Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#91
Phaeded wrote:The "apocryphal" life of Manfreda, written in Ferrara in 1425 in the same year as Bianca’s birth, was a likely Este birthday gift to Filippo on that occasion of his beloved mistress’s childbirth and directed Bianca later in life to that cult (hence the inclusion of Manfreda-Papess as it flatters Bianca’s deeper Visconti connections, somewhat in doubt as a bastard).
Phaeded -there's no life of Manfreda, apocryphal or otherwise (and why the scare quotes "apocryphal" - do you really think Bonfadini's life of Guglielma is probably unjustly so-called, and that it could well be seen as a true and accurate vita, if only scholars weren't such knee-jerk skeptics and spoil-sports?).

The dating of Antonio Bonfadini's Istoria di Santa Gulielma is not known with precision. Newman's "around 1425" is fine for most purposes, but the basis for making this estimate is hardly justification for considering it "likely" that the text was written as an Este commission for Visconti! There exists nothing at all to justify such gratuitous speculation. Giuseppe Ferraro's 1878 edition of Bonfadini's vita,
http://archive.org/details/MN5116ucmf_0
- the one Newman cites, only says that it (along with that of St. Euphrasia) was discovered among some sermons by Bonfadini during the time of Napoleon I (potentially any time between 1796 and 1814). It is undated and unsigned. Even though Bonfadini died in 1428, Ferraro for some reason felt that it was necessary to point out that "the work of Bonfadini was written before 1452", since he refers to the Este rulers as Signore and Marchesana, but that, of course, Borso was made a duke in 1452.

He gives a precise date in one of his sermons, that after the fourth Sunday of Easter, and he refers to the feast day of St. Gregory Nazianzus, which is May 9. Counting four Sundays back, then, leads Ferraro (or he may be paraphrasing Bonfadini here, it is not clear, see page VII) to Easter on April 8, which makes the year of the sermon 1425. For some reason I am also not clear about, Ferraro is categorical that the two vite were written after the sermons, but that it is hard to believe they are the same author, although both are clearly Ferrarese.

Assuming they were written by Bonfadini, who was a Franciscan, it seems safer to assume that the "cult without a vita" (Newman's phrase) of Guglielma of Bohemia in Ferrara was that of the saintly Guglielma, the same public devotion that her orthodox contemporaries showed her, rather than some secret preservation of the clandestine millenarian cult of a handful of people 125 years earlier. It is plausible that the desecration of her memory in Milan had no effect on her saintly status in Ferrara, which had been established already during her life, and after her death in 1281 continued in Milan until 1300. We can't know how far her reputation as a holy woman spread in those 20 years (at least), but, and I agree with Newman here, it seems inescapable to conclude that she did continue to have a cult in Ferrara that picked up an oral legend based on the motif of the Calumniated Wife, and that Bonfadini answered the needs of her devotees by providing a written version.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#92
Ross,
I spoke from faulty memory and out of turn in mentioning a life of Manfreda which is in fact the Istoria di Santa Gulielma . But as Manfreda was St. Gulielma's "papess" (to quote Newman) I'm not sure how a positive treatment of the saint wouldn't reflect positively on her earthly vicar as well and thus of vital interest to the Visconti who cherished her memory (per Newman's thesis).
Ross wrote:
do you really think Bonfadini's life of Guglielma is probably unjustly so-called, and that it could well be seen as a true and accurate vita
The reason I put it in quotes and referred to as apocryphal is because of Newman's note: "After a century of silence, St. Guglielma suddenly reemerges from the shadows around 1425, with a full-length hagiographic vita that bears only the faintest resemblance to her actual story."

Newman points to a fairly sustained interest on the part of the Visconti, down through Bianca; I don't know why the d'Este wouldn't have been aware of that fact concerning their more powerful neighbors with whom they constantly dealt and shared cultural resources, such as Pisanello (and religious orders, inclusive of the Franciscans,in the d'Este domain would have been supported by that ruling family). I suppose we can view the 1425 date for both the Istoria di Santa Gulielma and Bianca's birth date as a coincidence (although births were occasions for such manuscript gift-giving) and the latter's devotion to the saint's main Milanese backer, Manfreda, as also just an interesting tidbit. I will admit I have posited this tentative hypothesis in more concrete terms than I should have.

