Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#51
By mjhurst
As an aside, the larger issue here is that context counts and every word or image is at least potentially polysemous. Taking details out of context, and mindlessly or even perversely distorting them is about as productive as crossword puzzles or Sudoku. It's a pastime; some find it amusing; but it hardly qualifies as iconographic "research". As an example, the Hanged Man card can only be meaningfully interpreted in the context of Tarot. In that context, the figure was named the Traitor, which is explained by historical practices of 14th and 15th-century Italy. In that context, the figure appears in a complex allegorical composition which outlines the life of man in a rise-and-fall narrative: the Traitor follows great successes (Love and Chariot) and reversals (Time and Fortune), and precedes Death. In this context, the mysterious Hanged Man is no mystery at all. He symbolizes the most archetypal, feared, and condemned downfall of great men, betrayal.

But to see that requires context.
You are in the wrong thread "Oh Exulted one" Couching negativity and put downs in barely disguised asperity, has the ordour of a failed teacher. Tell me what you think in the the thread, for the post you are criticising me for.
'Your way or no way" is not Dale Carnegie.
Tarot is a pastime I have been told.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#52
Lorredan,
Lorredan wrote:By mjhurst
As an aside, the larger issue here is that context counts and every word or image is at least potentially polysemous. Taking details out of context, and mindlessly or even perversely distorting them is about as productive as crossword puzzles or Sudoku. It's a pastime; some find it amusing; but it hardly qualifies as iconographic "research". As an example, the Hanged Man card can only be meaningfully interpreted in the context of Tarot. In that context, the figure was named the Traitor, which is explained by historical practices of 14th and 15th-century Italy. In that context, the figure appears in a complex allegorical composition which outlines the life of man in a rise-and-fall narrative: the Traitor follows great successes (Love and Chariot) and reversals (Time and Fortune), and precedes Death. In this context, the mysterious Hanged Man is no mystery at all. He symbolizes the most archetypal, feared, and condemned downfall of great men, betrayal.

But to see that requires context.
You are in the wrong thread "Oh Exulted one" Couching negativity and put downs in barely disguised asperity, has the ordour of a failed teacher. Tell me what you think in the the thread, for the post you are criticising me for.
'Your way or no way" is not Dale Carnegie.
Tarot is a pastime I have been told.
~Lorredan
Michael didn't mention you anywhere in that post. If you read into it some pointed jab at you, then it is your own issue, not his post's. He used the Hanged Man as an example, no doubt since it has recently been discussed here by you and Chèvre, but he could have used many others.

I see no value to your post. You are merely spoiling for a fight, as offensively as you think it is possible to get away with. There is no other content to your post than personal insult.

If you post another one like this, I will put all your posts on pre-moderation. Consider yourself warned.

Ross
Image

Context Counts

#53
P.S. Hi, Ross,

I missed your post. Given that you are cranky about people spoiling for a fight, I apologize for being so quick to accommodate her. Feel free to delete this if you think it gratuitously belligerent.

mjh

Lorredan wrote:Tell me what you think in the the thread, for the post you are criticising me for.
It is my sad duty to inform you: not everything is about you. I was giving an example of the importance of context. The point of my post was that taking things out of context routinely fails as a method, and that aside was an iconographic exemplum gratia. I picked one of the two most misunderstood subjects in the Tarot trumps.

That is the larger context which you missed, thereby inadvertently providing another example.

If you think that I'm too shy to identify and quote someone I disagree with, then you apparently haven't paid attention to anything I've written on Tarot fora in the last... fifteen years. If you want an example of "name and shame" that is also an example of taking things out of context, we can do that. There is little that you and Phaeded write about iconography that does NOT depend on taking things out of context, so the difficult part is selecting from the many examples. Let's see... something connected with this whole "wedding deck" fixation... got it!
Phaeded wrote:I don't rule out a secondary meaning that the bride is in fact chaste, but the gesture is everything - the figure on the chariot in the CY holds the coin out; something Chastity does not do anywhere. It signfies her dowry, IMO, soemthing made more explicit in the "World" card.
Gesture is everything... coin for the dowry on a wedding deck.... Hmmm, maybe not.

The larger context of the trump cycle is the pervasive popularity of Petrarch. Tarot's popularity and illustrated manuscripts of the Trionfi were both developing in the 1440s, but there is no doubt that the outline of the Trionfi was already known in the same circles. Mike has just posted some documentary evidence about earlier manuscripts, but this is confirmation of what already seemed highly probable.

