Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#91
mikeh wrote: So you are exploring the hypothesis that Alfonso gave the cards to Joan/Jeanne, perhaps as part of the festivities of 1423, and then after Jeanne's death the cards went to her mother's family, which would explain how they were in that family's possession in the 18th century. It's a long shot but worthy of consideration. How would Alfonso have commissioned the cards, which still seem Florentine (and I still think the dal Ponte workshop)? Through commercial contacts between Aragon, or Sicily, and Tuscany? Through Ferrara? Through contacts in Florence (which at that time, until his alliance with Visconti, might have been neutral to him.) I do not see how they could be Aragonese cards, but what do I know? Also, I would like a link to something detailing Alfonso's festivities of 1423, which I presume happened before relations soured between him and Jeanne.
You yourself brought up the idea, that Gherardo Starnina ...


Large picture: https://wgue.smugmug.com/Museen/Altenbu ... -Q3K2PqD/A
Other pictures of the artist: https://de.pinterest.com/maricarjimeper ... -starmina/

... brought an influence to Giovanni dal Ponte.
From Spain, where Starnina had lived a long time.
Possibly the style of the cards (with were recognized as similar to the style of Giovanni dal Ponte) was a general Spanish style for some time. Then an unknown Spanish artists might have caused the similarity and we would be independent from the person of Giovanni dal Ponte or Starnina.
Barcelona had a strong role in the early production of playing cards, there are enough documents.

I've have a very vague memory about a statement, according which "cards with golden background" were already known in Spain before the Italian Visconti cards. I don't know, who made this statement nor I can refer to the source. Naturally I can't say, if this was a valuable contribution. I'm even in doubt, if my memory about this statement.

But if this statement would be right ...

We have 3 times very curious prices in the Italian playing card development ...

1418-1425 ... 1500 ducats
1423 ... Gabella (Ferrara) 40 ducats
1423 ... 8 Imperatori cards (Ferrara) ... if these cards were really only 8 cards, these cards would be very expensive

Later Ferrarese prices later by far never reach the dimensions of these cards in this period. Perhaps one can assume, that in this short period a novelty in matters of luxury cards appeared in Italy, which was first "very expensive" and later normalized by competition and technical improvements. "Golden background" might have been a key element in this short-time-development. If Spain had the golden background for cards earlier than Italy ... then the appearance of Alfonso in Italy might have played an important role.

Well, just as a suspicion ...
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#92
Huck wrote,
1423 ... 8 Imperatori cards (Ferrara) ... if these cards were really only 8 cards, these cards would be very expensive
There are 9 Rothschild/Bassono cards. The "VIII Imperatori" can't refer to the number of cards in the deck. More likely, it refers to the number of "Imperatori", that is, Emperors and Empresses, 2 per suit, of which only one has survived, that of Coins. (It is not a King of Coins with imperial attributes, because the King of Coins has survived.)

Franco alluded to such a possibility in his note at http://www.naibi.net/a/501-comtrio-z.pdf, in his table that of type T2: "Mazzi con una serie aggiuntiva di carte superiori collegabili ai quattro semi" [packs with an addded series of superior cards connectable to the four suits] and in the next column, "Come il mazzo di Marziano e forse quello degli otto imperatori" [Like the pack of Marziano and perhaps that of eight emperors].

Then there are normal suit cards in addition, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52 or 56. Or only court cards, for a total of 24. The number cards might not have been of much interest, so either never made or discarded. Less likely at that date, it is a tarocchi. Perhaps you can tell how many cards it is likely to have been from the cost.

Huck wrote,
Possibly the style of the cards (with were recognized as similar to the style of Giovanni dal Ponte) was a general Spanish style for some time. Then an unknown Spanish artists might have caused the similarity and we would be independent from the person of Giovanni dal Ponte or Starnina.
Barcelona had a strong role in the early production of playing cards, there are enough documents.
I find it unlikely that the Rothschild cards were done in Spain. The depictions on the Emperor card are just too close to that of the Charles VI Emperor and even more to the Palermo Empress, which is part of the Catania deck (the posture and the two little figures on the bottom). Also, the "cursive" style (squiggles for beards and broad curving strokes for hair) is not part of what Starnina brought back from Valencia; that and several other features are likely dal Ponte's own. It is not certain, to be sure, but much more likely than that they were produced outside of Florence. The "Moorish" cards, which probably can be traced to Catalonia, are quite crude and we have no examples of or documents about luxury cards there.