Regarding the Visconti Hours' Jericho illumination and the PMB World card - any thoughts there?
Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#93
Phaeded wrote,
The knight on the Justice card has the same black armour as King of Swords which has to be Sforza,..."
Armor is generically black on these cards. In assigning Galeazzo Maria to the Justice card, I am going by facial resemblance to alleged portraits of Galeazzo, including the Knight of Batons. (Footnote: It doesn't matter much which it is, for my general point here.) And it is the same for the World and Sun cards: I am going by facial resemblances to alleged portrayals of Galeazzo and Lodovico. And on other cards, to Bianca Maria and possibly Francesco. Yes, it is a reach, because these resemblances might also just be the artists' choices from their model book; but if the Visconti and Sforza put associations to themselves, and occasionally actual portraits, on illuminations and frescoes, it seems like they would do the same with cards. It's just a hypothesis, to be sure; but it is one that you share in a few places.

I'm not sure I understand your point about the Sun card. Are you saying that the putto is Giangaleazzo? I don't think so; but that's the feature I identify with Galeazzo Maria, via the face. Or that the sun is a reference to Giangaleazzo? That could well be, so that Galeazzo is portrayed as an upholder of Giangaleazzo's line.

The quotation about Giangaleazzo's twelve virtues and the woman clothed with the sun could also relate to the woman on the CY Chariot card: her shield is held next to her body, like clothing (which often put a heraldic on the chest), and there is a radiant sun there, in gold. From that perspective she would be the Immaculate Virgin, whom the woman of Revelation was identified with.

I am very glad you posted that beautiful color reproduction of the Jericho page in the Hours. I had wanted to do so, but the book wasn't back on the library shelves yet from when I had checked it in. I think it is very much related to the CY. As Kaplan says, at the bottom is the tent of the Love card. The World card castle in a bubble is related to the castle and mirror in the illumination, as you say. And the fact that the virtues have vices underfoot shows how common this motif was, and that the designer of the theological virtue cards in the CY didn't have to go outside Lombardy, or probably even the household of Bianca Maria, for his inspiration.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#94
mikeh wrote: I'm not sure I understand your point about the Sun card. Are you saying that the putto is Giangaleazzo? I don't think so; but that's the feature I identify with Galeazzo Maria, via the face. Or that the sun is a reference to Giangaleazzo? That could well be, so that Galeazzo is portrayed as an upholder of Giangaleazzo's line.
Putto is just an angel; something to indicate heavenly ascension for the mask it is carrying (also indicated by it looking upwards).

The cruciform radiant (death) mask, a posthumous precedent set by Giangaleazzo, is for Filippo.

The PMB faces all look like generic variations that could have been lifted from Bembos's Lancelot series or the like. Plus since when are the Sforza blonde? Simple idealizations. I think we are reduced to looking at a given figures' attributes and it's card setting to determine whom is indicated (if indeed, anyone at all).

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#95
mikeh wrote: I am very glad you posted that beautiful color reproduction of the Jericho page in the Hours. I had wanted to do so, but the book wasn't back on the library shelves yet from when I had checked it in...
Several illustrations from the Visconti Hours are online in various places. Here for example:
http://shelf3d.com/i/Hours%20of%20Gian% ... 20Visconti
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#96
Phaeded -