In that context, what would a woman on a triumphal car, triumphing over Love, represent? Chastity.

What if she is holding a shield? If you take the time to look closely at the card, you can see that it's a shield, not a coin. Gesture may be, on occasion, important, but correct identification of attributes is always helpful.
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If you look at some examples of Chastity you can find several instances of precisely that attribute, as protection against Cupid's arrows. So there can be no question that Chastity was an intended meaning.



The salient question is whether it was the primary meaning of the card in Tarot generally or a secondary meaning, a conflation of Petrarchian subjects with Tarot subjects, as we see in the assorted Triumph of Fame conflations. But the coin/dowry figment is just silly, given the larger context.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Context Counts

#54
mjhurst wrote:What if she is holding a shield? (If you take the time to LOOK at the card, you can see that it's a shield, not a coin. Gesture may be, on occasion, important, but correct identification of attributes is always helpful.) If you look at some examples of Chastity you can find several instances of precisely that attribute, as protection against Cupid's arrows. So there can be no question that Chastity was an intended meaning.
So after strongly emphasizing the need for context you look not at the rest of the CY deck but at a Petrarchan illumination of Chastity correctly holding a jousting shield through its arm straps and is drawn by Chastity’s normal unicorns, which are absent in the CY (why not stick horns on the horses if that is Chastity as the primary meaning?). LOOK at again at the CY Chariot and the CY coin suit, where you will find the chariot female not holding her object as a shield but by its edge precisely as the figures in the CY COIN suit hold their coins (the female knight of coins as just one example):
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Phaeded

PS At an attempt at finding common ground (loathesome as you seem to find that) the double meaning of the coin-as-shield (OK, there's my common ground ;-) can be directly related to the purpose of the deck: a dowry, easily monetized (Filippo would have known Cremona = X amount of tax revenues), is being used to purchase protection (the shield aspect of the coin))from his condottiere, Sforza. The ultimate card in this deck, the "world", is also related to jousting: the jousting knight coming to his mistress (also allegorized overhead in the "world" as fama-prudence)...but he is coming because he is receiving something: the coin of the realm in the form of Cremona.

Re: Context Counts

#55
Phaeded wrote:So after strongly emphasizing the need for context you look not at the rest of the CY deck.... LOOK at again at the CY Chariot and the CY coin suit
A great example of what a coin should look like -- round -- in the context of this particular deck. That is as opposed to a shield, which is commonly oval or ovoid, frequently irregular, with one or more cutouts. Note that the red circle here was drawn with computer-aided perfection, and yet the Cary-Yale coin appears almost as precisely circular. Then look at the shield on the Chariot... it's more like a potato that had big bites taken out of it and was then left to rot. Whatever the shape might be, it is not circular.

mjh
cary-yale-coin.jpg
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We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Context Counts

#56
mjhurst wrote:
Phaeded wrote:So after strongly emphasizing the need for context you look not at the rest of the CY deck.... LOOK at again at the CY Chariot and the CY coin suit
A great example of what a coin should look like -- round -- as opposed to a shield, with one or more cutouts.

The figure I posted has the exact same dove/radiant sun embroidered on her dress that is also embossed on the shield...and the gesture is exactly the same at holding the coin/shield. Even you use the term "cutouts" from the otherwise round outline, indicating the coin was the model for the shield, or rather the coin was appropriated and modified as a shield, hence "coin-shield." EDIT: The coin-shield had to fit within the posts of the chariot's canopy, unlike the coin suit cards, hence its irregular shape.

I don't see how you can deny the strong connection between the Chariot and Coin suit in the CY.

Phaeded

Re: Context Counts

#57
Phaeded wrote:Even you use the term "cutouts" from the otherwise round outline,
Uh, yeah...
Phaeded wrote:indicating the coin was the model for the shield, or rather the coin was appropriated and modified as a shield, hence "coin-shield."
That's your inference, which is inane.

What that term actually indicates is that I did not take the time to look up a better term than "cutouts" to describe the cutouts on a shield. After Googling a bit, terms like "bouche shield" and "lance rest" appear on first glance, but the term "cutout" is used even more frequently.

Note that none of the articles I just looked at had anything to do with coins -- the term "cutout" does not imply "coin". The fact that you believe it does is strong evidence of your idee fixe, a form of delusional thinking.
Phaeded wrote:I don't see how you can deny the strong connection between the Chariot and Coin suit in the CY.
Of course, I never did "deny the strong connection" blah-blah-blah. Visconti and Sforza heraldry has been noted on the various Visconti decks, in considerable detail, for over a half century now. This is not news.