Thanks for the links. For the "battle of the oriental knights" their dating of 1400-1405 seems about right, except it is probably 1401-1405, since Starnina didn't get back to Florence until 1401. So one of his earliest post-Valencia works.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#93
mikeh wrote: There are 9 Rothschild/Bassono cards. The "VIII Imperatori" can't refer to the number of cards in the deck. More likely, it refers to the number of "Imperatori", that is, Emperors and Empresses, 2 per suit, of which only one has survived, that of Coins. (It is not a King of Coins with imperial attributes, because the King of Coins has survived.)


I'd stated, that the "VIII Imperatori" cards were expensive, not, that they were the Rosenthal cards. I'd written about a phenomenon of the prices. In the case of the Imperatori cards we have the document ...
1423, on the day 9 October Giovanni Bianchini to have for one pack of cards of VIII Emperors gilded, which was brought from Florence for Milady Marchesana (Parisina d'Este), which Zoesi * (name of the servant) servant of said Lady had; priced 7 florins, new, and for expenses (of the transport) from Florence to Ferrara 6 Bolognese soldi; in all valued
….. L. XIIII.VI. Bolognese

I Giovanni Bianchini wrote it on the above-written day.


7 Florins for "VIII Imperatori" cards ... which makes 7/8 Florin for ONE card ... that is in Florentine money 70 soldi.

If I assume for the Gabella deck (40 ducats, unknown number of cards) 56-80 cards, then in any case the Imperatori cards are even more expensive than the Gabella cards (4x20x40/56 and 4x20x40/80 = 57 and 40 Soldi for ONE single card).
Beside the Michelino deck cards the VIII Imperatori cards are the most expensive cards, that we know of. One would get for 7 Florins 1.56 Malatesta decks from September 1440.

Well, we have the situation, that "VIII Imperatori" cards are not much enough to make a game. But the 8 cards are in the single price for a cards comparable to the Gabella cards (relation 70 to 40/57), possibly around 23% - 75% more expensive.
The most easy explanation would be, that the 8 Imperatori cards would be an addition to the Gabella cards, more expensive than the other cards, cause they were the most noble parts of the (complete) deck: Trionfi cards in the sense, that they were the trumps in the play, but not called Trionfi, but "Imperatori".

The content of the Imperatori cards is naturally not clear.

Sigismondo as the new Roman king had been in Italy in the preparation of the council of Constance. He might have made Italian nobility acquainted with an Imperial way to play with cards at this opportunity, possibly with "8 trumps" ... whatever these cards presented in their motifs. This might have had the effect, that trumps were called "Imperatori cards".
We have the factual result, that 1427 Karnöffel was mentioned as a card play ...

a. later rule information make it plausible, that there were possibly 8 "special cards".
b. later name information make it plausible, that the game Keyserspiel (meaning game of Imperatori) was related to the Karnöffel, possibly identical
c. for the use of the name "Imperatori cards" we have, that we have the name is only documented for the Ferrarese court (and once in Würzburg, Germany)

Well, your suggestion, that there were "4 emperors + 4 empresses" is a fantasy filling, to which I can add others, for instance ...

a. 8 of the 9 hero rulers, who filled the castle of Manta
b. the 7 electors (inclusive the emperor) + pope
c. 7 electors + emperor
d. Emperor + Pope + 2x3 figures for both
e. figures, as they appear in Karnöffel game (
f. figures, as they appear in the Ringmann education game
g. figures, as they appear in the Ingold game
h. actually anything, which could replace the 8 court cards at Unter and Ober position
i. figures comparable to the 7 first trumps of Tarot + the Fool
... and possibly some more.

Actually one should assume, that there were various experiments with this "Imperatori-style" decks.

May this, as it was. But I pointed in my argument to the price phenomenon. Why did it happen between 1418-1425 only? At least, as far we know about the prices.

The highest known Trionfi card prices are in the time of Borso, precisely the 2 decks of 1457, higher than the decks for Leonello or Malatesta. That's' the period, when Borso was able to prepare the most expensive production of a bible. And after the peace of Lodi ...

Well, 1424/25 was a height of economical income for Milan and Venice. The long wars between Venice and Milan hadn't started and Filippo Maria had developed from a very difficult beginning to a successful position. Perhaps that's a major part of the explanation.
The date of the Michelino deck isn't precisely known. The Ferrarese dates are precisely 1423 ... and 1423 is the date of the Alfonso festivity in Naples. Accidental coincidence or just determinated by some logic? If Alfonso made up the fashion of golden background at playing cards in Italy around the time, than it has some logic, that also the court of Ferrara wanted one.
Similar the coincidence of the triumphal operations. Alfonso made an unusual festivity in Naples in May 1423, Filippo Maria followed in June 1425 with a personal Trionfo, possibly (also) related to the birth of a daughter (Bianca Maria).
Alberti writes his theatre play in 1424, in which Trionfi are also topic.