Perhaps this is all better in a thread dedicated to the Popess as Manfreda ("Maifreda", "Mayfreda", etc. are alternate spellings, based on variant spellings in the original sources themselves.)
Phaeded wrote:Ross,
I spoke from faulty memory and out of turn in mentioning a life of Manfreda which is in fact the Istoria di Santa Gulielma . But as Manfreda was St. Gulielma's "papess" (to quote Newman) I'm not sure how a positive treatment of the saint wouldn't reflect positively on her earthly vicar as well and thus of vital interest to the Visconti who cherished her memory (per Newman's thesis).
To address the last point first, I have more to say on the subject of Newman's thesis - a lot more - but basically, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Visconti DID "cherish her memory". It is all conjecture that they might have, beginning with the premise, which Newman has, that the Visconti Sforza Popess represents Maifreda da Pirovano, Matteo Visconti's cousin (I'm not sure how they determine the relationship, one Inquisition source only says "cognatio" of Matteo's mother. "Cognatio" is a broad term in Latin, with the basic meaning of "family relative"). In other words, it is a classic circular argument: How do we know that the Popess is Maifreda? Because Bianca Maria cherished her memory. How do we know Bianca Maria cherished her memory? Because the Popess is Maifreda.

Moakley only went so far as to suggest - actually, to insist upon - the identification, but Newman has taken it much further into speculation (as she admits), although she expresses no doubt, either in 1995 or in 2005, that the card represents Maifreda. This is the central premise upon which her interpretation of the fresco at Brunate hangs (and the nun in the fresco is most surely not Maifreda, but rather Maddalena Albricci herself, looking like her tomb effigy, and dressed in her black Augustinian habit; the man behind her must be Pierio Albricci, her cousin, who donated heavily to the convent for her sake (and her cult's sake)), including commissioning the tomb sculpture. I am surprised that Newman doesn't mention him or the startling resemblance of the effigy with the fresco, or the fact that she is in Augustinian habit).

In both of her discussions of this subject, it is clear that Newman doesn't have a good grasp of Tarot history. I don't fault her or most authors in other fields for this, since knowledge of the earliest history and chronology, even where it is well established (and frequently it is not), is both diffused across a variety of sources, many obscure, and, where it is not, like in Dummett's work, it is not easy for a newcomer to sift through it in a reasonable amount of time (say a few hours, or even a few days) and make a summary that is actually accurate, especially when a precise detail is intended to be used as the basis for a speculative argument. In other words, omissions are inevitable, and mistakes are bound to happen even when reliable sources are used.

So, like Moakley (who knew most of what there was to know at the time she wrote, but unfortunately she wrote before The Game of Tarot and the systematization of the whole body of knowledge), Newman considers there to be only two viable candidates for the identity of the Tarot Popess - Pope Joan, or Manfreda da Pirovano. Although Moakley knew of some folkloric "popess" figures, she didn't follow up this line of investigation very far. It doesn't seem that she ever came across the allegorical personification of Mother Church or The Faith ("The Faith", i.e. the Church, not the Theological Virtue Faith, although obviously the former in some ways derives from the latter).

The problem for arguing this in the Tarot is not simply that of explaining the meaning of such a personification in the trump sequence; it is also a chronologically extraordinary claim, since the Visconti Sforza Popess, if she represents The Faith, would be, by about a century, the earliest example of such an iconography. It is always risky, inviting controversy, to claim something extraordinary about a tarot trump. The only other such claim that comes close is the trump Death having the number 13, which appears to be precocious evidence, if not the very invention, of the association of the number 13 with Death. There is simply no evidence of it earlier, outside of Tarot, than the 19th century. In the 16th century Montaigne alludes to 13 as a number of people unlucky to have at the table, but he goes no further than this obvious allusion to the Last Supper and Judas. But there are other "unlucky" cards in the Tarot as well - the Hanged Man and the Devil come to mind - so we should not anachronistically read "13=unlucky=Death" so quickly into Montaigne's sparse witness. Court de Gébelin and the Comte de Mellet seem to be a link with the superstition alluded to by Montaigne, since they both regard Death at 13 as appropriate because it is an "unfortunate" number. But neither author says "13 is the number of Death". Etteilla, alluding to them in 1785 as "false savants", says that they consider 13 to be the "number or sign of Death", which itself is actually the first time such a formulation occurs anywhere. Pietro Bongo's encyclopedic , and sometimes inventive, compilation of numerological meanings in 1584 doesn't even give the "unlucky at table" meaning for 13. He is, however the first to attest to the meaning of 17=Death, which is the earliest I know of for anybody to claim that a certain number symbolizes Death.
http://ludustriumphorum.blogspot.fr/200 ... -card.html