Perhaps if you try, you can think of another reason why a radiant dove might seem appropriate for the shield of Virtue, triumphing over Love, or why a device used in the suits of Coins or Cups would also be appropriate for Chastity.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. Among the things I do not "deny" we must include the Decker-Kaplan hypothesis itself. It seems perfectly plausible to me that this one particular deck, the most extravagant ever made, was intended to commemorate that marriage. However, AFAIK that remains a plausible conclusion rather than a probable fact.

P.P.S. Who ever suggested that the shield on the Chariot card had an "otherwise round outline"? It certainly was not me. I used terms like oval and ovoid to describe shields in general, and a rotten potato to describe the shape of the particular shield in question. You really should learn the meaning of that term, "strawman argument", because you seem to use them a lot.
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Context Counts

#58
Michael wrote:
Of course, I never did "deny the strong connection" blah-blah-blah. Visconti and Sforza heraldry has been noted on the various Visconti decks, in considerable detail, for over a half century now. This is not news. Perhaps if you try, you can think of another reason why a radiant dove might seem appropriate for the shield of Virtue, triumphing over Love.
Its not that the coin-shield has any old Visconti emblem its that it has the emblem that only appears on the coin suits.

As Kaplan demonstrated, two of the suits feature Sforza emblems – the swords and batons (fitting for a condottiero) – while the other two suits - cups and coins – feature those of Visconti. That alone signals a “merger” – hence the logical guess that a wedding was the occasion for the cards. So if the context is the CY cards and of the four suits only the coins feature the radiant dove, then there must have been a reason that the Chariot holds this very same symbol.

As for your exclusive focus on chastity: Who concluded the Visconti radiant dove meant “love” and why would “a bon droyt” be scrolled across the dove if “love” were the sentiment being expressed? The dove could just as easily refer to the Holy Ghost (something the Manfreda “Papess” cult was tied to and to which various members of the Visconti family were connected, hence a religious strain connected to their dynasty and “good right” to rule).

Finally, why doesn’t the woman on the chariot wield the shield as such, like your illumination’s Chastity does? Instead she holds it out in front of her, almost as an offering. She is either offering up her chastity to her suitor (making herself defenseless against love), offering the charge of protection to her suitor by way of the shield (Sforza to be Filippo’s captain general), or offering the shield as coin – precisely as the coin royals do – to the owner of the emblems in the paired suit: Sforza (who will in turn be receiving coinage as the protector of the Visconti realm by inheriting Cremona). I believe all three are relevant. The context for contemporary and comparable works of art involving precisely these two families, Sforza and Visconti, are Pisanello’s medals of 1441 that show Sforza receiving the Visconti name, so the coin-shield – as a rather appropriate parallel for Pisanello’s medal – is historically fitting.

Edit: The 1441 Pisanello medal of Filippo does in fact feature that on the Chariot’s shield: “….emboridered on the sitter’s sleeve over his favourite impresa of a dove (Decembrio 1983, p.70 [chap. 30]; Welch 1995, pp 112, 208).” (K. Christiansen, et. al., The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Bellini, 247). What the meaning of the radiant dove is not clear but does strongly suggests the promise of “succession” in this context.
[image]http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6078/6059 ... a44f_z.jpg[/image]

Phaeded

Re: Context Counts

#59
mjhurst wrote: What if she is holding a shield? If you take the time to look closely at the card, you can see that it's a shield, not a coin. Gesture may be, on occasion, important, but correct identification of attributes is always helpful.
Thank you very much for pointing out this detail, Michael! I never realized how Petrarchian this card was.

From the Triumph of Love, when Laura/Chastity appears to Petrarch:

... et io, come chi teme
futuro male e trema anzi la tromba,
sentendo già dov'altri anco nol preme,
avea color d'uom tratto d'una tomba;
quando una giovinetta ebbi dal lato,
pura assai più che candida colomba.


... and I, as one who dreads
A coming ill, and trembles ere he hears
The sound of the trumpet, and feels future wounds,
Was pale as one removed from the tomb,
When by my side appeared a youthful maid,
Purer by far than e'en the whitest dove.