...
I find it unlikely that the Rothschild cards were done in Spain. The depictions on the Emperor card are just too close to that of the Charles VI Emperor and even more to the Palermo Empress, which is part of the Catania deck (the posture and the two little figures on the bottom). Also, the "cursive" style (squiggles for beards and broad curving strokes for hair) is not part of what Starnina brought back from Valencia; that and several other features are likely dal Ponte's own. It is not certain, to be sure, but much more likely than that they were produced outside of Florence. The "Moorish" cards, which probably can be traced to Catalonia, are quite crude and we have no examples of or documents about luxury cards there.

Thanks for the links. For the "battle of the oriental knights" their dating of 1400-1405 seems about right, except it is probably 1401-1405, since Starnina didn't get back to Florence until 1401. So one of his earliest post-Valencia works.
We're not in the situation, that we can judge the quality of Aragon playing card products in this period. Alfonso had a lot of power and a lot of money ... a document of 1421 (once - earlier - discussed) in Southern Italy indicates, that possibly woodcut technology was used for playing cards. Possibly also related to Aragon influence.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#94
Huck wrote
Well, your suggestion, that there were "4 emperors + 4 empresses" is a fantasy filling, to which I can add others, for instance ...

a. 8 of the 9 hero rulers, who filled the castle of Manta
b. the 7 electors (inclusive the emperor) + pope
c. 7 electors + emperor
d. Emperor + Pope + 2x3 figures for both
e. figures, as they appear in Karnöffel game (
f. figures, as they appear in the Ringmann education game
g. figures, as they appear in the Ingold game
h. actually anything, which could replace the 8 court cards at Unter and Ober position
i. figures comparable to the 7 first trumps of Tarot + the Fool
... and possibly some more.
My suggestion has the merit, not shared by your a-i, that the cards are then actually imperatori, inasmuch as the masculine term ("imperatori") governs groups of mixed gender. That seems more reasonable than supposing that they are not imperatori but something else, virtually anything else but imperatori. Another merit is that since the Rothschild Emperor card is closely related to both the CVI Emperor and the Palermo Empress (especially the two small figures at the bottom) in design, it is reasonable to suppose that there was a Catania/Palermo Emperor and a Rothschild Empress, the latter of which thus allows for 2 of my hypothesized "VIII Imperatori". It remains of course logically possible that "VIII Emperatori" and the Rothschild have nothing to do with each other, but for hypotheses to have any explanatory value they should connect disparate phenomena.

What is fantasy is that Catalonian playing cards, about which nothing is known as far as their design, should resemble in style so closely the "cursive" innnovations of dal Ponte, departing from Starnina, and have influenced so particularly the later Florentine tarocchi. That is not to say you should not bother trying to find such cards. But it will take more than "woodcut technology" to displace the Florentine milieu.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#95
mikeh wrote: What is "too early" to be a tarocchi? ...There are considerations that suggests the 1428 marriage for the CY-type, if there was one (the banner on the tent, which could be Savoy, as the alternation of banners suggests among other things the union of two houses....Surely 1430 is not too early in Florence, for an elite stratum of the population, and perhaps not including all 22 of the cards but only 14 or 16.
Mike,
You've got to drop the Savoy argument as the "union of two houses"; the CY clearly does demonstrate a union of two houses in making 2 each of the suits where the stemma of either the Visconti or Sforza. Why no Savoy in the court cards...and why Sforza stemma on half the court cards when he had nothing to do with Filippo's marriage? The first thing Sforza did do after Filippo died is make himself Count of Pavia...arguably what is on the Love tent as Sforza saw the marriage to Bianca as not just a dowry of middling size cities but one of succession to the Duchy (no doubt Filippo 'humored' him in this regard), and the 'crown prince' to the Duchy was Count of Pavia (like Prince of Wales is to the British crown). Filippo himself held this title before becoming duke.

The stylistic argument is inconclusive at best, as there was no clean break with Gothic, which continued to be mixed with the innovations. Even the PMB, c. 1450, is called by Dummett a "masterpiece of mid-fifteenth-century Italian art in the International Gothic style." Sforza - bankrolled by the Medici and hiring the likes of Filarete and even Filelfo - was hardly ignorant of developments in Florence. Gothic was simply still commonplace.