Newman points to a fairly sustained interest on the part of the Visconti, down through Bianca;
I don't think she "points to" it, she actually only posits it, based on some circumstantial facts (what is "it", by the way? - I'll assume it is the secret cult of Guglielma) and some plausible conjectures, the best of which, in my opinion, is the idea that Matteo confiscated the record when he had a chance. Even though the record of the 1300 trial was lost until the early 17th century, that fact that it ended up in Pavia (even if in a grocery) seems strong evidence that somebody had an interest in preserving it, and who better than a concerned family member?

But for Bianca Maria, there is no evidence at all that she even knew about the events of 1300. Her only certain connection is to Maddalena Albricci and the convent of San Andrea in Brunate (as she was to many religious establishments). Albricci's connection to Guglielma, in turn, is only circumstantial, the single direct piece of evidence being the fresco (which Newman would, ironically, have to deny, since she wants it to be Maifreda!) - her vitae say nothing about Guglielma, so the only thing between them, besides the fresco (suggestive as it is), is the fact that Guglielma was a venerated saint in Brunate, and Maddalena settled in Brunate.
Regarding the Visconti Hours' Jericho illumination and the PMB World card - any thoughts there?
Phaeded
So much art has been lost, that I don't like to speculate about direct connections anywhere unless it is absolutely clear and undeniable, or necessary to conjecture for some reason. I'm not sure I've given this enough thought to really say anything yet though.

Why is it important?
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#97
Phaeded wrote
Newman points to a fairly sustained interest on the part of the Visconti, down through Bianca;


Ross Wrote:
I don't think she "points to" it, she actually only posits it, based on some circumstantial facts (what is "it", by the way? - I'll assume it is the secret cult of Guglielma) and some plausible conjectures, the best of which, in my opinion, is the idea that Matteo confiscated the record when he had a chance. Even though the record of the 1300 trial was lost until the early 17th century, that fact that it ended up in Pavia (even if in a grocery) seems strong evidence that somebody had an interest in preserving it, and who better than a concerned family member?
Ross,
Agree on the confiscation of the record as Newman's best conjecture (and the fact that Visconti are named as her followers in their own heresy trials) and also agree with your cautionary stance on this card's interpretation (there is so much data for each card to be gone through it is too easy to throw around assumptions - like I have been rightfully accused of doing - in order to press forward towards a synthetic theory).

But for me the rub is the papal crown: Holding the same attribute as the CY Faith card necessarily invites that identification (or allegory of the Church as you seem to leans towards) but let's return first to Newman on Maifreda as papessa:
* After Guglielma's resurrection and ascension, this utopian church would be led by her "earthly vicar"--none other than Sister Maifreda, the papessa of the age to come.
* Guglielma's devotees spent a large outlay of private funds on altar frontals, liturgical vessels, and elaborate vestments connected with her cult, but the record reveals an interesting disagreement as to the purpose of these goods. Some believed they were meant for her canonization Mass or the translation of her body to Prague, while others thought they were to be kept in readiness for her resurrection from the dead or for the solemn Mass that Sister Maifreda would celebrate as papessa in Santa Maria Maggiore [the duomo in Milan].
* Guglielma herself was not so much a successor to Christ as his exact feminine counterpart: like Christ she was expected to rise from the dead, ascend into heaven, send the Spirit upon her disciples, and found a new church through the agency of the papessa. It followed that the present, corrupt Church had no spiritual authority, nor did its pope, who at the time of the trial was the widely detested Boniface VIII.
So its not just that Maifreda was a "papessa" but that she was a symbol of doing away with the papacy with possibly the Visconti as seeing themselves as the lords of this new age (in a self-righteous light of course). The "age to come" is a reference to the third age of the Holy Ghost per Joachim of Fiore. In this new age the ecclesiastical organization would be replaced and the Order of the Just would rule the Church. This Order of the Just was later identified with the Franciscan order by his follower Gerardo of Borgo San Donnino. That certainly dovetails with the 1425 life of Guglielma being written by a Franciscan but wouldn’t they see their natural allies of this odd religious strain in the Visconti (who were persecuted by the rival Dominicans after all)? The Visconti’s own motto “a bon droyt” might have taken on an additional meaning in light of an “Order of the Just”. In 1450 I don’t think Sforza would have had any interest in pursuing these ideas to their conclusion (although probably still pissed off at the pope for aligning with Naples and taking his fiefs near there in 1442 and later those in the Marche) but he needed the Milanese nobility to accept Bianca as a Visconti, hence the rationale for including the Papessa in his deck…but that only makes sense if the Milanese nobility, at least the cadet branches of the Visconti still there, knew its meaning: Maifreda.

