The Judgement

#1
A thread to discuss the iconography of The Judgement
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Judgement

#2
From A Catechisme by Laurence Vaux, 1583

Very similar to the images on many Tarot de Marseille, except for the presence of Christ and an extra angel, which gives extra weight to the argument that it would have been blasphemous to depict Christ on cards.

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

Re: The Judgement

#3
Pen wrote:From A Catechisme by Laurence Vaux, 1583

Very similar to the images on many Tarot de Marseille, except for the presence of Christ and an extra angel, which gives extra weight to the argument that it would have been blasphemous to depict Christ on cards.
Hello Pen.
This engraving is also very similar to the Visconti-Sforza Judgement, except that in the card God the Father appears instead of Christ.
Why do you think that this image gives "extra weight to the argument that it would have been blasphemous to depict Christ on cards"?

Marco

Re: The Judgement

#4
marco wrote: Why do you think that this image gives "extra weight to the argument that it would have been blasphemous to depict Christ on cards"?
Hi Marco, I agree with Pen because these images are contemporary and represent the same as tarot cards and none of them shows the image of Christ.

Cheers!

Re: The Judgement

#5
lamort wrote: Hi Marco, I agree with Pen because these images are contemporary and represent the same as tarot cards and none of them shows the image of Christ.
Hello Lamort,
the Visconti-Sforza Judgement is an example of a Judgement card that is very similar to the image posted by Pen. I think that, if representing God the Father was not blasphemous, also the representation of Jesus would hot have been blasphemous. Don't you think so?

In Tarot de Marseille, something different happens. We recently discussed in another thread the possible identification of the figure in the World card with Christ.

In fresco cycles, different scenes were often represented in different spaces. For instance, in the Chapel of San Brizio (1499-1502) in Orvieto, Luca Signorelli represents the resurrection in a fresco that is independend from the fresco were Jesus Christ is represented (above the central window).
Something similar might be happening in Tarot de Marseille: Judgement represents the resurrection and the World represents the Judge. The scene we see in Pen's engraving was split on two different cards.


The author of the Sermones de Ludo (1470 ca) writes that in Tarot "not only are God, the angels, planets, and the cardinal virtues disparagingly placed and named, but the true lights of the world, that is the Pope and Emperor, are also forced, which is absurd".

He lists the last three cards as:
the Author of the Steele Sermon wrote: 19 Lo angelo: The angel
20 La iusticia: Justice
21 El mondo (cioe Dio Padre): The world (i.e. God the Father)
He was interpreting the World as God the Father. It seems that he was looking at a World trump in which God was represented. In an apocalyptic scene, the Judge can indeed be represented both by God the Father and Jesus. The presence of Justice as the 20th trump could help in underlining the role of the figure of the World as the Judge.

It seems to me that the author of the Sermon, while strongly disapproving the game, recognized the religious content of the images. He seems to be more upset by the political blasphemy of representing the Pope and the Emperor than by the presence of God himself :)

I think that the blasphemy of representing Christ or God on a playing card might have been a problem in some time and place. This obviously was not a problem in the XV century Milan, were the Visconti-Sforza deck was produced. But it could really have been the cause for the appearance of a woman instead of the rather clear depiction of Christ in the Vieville. I think this point deserves more investigation. I wish we had more ancient textual sources about Tarot :)

Marco

Re: The Judgement

#6
Marco wrote:
This engraving is also very similar to the Visconti-Sforza Judgement, except that in the card God the Father appears instead of Christ.
Why do you think that this image gives "extra weight to the argument that it would have been blasphemous to depict Christ on cards"?
Hello Marco,

I guess because it's something that's mentioned quite frequently on other threads, although I've never been convinced either way. I was thinking of the Tarot de Marseille when writing the post above rather than the Visconti Sforza, which seems something special and fairly private, and probably not subject to the restrictions that might limit the images on cards made in large numbers for the general population. The woodcut (and others like it) struck me as being so similar to a Tarot de Marseille Judgement card that it could almost be one, yet I've never seen one depicting Christ or God the Father, and that does seem a little strange and possibly significant.
I think that the blasphemy of representing Christ or God on a playing card might have been a problem in some time and place.
Yes, I'm sure it all depends on time and place as to what's depicted on the cards, which makes it pretty much impossible to generalize.

Thanks for the link to the Sermones de Ludo - I must go and read soonish...

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

Re: The Judgement

#7
Thanks for responding Marco, the representation of Christ on the italian cards was feasible perhaps be created for royalty, however the French cards were pagan and made for the people ...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, besides not handle good English, I have no historical knowledge that many of you have.

:-?

Saludos!

Re: The Judgement

#8
It's hard for me to imagine The Judgement in the French cards as pagan, or the Pope for that matter. Both the Italian and the French seem predominantly Christian to me.

PS. Lamort, your English is very good, and easy to understand. Don't worry! :-bd
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Judgement

#9
Without going into the cards to Besançon, and beyond the reigning Christian culture & Christian iconography of the French cards, the tarot was historically persecuted by the Christian church, right?
Not believe that a relationship exists whereby in the early Italian decks refers to Christ and not in the subsequent French cards? That for example The Pope representation not necessarily make a positive reference of this, beyond its italian predecessors.

Re: The Judgement

#10
Hi lamort,
lamort wrote:Without going into the cards to Besançon, and beyond the reigning Christian culture & Christian iconography of the French cards, the tarot was historically persecuted by the Christian church, right?
No, that is a myth. No Church ever persecuted Tarot, or said anything about it in an official way.

Individuals persecuted card games, and other games, especially dice, because of the dangers of gambling and the places where the gambling took place (taverns for instance).

At least one preacher with extreme views (in the Steele Sermon) preached against dice, cards, and triumph cards. He didn't like triumph cards because he believed they mocked the Christian faith by placing Christian images in a card game.

In 1725, in Bologna, the ruler of the city, the papal legate, ordered cardmakers to replace the Christian images (Popes and Emperors, and the Angel (Judgment)) with "Moors" and "A Lady" (thinking of the French style, no doubt). They made the Moors, but kept the Angel, and so it is to this day.

Those are the closest times the Catholic Church had anything to say about Tarot, and it was because of the Christian content, nothing to do with paganism. In fact, in these instances these people (not speaking for the Church as a whole, or the Magisterium) recognized Christian content and wanted it suppressed or removed (and the Franciscan preacher, like many of his contemporaries, would have all games destroyed if he could, and many actually tried).

Protestant writers often thought of regular playing cards as being pagan - but again, they are individuals, and their churches never said anything that I know of about tarot in particular.

The substitution of Jupiter and Juno, and Bacchus and the Spanish Captain, should be likewise taken as responses to the perceived offense of the Pope and Popess - but we have no documents showing where and when this took place. It could be that it was Catholics that made the changes on their own, or even Protestants who just couldn't stand the sight of the Pope (I don't know how plausible that guess is).

I think I have read some recent "official" Catholic writings (but I can't remember where) that condemn divination with Tarot cards, as one of many kinds of divination, all of which are considered sinful in Catholicism. This is only since the 1970s, when tarot divination became a mainstream and worldwide phenomenon.

Ross
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