What is not inconclusive are definitive references to trionfi - it first appears in 1440 and then relatively often after that (no need to regurgitate all of those references here). Now you are proposing a lacuna of two decades or so from an early appearance in the early 1420s? Or you seem to even allow for as late as 1430 ("Surely 1430 is not too early in Florence") but Florence was the epicenter of the notary (notai) profession in Italy, where usually every transaction was witnessed and recorded. Yes, the likes of Bologna may not have been as researched as well as Florence, but again, Florence is necessarily going to be better documented because of its notary profession, embodied in a prestigious guild (Arte di Giudici e Notai), often headed by no less of an imposing figure than Leonardo Bruni - as Counselor or Consul (but also as Chancellor of the Republic he would have had an out-sized influence) - during this time period:
* 1 December 1427 Bruni becomes chancellor (elected 27 November 1427)
* May - August 1429, Counselor of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* January – April 1431, Counselor of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* September – December 1431 Consul of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* September – December 1435 Consul of the Arte of the Giudici e Notai
* May - August 1437 Counselor of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* January - April 1438 Consul of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* September - December 1439 Consul of the Arte di Giudici e Notai
* January 1441 Consul of the Arte di Giudici e Notai

My point being the notary profession was extremely well-organized, headed by a virtual cultural hero in Bruni and flourishing in Florence; thus it was likely no coincidence that we owe our first reference to trionfi to a notary linked to Florence (who even had a house there). References abound after 1440 but are silent before then...why?

There simply isn't a solid piece of evidence warranting a serious redating to the 1420s - where is there something on the order of Giusti worth considering?

No one is going to suggest art studies play no role here, but that can't be the sole argument without dated documentation, and in Florence the complete absence of which would be puzzling.

To be fair, we have zero documents on what I consider to be the most important work of the Quattrocento - Donatello's bronze David - but we have enough documentation on Donatello to narrow the dating of that bronze to c. 1440 per Caglioti (and yes, I understand the date of the bronze is contested, but Caglioti is the foremost expert who has done the most documentation).

Phaeded

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#96
mikeh wrote: Huck wrote
Well, your suggestion, that there were "4 emperors + 4 empresses" is a fantasy filling, to which I can add others, for instance ...

a. 8 of the 9 hero rulers, who filled the castle of Manta
b. the 7 electors (inclusive the emperor) + pope
c. 7 electors + emperor
d. Emperor + Pope + 2x3 figures for both
e. figures, as they appear in Karnöffel game (
f. figures, as they appear in the Ringmann education game
g. figures, as they appear in the Ingold game
h. actually anything, which could replace the 8 court cards at Unter and Ober position
i. figures comparable to the 7 first trumps of Tarot + the Fool
My suggestion has the merit, not shared by your a-i, that the cards are then actually imperatori, inasmuch as the masculine term ("imperatori") governs groups of mixed gender. That seems more reasonable than supposing that they are not imperatori but something else, virtually anything else but imperatori. Another merit is that since the Rothschild Emperor card is closely related to both the CVI Emperor and the Palermo Empress (especially the two small figures at the bottom) in design, it is reasonable to suppose that there was a Catania/Palermo Emperor and a Rothschild Empress, the latter of which thus allows for 2 of my hypothesized "VIII Imperatori". It remains of course logically possible that "VIII Emperatori" and the Rothschild have nothing to do with each other, but for hypotheses to have any explanatory value they should connect disparate phenomena.

What is fantasy is that Catalonian playing cards, about which nothing is known as far as their design, should resemble in style so closely the "cursive" innnovations of dal Ponte, departing from Starnina, and have influenced so particularly the later Florentine tarocchi. That is not to say you should not bother trying to find such cards. But it will take more than "woodcut technology" to displace the Florentine milieu.
2 smaller (servant) figures accompanying "high persons" like Imperator or Queen or Pope is common old chess style long before Trionfi card existed, so one can hardly draw conclusions from them.

Image


It seems to me VERY, VERY probable, that Rothschild cards and 8 Imperatori cards had nothing to do with each other ... the Rothschild cards belonged to the well known suits and contain also Fante and knight. They just look a incomplete court card set (at least 16 figures), there's no reason to think about 8 special cards.

Naturally one can have only fantasies about early Spanish luxury cards, as early Spanish cards are very rare anyway.
But this is not fantasy ...

Image

https://books.google.de/books?id=UqrvDW ... in&f=false
Trevor Denning: The Playing-cards of Spain: A Guide for Historians and Collectors

Large "gilded" playing cards in Barcelona in 1401.

For Italy we have luxury deck descriptions 1387 in Mantova and 1407 again.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=762
I miss any word, which indicates the quality "gilded".

For the Imperatori cards in 1423 we have the quality "gilded" noted, as already shown. But again ...