As for the Holy Ghost/Visconti connection: is the radiant dove device not a reference to the Holy Ghost on a basic level? The radiant dove device (and the Holy ghost depicted as a radiant dove but not as the device) becomes even more pronounced in the Visconti Hours portion completed by Bebello for Filippo, (also on his person in the Pisanello medal of c. 1440). The pope was a belligerent combatant with the Visconti in 1440 (and many times before that with excommunication being the occasional result) so it is plausible to see the Visconti as harboring hopes of replacing the pope with something more in their interest. Keeping the memory of Maifreda alive is not necessarily a steadfast belief in all of her and her saint’s teachings but rather the harboring of a hope to replace the papacy. Hell, Eugenius IV was chased out of Rome itself and with the recent schism the papacy was on rocky ground and ripe for such ideas of being overthrown; the tentative position of the pope, now emboldened in 1440 with a victory in the field over Visconti, is belied by Cardinal Trevisan’s obverse inscription on the medal he struck after Anghiari: PATRIARCA ECCLESIAM RESTITUIT.

Ross, ultimately I’m asking you to address this point: There is no way a female pope - and that’s what the PMB’s papal crown states - would have been acceptable to the papacy, and if the allegory of the Church was not common until much later that card would have indeed been deemed heretical. Again, part of the target for the PMB deck was likely not the pope, of course, but for the Visconti element among the Milanese nobility that had to be won over. Finally, note that when the Papess is replaced in later decks they did not do so with the "Church".

In the absence of all other clues (where is the Visconti interest in pope Joan?) the circumstantial evidence surrounding Maifreda has to continue to be entertained. What I have tried to do above is emphasize the motive as to why the Visconti (and Sforza) would have been interested in her.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#98
Ross, ultimately I’m asking you to address this point: There is no way a female pope - and that’s what the PMB’s papal crown states - would have been acceptable to the papacy, and if the allegory of the Church was not common until much later that card would have indeed been deemed heretical.
Phaeded, to your first point, that the papal crown means female pope, that is not true. God is shown with the papal crown (in depictions too numerous to need illustration, which you surely know), and so is Mary, as Queen of Heaven. We can assume on principle that such an iconographic convention already existed by the time of the earliest tarots, since the triple crown means, generically, "highest spiritual authority" or "highest spiritual dignity", however rare actual examples might be outside of Pope Joan illustrations before the VS Tarot. Michael reminded me of this picture the Virgin from 1446 (William Abell, illuminator, in the Founder's Charter of King's College, Oxford) -
http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/archive-cent ... -archives/

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- and another, identified as "Dame Doctryne" in the text, from a manuscript of John Lydgate's Siege of Troy, which the John Rylands University Library (University of Manchester) can only date to "mid-15th century", e.g. -
http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/int ... cript/ms1/
http://archives.li.man.ac.uk/ead/search ... position=0
(nevertheless perfectly contemporary to the VS Tarot for the purpose of historical comparison)


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/pope ... atebig.jpg

These two, and God with the triple crown, are representative enough to show that the use of the papal crown did not have to suggest that the bearer was a pope, or that a woman wearing it was Pope Joan in particular. Rather, the triple crown symbolized the divine honor which the papacy wore (although, historically, the papacy of course invented it). It could also be used in other contexts.