From the Triumph of Chastity:

Passo qui cose glorïose e magne
ch'io vidi e dir non oso: a la mia donna
vengo et a l'altre sue minor compagne.
Ell'avea in dosso, il dì, candida gonna,
lo scudo in man che mal vide Medusa.


I leave untold things glorious and great
That I beheld and dare not tell: I come
Now to my lady and her lesser friends.
She wore, that day, a gown of white, and held
The shield that brought Medusa to her death.

Re: Context Counts

#60
Hi, Marco,

Thanks for the Petrarchian allusions.
Phaeded wrote:Its not that the coin-shield has any old Visconti emblem its that it has the emblem that only appears on the coin suits. As Kaplan demonstrated, two of the suits feature Sforza emblems – the swords and batons (fitting for a condottiero) – while the other two suits - cups and coins – feature those of Visconti. That alone signals a “merger” – hence the logical guess that a wedding was the occasion for the cards. So if the context is the CY cards and of the four suits only the coins feature the radiant dove, then there must have been a reason that the Chariot holds this very same symbol.
Yes, it may have been a wedding deck. But there is no coin, and the dowry invention is entirely gratuitous.

As I asked before, why might Chastity be associated with one of the Visconti (the bride's family) emblems, from one of the feminine suits (Cups or Coins)? Why would Chastity's shield bear a device associated with the bride? The answer is, it's like Petrarch being identified with the Triumph of Love and Laura with the Triumph of Chastity -- it's conventional.
Phaeded wrote:As for your exclusive focus on chastity: Who concluded the Visconti radiant dove meant “love” and why would “a bon droyt” be scrolled across the dove if “love” were the sentiment being expressed? The dove could just as easily refer to the Holy Ghost (something the Manfreda “Papess” cult was tied to and to which various members of the Visconti family were connected, hence a religious strain connected to their dynasty and “good right” to rule).
Ignoring the nonsense part of your comment, a radiant dove would inescapably call to mind the Holy Spirit, which is a reasonable conflation for a Chaste Love composition. Meanings which reinforce and elaborate or extrapolate the main meaning are precisely what an audience of that time and place would see, and what an artist of that provenance would intend.

As for "exclusive" focus, there are two main approaches to iconography seen in places like this forum. One approach looks for necessary and sufficient explanation, while the other embraces everything that fertile, often anachronistic imagination can tack on. Why would I exclude a meaning that is false? I belong to the first school of interpretation, and the coin is not necessary (the shield suffices) nor even adequate (it's not a coin), much less sufficient.
Phaeded wrote:Finally, why doesn’t the woman on the chariot wield the shield as such, like your illumination’s Chastity does? Instead she holds it out in front of her, almost as an offering.
She displays it. Period. She does this the same way a thousand other allegorical figures display their identifying attributes, as of to say, "Look at this!"
Phaeded wrote:She is either offering up her chastity to her suitor (making herself defenseless against love), offering the charge of protection to her suitor by way of the shield (Sforza to be Filippo’s captain general),
So, contrary to the centuries of pervasive sensibilities and the obvious symbolism of this subject triumphing over Love, you think that this is a Slut Card? Instead of A Bon Droyt there should be a banner reading Do Me Now! Hmmm...

Here is a Triumph of Chastity where the shield is simply resting at her knee. It doesn't mean she is giving up, that Cupid wins. He is already defeated, wings clipped and marching as captive. In the same way, the order of the cards in Tarot established -- for those who had forgotten Petrarch or were unfamiliar with the conventions of chivalrous love -- that Virtue triumphs over Vice.



It's not that such stories aren't entertaining. It's that they are unnecessary. There doesn't seem to be a legitimate question to be answered by such inventions. Historically, rather than creatively, our question is how to explain the evidence we find. Your theory was wrong -- it is not a coin of any kind, it is a shield. She is holding out the shield, with the Visconti device emblazoned on it. It identifies her as Chastity and associates her with the bride's family.

The radiant dove is a great emblem.
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As for the other point you made:
Phaeded wrote:The coin-shield had to fit within the posts of the chariot's canopy, unlike the coin suit cards, hence its irregular shape.
So it couldn't be larger or round? Hmmm... the artistic technique you are confused by is termed occlusion, and it was shown repeatedly in this deck... in fact, on this very card. Here's what a large round coin would have looked like, one that did not fit within the posts of the Chariot's chariot. (Pardon the extra fingers growing out of her wrist -- I had to do this quickly.)
chariot-coin-construct.jpg
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Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

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