On another thread, viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1102
, we have been discussing, among other things, Michel de Marolles (1600-1681, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_de_Marolles
), who wrote down the earliest extant rules for the game of tarot, published in Nevers in 1637. For one of his works, Tableaux du temple des muses tirez du cabinet de feu Mr Favereau, et gravez en tailles-douces par les meilleurs maistres de son temps pour représenter les vertus et les vices, sur les plus illustres fables de l'antiquité, avec les descriptions, remarques et annotations
(1655, per Wikipedia), he seems to have commissioned leading engravers to illustrate the various myths and legends he is recounting. One of them is, according to http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Amphion-B ... 05219_.htm
, "Amphion Builds the Walls of Thebes by the Music of His Violin", given indeed to 1655.
We may confirm that "Amphion" is the title of the corresponding chapter of the book by going to a convenient post of the whole book, at http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/marolles1676
, albeit of the 1676 edition. The engraving is at http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit ... 8672f0948d
, while the facing page, p. 339, is entitled "Amphion":http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit ... 78672f0948
Wikpedia says of him (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphion_and_Zethus
Amphion became a great singer and musician after Hermes taught him to play and gave him a golden lyre. Zethus became a hunter and herdsman, with a great interest in cattle breeding. They built the walls around the Cadmea, the citadel of Thebes. While Zethus struggled to carry his stones, Amphion played his lyre and his stones followed after him and gently glided into place.
De Marolles says something similar in the first sentence of his account.
While I suppose the stones in the engraving could be falling into place, the artist seems to have borrowed from Tower cards, in particular the one by Catelin Geoffroy, 1557 (http://cards.old.no/1557-geofroy/a16.png
) and those with flying bricks such as the Charles VI or Rosenwald.
Well, artists are allowed to get their inspiration as they may. The engraving merely suggests an acquaintance with a certain style of tarot. The subject of the Geoffroy is obviously not Amphion, since it is a scene of destruction. It is more likely Nero, who "fiddled while Rome burned", as someone said.
Perhaps other of de Marolles' numerous engravings are reminiscent of tarot cards, I don't know.