So, the PMB figure's crown doesn not unambiguously "state" that the wearer is a female pope. It is no less likely, perhaps more likely, based on other considerations like the poverty of her dress and her presumedly lower status in the trump hierarchy, that she is the personification of an idea.

To your point about the cards being acceptable to the papacy or not, this is completely irrelevant (and rather silly). Those who commissioned and played these cards did not submit their decisions to the Pope for approval (I am not aware of any of these people ever asking the Pope of the time for his approval for private artistic commissions). The presence of a Pope among the cards was itself an affront to some church authorities later. The Popess is never mentioned by any church authority at any time as an offensive card. The author of the Steele Sermon cannot be considered a church authority, and in any case was as incensed by the Pope card as the Popess he saw.

To the point about a Popess being heretical, in fact it was universally believed that Pope Joan existed and that belief was not considered heretical. She was portrayed in many manuscripts of Boccaccio's version of the story wearing the papal crown. It was not in any way heretical to believe in Pope Joan or to portray her with the papal crown. Even the Steele Sermon author doesn't object to her on the basis of heresy, but rather sacrilege. So I don't know what you are basing this idea on.

And, as you can see illustrated above, in addition to all the contemporary Pope Joan representations, other kinds of women can wear the papal crown without it being heretical or the wearer being considered an actual pope.
Again, part of the target for the PMB deck was likely not the pope, of course, but for the Visconti element among the Milanese nobility that had to be won over. Finally, note that when the Papess is replaced in later decks they did not do so with the "Church".
I think you are letting your imagination get away with you again. The only certain audience of the original VS cards was the VS family, and we can assume it was in fairly intimate settings. They didn't need to be convinced of anything, propagandistically. They liked to be surrounded by reminders of their greatness, that's all. It is little different than getting monogrammed handkerchiefs and bath towels, but of course on a much grander scale. In our age of mass consumption, we forget that not so long ago, the wealthy had everything custom made.

To the point of the Popess not being replaced by some kind of representation of the Church, this is beside the point (of what she originally symbolized). In those decks, the Pope too was substituted. Juno is just as noble as Jupiter, and the Spanish Captain is just as ridiculous as Bacchus. The change in Bologna in 1725 was an objection to all of the Papi - Emperors and Popes - none of the figures is named specifically. I can't recall, offhand, any decks where the Popess is changed to some other figure, while the Pope remains.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#99
Ross,
The woman with papal crown upon a nun’s habit holds a crozier, a symbol of pastoral office, just as the pope in the same PMB deck does , so let’s dispense with the irrelevant uses of the triple crown worn by Mary, God and “Dame Doctryne.”

The primary context of the PMB papess will always be the predecessor CY deck and the PMB itself. In the CY deck Death cuts down the pope and his immediate circle. Yes, there are numerous parallels to this memento mori theme elsewhere as well, but the context is Filippo had just been beaten by the papal army allied with the Florentines at Anghiari. The PMB deck shows that a generic version of death (Sforza’s emphasis was pro-Visconti, not anti-Papal) could have just as easily been used, therefore there are reasonable grounds for seeing an anti-papal bias in the CY deck.
Ross wrote:
[T]he triple crown symbolized the divine honor which the papacy wore (although, historically, the papacy of course invented it). It could also be used in other contexts. So, the PMB figure's crown doesn not unambiguously "state" that the wearer is a female pope. It is no less likely, perhaps more likely, based on other considerations like the poverty of her dress and her presumedly lower status in the trump hierarchy, that she is the personification of an idea.
And the most historically relevant idea I’ve seen is that the Holy Ghost was a key stemma for the Visconti, displayed on the CY triumphal card par excellence - on the shield held out by the Chariot (and used extensively elsewhere throughout the deck) - and that the Visconti were clearly at odds with the papacy (Eugene IV was a Venetian, living in Florence no less!). The poverty of dress on the PMB Papess accords with Manfreda's Umiliate order.