Image

Image


Productions of the year 1423 ... "d'oro" mentioned in the Gabella deck and for the VIII Imperatori cards, but not for the repair operations of Sagramoro in the middle.

I don't know for the moment, if there's anywhere else "gilded" noted in playing card documents before that ... beside the Denning note.

So we would have ...

1401 "gilded" in Barcelona
1423 twice "gilded" in Ferrara.


... if nothing else shows up. This would mean, that Spain had the technology "gold on playing cards" possibly earlier than Italy. At least it has somehow the better chances.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#97
Phaeded: I clearly said "CY-Type", not "CY'. Sforza heraldics wouldn't be in a 1428-1430 deck, of course. The heraldics in the suit cards look very much tailor-made to Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, no argument. The Brera-Brambilla is probably an example of the "CY-type". There are no Sforza heraldics in the suit cards. A Sforza heraldic is also added to the CY Love card, I think. However other elements may have been carried over from previous manifestations of the type. The banners could be one, a connection to an earlier deck, now lost, and an earlier marriage, now recalled. Or not. I was simply giving considerations, based not on details of a hypothetical ur-tarot but on what is actually on the CY card.

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#98
Huck wrote
So we would have ...

1401 "gilded" in Barcelona
1423 twice "gilded" in Ferrara.

... if nothing else shows up. This would mean, that Spain had the technology "gold on playing cards" possibly earlier than Italy. At least it has somehow the better chances.
Gold backgrounds were a generic background in Late Gothic art. Florence very likely would have had the technology for applying gold to paper, from their gilded pictures on parchment ("pelli") of saints. See Pratesi, http://www.naibi.net/a/428-orpelli-z.pdf. Gold backgrounds only identify cards as likely to be Late Gothic, not as Catalan or Florentine. I have never used the gold backgrounds as a way of identifying cards with Florence vs. Barcelona or elsewhere. The Rothschild cards have very specific other stylistic indicators particular to dal Ponte's workshop, however much you may wish to downplay them, and the Emperor to later Florentine tarocchi.

Huck wrote,
It seems to me VERY, VERY probable, that Rothschild cards and 8 Imperatori cards had nothing to do with each other ... the Rothschild cards belonged to the well known suits and contain also Fante and knight. They just look a incomplete court card set (at least 16 figures), there's no reason to think about 8 special cards.
Also, the Rothschild cards are very definitely special cards, not an ordinary deck, because there are too many masculine cards not on horses but holding gold discs to be an ordinary deck. There is a King of Coins, a Page of Coins (bearded, as in the "Spanish"/"Moorish" cards), and an Emperor (of Coins?). If not a tarocchi, it is some other special deck.
Image

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#99
Another Ferrara St George:

Milan, 1496
"Produced in Ferrara during the last years of the fifteenth century, this famous woodcut was designed specifically as a binding. It was printed and then pasted to the boards that protected the volume. It has no relationship to the text, printed in Milan. The border designs and patterned ornaments of this woodcut binding are produced in the black-ground manner in Florentine style, probably in the shop of the noted printer Lorenzo di Rossi, who worked in Ferrara for forty years. The image of "Saint George and the Dragon" is likely based on a painting by the Ferrarese master Cosimo Tura. The outline design of the figures, flowers, urns, and cherubs suggests the influence of the "popular" design of Venetian woodcuts."

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
Attachments
FerraraBinder.JPG
(177.92 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Giovanni dal Ponte (1385-c.1437) & the Rothschild cards

#100
Re" the impressa I attached in an earlier post, I have found some further information:
Image
Image
Image
It is from an inventory of the collection donated to the city of Bologna by Marquis Ferdinando Cospi in 1660, and part of the exhibition at the Museo Cospiano in 1677:

Mvseo Cospiano: annesso a quello del famoso Vlisse Aldrovandi e donato alla sua patria dall'illustrissimo Signor Ferdinando Cospi patrizio di Bologna e senatore Cavaliere Commendatore di S. Stefano, Balì d'Arezzo, e March. di Petriolo, fra' gli Accademici Gelati il fedele, e principe al presente de' Medesemi, 1677 - Book 3, Chap Cap. XXVIII
https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=Nd ... J&pg=PA303

Apparently it decorates a chess board, and our author seems to claim (if I read it right) that it represents the Arms of the Alghieri (ie Dante) family, which (i think) is erroneus
--

I recommend the whole chapter, concerning games donated by Cospi, and which includes several card games, including Tarot, and apparently also a set of Boiado cards!

https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=Nd ... J&pg=PA304

Boiardo cards, item number 5, game of passions:
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

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