall'altra parte vedesi un vecchione, vestito talarmente ed adagiato anch'egli presso un vaso che contiene de' carboni, che il pittore, per dimostrarli accesi, tinse in rosso, sebbene la pittura sia monocromatica. Anche i panni di costui son foderali di pellicce, e pare in tutto degno consorte della vecchia squarquoia che abbiamo descritta. Prima però di lasciare Saturno, è da notarsi ch'ei siede sopra un gran tronco d'albero il che non può essersi fatto senza avvedimento, e forse volle il pittore alludere alla prima origine degli uomini, che per appunto al tempo di Saturno sbucciarono dai tronchi degli alberi, e però duro rotore nati furono detti da Giovenale. E debbono anche notarsi i raggi del pianeta, e le due stelle a raggi verdeggianti, che nella parte superiore mettono in mezzo la principal figura, dentro le quali stelle sono rappresentati in minute figurine due segni dello Zodiaco, cioè l'Acquario e il Capro.
The first picture you see entering the choir to the right, is, to my way of understanding, the planet Saturn. He sits with his legs crossed, and, with the appearance of a weary man, agedly leans on a hoe. I'm not sorry to see a hoe given to this god instead of the usual sickle, because the hoe seems to allude more to the agriculture that he taught, being that the sickle reaps the grass and shrubs bare without art, while the hoe sees to the seeding of the ground, and if we believe Vico and others, precisely from Satis was made by the Latins their Saturn. But Guariento, for whatever reason, to represent the planets in this place, was not satisfied with the figures of planets alone, but also wanted to represent their influences on the human species, and that he obtained with two accessory figures, in the midst of whom poses the principal figure of the planet. At the right, therefore, of Saturn, to whom Cold and Old Age are sacred, we see indeed a grizzly hag, who digs into the fire with a stick. This figure is a great invention, and very natural: dressed in many clothes also lined with fur, which already accords as much with the state of this woman as with the troublesome influence of the cold planet. On the other side is seen an old man, similarly dressed and also carrying a vessel containing some coals; the painter, to demonstrate it, dyed it in red, although the painting is monochromatic. Even the shoes of this man are made of fur, and he seems in every respect a worthy consort of the decrepit old woman we have described. Before leaving Saturn, however, it is also to be noted that he sits on a large tree trunk, which could not have done without foresight, and perhaps the painter wanted to allude to the first origin of mankind, and precisely the time of Saturn of peeling trunks of trees, and therefore duro robore nati as said by Juvenal. The rays of the planet must also be noted, and the two stars in the green rays, which are on either side of the top of the principal figure, in which stars are represented in minute two figures of the zodiac signs, that is, Aquarius and the Goat.
This time we have a portable stove rather than a jug, and fur clothing. It is Saturn
as the coldest planet. In the PMB likewise, the Old Man is dressed in fur. A lantern is not that far removed from a portable stove.
Added Nov. 24, 2013: In an article on these Eremetani frescoes cited by Phaeded on another thread, there was a photo of this fresco of Saturn
, taken before it was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944. Here it is, from p. 132 of "Time, History and the Cosmos: the Dado in the Apse of the Church of the Eremitni, Padua", by Catherine Harding (pp. 127-142 of Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy
, edited by Louise Bourdua and Anne Dunlop, 1988). Harding observes that the seven planetary gods were correlated with seven "ages of man", as well as by the zodiac signs ruled by each god. She concludes:
...and finally, Saturn's realm of decrepitude (decriptas), with a pair of elderly people resting and warming themselves before their tiny braziers (fig. 40).
Dorez (p. 87) also has another description, I think of the same fresco, by a French scholar named Didron. The description is again of three figures:
SATURNO Uomo vecchio ravviluppato e quasi nascosto nella sua veste. Siede su un banco ed è curvato dalla stanchezza, dalla noia, dall'eta. Col l'estremiti di un basione, basione da vecchio, cerca di riaccendere de' carboni che vanno morendo in un misero braciere. È il fine (?) doloroso, o almeno tristissimo, del dramma della vita terrena.
Uomo con barba. Otto raggi dietro di lui. Una sola veste. Braccia e gambe ignude. Siede su una rocca. Fra le mani, in luogo della false classica, ha la zappa, cloè la vanga, con cui si scava la fossa. È l'ultimo pianeta, l'ultima eta, il cui fine è la fine della vita. Non v'è quasi piu niente de usare; non si ha piu che una vesie, ed È gran tempo che tutto finesce.
Una donna vecchia, adagiata su un banco e pressochè morta. Le sta dappresso un braciere pieno di carboni che dinne pochissimo calore. L'uomo può ancora star seduto sul banco, mentre la donna è gia straidista ed agonizza. È da notare che In questi disegni l'uomo sta quasi sempre in piedi, mentre la donna, più debole è sempre seduta.
SATURN. Old man wrapped up and almost hidden in his robe. Sitting on a bench and is curved by fatigue, weariness, from age. With his limbs and a stick the old man tries to rekindle the coals that are dying in a miserable brazier. It is the painful, or at least sad, end(?) of the drama of life on earth.
Man with beard. Eight rays behind him. A single garment. Arms and legs bare. Sits on a rock. In his hands, instead of the classic sickle, has a hoe, i.e. the spade,with which he digs his own grave. It is the last planet, the last age, the end of which is the end of life. There is almost nothing more of use, you do not have more than one piece of clothing, and it is high time that everything end.
An old woman, lying on a bench and almost dead. Close behind is a brazier full of coals that give out very little heat. The man can still sit on the bench, while the woman is already stretched out and agonizes. It is noteworthy that in these drawings the man is almost always standing while the woman, the weaker, is always sitting.
It strikes me that the way the Old Man (Vecchio) holds his hourglass or globe (e.g. in the Charles VI or Catania), it could just as well be a lantern, or, when it is close to his body, as in the PMB, a portable stove. The PMB Vecchio also has his furs, which link him with the cold planet, as also does the stove; a lantern would link him to the darkest planet, the furthest from the sun even in the Ptolemaic universe, and the one associated with the dark metal lead. In these descriptions, the stick is also mentioned in these descriptions, which we see in the tarot Vecchio.
These observations do not show that the image derives from Milan, where the illumination would have been kept after its presumed commissioner, Bruzio Visconti, went into exile. These images, including the frescoes, would have been copied by artists lucky enough to be granted access, the copies taken to their workshops, wherever they might have been. This was the age of model-books. Relations between Milan and Florence were not so bad that Milan--or Padua, to be sure--would not have an occasional Florentine.
Dorez says that this imagery is Augustinian (p. 90) as opposed to Franciscan or Dominican; certainly the church was Augustinian, as Wikipedia also says. A center for the cult of St. Augustine was of course his burial city of Pavia.