One can revise one's opinion with new discoveries, but I feel you are playing devil's advocate with me as you have yourself stated almost all of this before: http://www.trionfi.com/0/i/r/02.html
Gertrude Moakley, writing in 1966, made the novel suggestion that the card may represent Manfreda da Pirovano, a nun who was the spiritual leader of a small group who believed in the divinity of Saint Guglielma, a nun of the same convent who had died in 1282. The group believed that Guglielma was an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, and would return. Their hierarchy was based on that of the Roman Church, except that they ordained women to the priesthood, and they had elected Manfreda Papessa. When the sect was discovered, in the process of investigating Guglielma’s miracles in preparation for her canonization, Manfreda and the sect’s other leaders were tried and she was burned at the stake in 1300.
Because she was Matteo Visconti’s cousin, and because some of the most powerful members of the Visconti family were undoubtedly followers of Manfreda, it seems plausible that the family could have preserved the memory of these events, and ended up portraying her as Papessa in the style of deck associated with the Visconti family. Moreover, Guglielma’s cult was apparently very popular in Milan, where she was frequently found portrayed in art (according to Barbara Newman in WomanSpirit, Woman Pope). Moakley also claimed to have identified the particular habit of the figure in the card, as that of the Umiliati order. Indeed the habit of the order, like that of mendicant Franciscans, appears to have been of the simplest fabric - undyed wool (lana non colorata). As the habit of the Umiliati is surely portrayed somewhere, it must be easy to confirm this hypothesis.
Guglielma/Manfreda were just one historical strain ofJoachim of Fiore’s anti-papal Holy Ghost movement; look also at the 13th/14th century Angevins in Italy who saw themselves as enacting Joachim of Fiore Age of the Holy Ghost and sought to replace the pope with a more “angelic pope”; here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=5lS6t7 ... ns&f=false
And here: http://books.google.com/books?id=k3ydMi ... re&f=false
And also in the Getty’s discussion of scenes of the Apocalypse by the Master of the Erbach Panels and the Angevins in the recent Getty publication, Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination.

The point is the papal/imperial rift, given voice to by Dante’s Monarchia, lent itself to the kings and imperial side utilizing the Holy Ghost movement for political means against the papacy (thus the Visconti would not have been unique in that regard – there are comparable examples).
Ross wrote:
The only certain audience of the original VS cards was the VS family, and we can assume it was in fairly intimate settings. They didn't need to be convinced of anything, propagandistically.
Not quite – the coat of arms on the PMB ace of coins and caparison in the court cards is not that of the VS family; the cards can be seen as a propaganda gift (Colleoni, IMO, in the case of the surviving PMB deck – see the Bergamo entry in the Stemmario Trivulziano, and certainly in the derivative decks that show his “three testicle” shield/stemma on the fountain card).

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#100
Phaeded,
Phaeded wrote:Ross,
The woman with papal crown upon a nun’s habit holds a crozier, a symbol of pastoral office, just as the pope in the same PMB deck does , so let’s dispense with the irrelevant uses of the triple crown worn by Mary, God and “Dame Doctryne.”
The crown was the specific proof you used in this instance, and I merely showed that usage of it is compatible with other things besides designating the status of a pope. So those examples are relevant to disproving your assertion that "a female pope" is "what the PMB's papal crown states." Were you familiar with those usages before you made that claim?

Giotto's "Fides" also holds a processional cross (this is preferable to calling it a "crozier/crosier" in my opinion, which in the West, with few exceptions (like John Paul II's crucifix-style crosier), is an elaborate shepherd's crook).

In any case, the iconography of the VS Popess is perfectly compatible with Faith, if one wishes to argue that interpretation. It is an easier argument to make than Manfreda.
The primary context of the PMB papess will always be the predecessor CY deck and the PMB itself. In the CY deck Death cuts down the pope and his immediate circle. Yes, there are numerous parallels to this memento mori theme elsewhere as well, but the context is Filippo had just been beaten by the papal army allied with the Florentines at Anghiari. The PMB deck shows that a generic version of death (Sforza’s emphasis was pro-Visconti, not anti-Papal) could have just as easily been used, therefore there are reasonable grounds for seeing an anti-papal bias in the CY deck.
Whoa... slow down. The CY series of trumps is very fragmentary, and doesn't have a Popess anyway. I assume she was there, because the Empress is. I also assume there was a Pope, and that like the Emperor's companion, therefore the companion card to the Pope should be female. This is only speculation, but given my overall stance that the trump sequence of the original Tarot had the 22 standard trumps (albeit the Bolognese style four papi rather than the two guys and two gals), the position I'll continue to argue is that the CY had 24 trumps and a Fool.

We don't know the date, so insisting on connecting it with Filippo's feelings about Anghiari, even if you knew them, is piling speculation on speculation. My theory doesn't start from taking a speculative date and spinning a story around it, but from looking at the overall evidence of the game of triumphs, noting that this is an expanded triumph deck, and concluding that the trumps were therefore probably expanded, like the suits. That's as far as I can go with what I think of as common sense.

In comparison to what must have existed, we don't have much evidence of the Game of Triumphs in its earliest years. The luxury decks, custom made as they were, can only show us that the standard subjects existed. It is dangerous to generalize too much from these exceptional cases, especially when interpreting the iconography. Remember that Huck has been fond of pointing out how small a percentage of the total production of playing cards carte da trionfi actually was - 1 per cent is probably a high estimate. Yet the physical evidence for the game, in the form of surviving cards, is massive compared to regular cards in Italy. There is, perhaps, a single fragmentary Italian deck of regular cards for the entire century.

The reason for this is the luxury production of the tarot cards, the value of which gave them a better chance of survival, and, most importantly to remember, incredibly skews the record of what was actually there. If fragments of only one regular deck out of hundreds of thousands or millions of decks of playing cards survives from quattrocento Italy, what chance does one percent - the popular tarot decks - of that output have of surviving?

So we are lucky to have the luxury decks to show us that a standard set of trump subjects existed, that a 56 card regular pack did in fact exist for a time (as indicated by the description of Bernardino of Siena in the 1420s), and, from documentary evidence, that affordable, retail, triumph cards existed.
Ross wrote:
[T]he triple crown symbolized the divine honor which the papacy wore (although, historically, the papacy of course invented it). It could also be used in other contexts. So, the PMB figure's crown doesn not unambiguously "state" that the wearer is a female pope. It is no less likely, perhaps more likely, based on other considerations like the poverty of her dress and her presumedly lower status in the trump hierarchy, that she is the personification of an idea.
And the most historically relevant idea I’ve seen is that the Holy Ghost was a key stemma for the Visconti, displayed on the CY triumphal card par excellence - on the shield held out by the Chariot (and used extensively elsewhere throughout the deck) - and that the Visconti were clearly at odds with the papacy (Eugene IV was a Venetian, living in Florence no less!).
Again, this is overly imaginative and totally speculative. Visconti was on good political terms with Martin V, and also with Eugene when he needed to be. And why drag the Pope and his nationality into the discussion of a Visconti tarot deck at all? You're reading too much into the commonplace of putting the Visconti emblem on Visconti possessions. The "original meaning" of the emblem is irrelevant, just as much as the biscione. Are we to assume that the biscione in the Ace of Cups means something about Visconti's relationship with Saracens, or something else? No - it was just the family symbol, put, appropriately, on an object commissioned for the family. A decoration.
The poverty of dress on the PMB Papess accords with Manfreda's Umiliate order.


Robert O'Neill showed, in an essay that doesn't seem to be online anymore,
http://www.Tarot.com/about-tarot/librar ... l/manfreda
that the VS Popess' habit is not that of the Umiliati.

What he found is that the VS Popess is wearing a typical Poor Clare's habit, and of course the three knots of the cord are the Franciscan custom symbolizing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

We might ask why the VS artist - let's assume it's Bembo - showed a Franciscan. My hunch is that it is generic, to show that he considered the meaning to be allegorical, and that it was in contrast to the Pope, who is dressed richly, appropriately papally. If he showed the Popess in such rich clothing, people might actually mistake her for Pope Joan (or a "female pope") which was not his intention. She is clearly no rival to the Pope.

I'll have to get the rest of your post later (stayed tuned!)

Ross
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