Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

Images of these series are fairly hard to find on the web, so remedying that here. I was in Florence in early April and lucked out in gaining access to the Palazzo dell'Arte della Lana‎ (the powerful Wool guild) by attending a special event (I saw a five piece brass chamber music event at night for 15 euros I didn’t really want to part with, but I was entertained); the Palazzo dell'Arte dei Giudici e Notai (Judges and Notaries guild) is much more easier to access – simply show up and eat in the seafood restaurant that is now in that space, rehabbed in 2011[?] (Fishing Lab alle Murate - despite the terrible name, a damn good meal so worth eating there, especially with the frescoes in question just above your head if you eat on the mezzanine level).

Both series are discussed with admirable research in this unpublished doctoral thesis available via ... y_Florence

Although both cycles are from the second half of the 14th century and thus well before tarot, they still may have had relevance since these virtues are obviously in the decks (prudence controversially so) and the importance of these two guilds in the political life of Florence is unquestioned. The Lana guild was arguably the most important guild in the city and spurred the initiative of the famous statues that adorn the adjacent (and now attached) Orsanmichele Marian cult shrine. The Judges and Guilds held a super-legal status within the guild system as sort of the lead guild and was even lead by the likes of Leonardo Bruni, the chancellor of Florence when the ur-tarot was created c. 1440. The bottom line is both venues received the city’s elite on a frequent basis and thus viewed these cycles frequently as well.

Cardinal virtues in the Palazzo dell'Arte della Lana
The virtues appear here twice – in the standard medallions of the vaulted ceiling and more unusually as protectors of Brutus fighting off vice-like figures trying to influence this political role model (the primary tenant of this building today is the Dante Society – presumably they get the irony of being in a building featuring a historical figure that Dante placed in the devil’s mouth in the lowest level of hell; note: you can also access this building if a Dante Society event is going on but none was while I was there – failing that look for a musical event hosted there). In another post I’ll address the unusual but not unique attribute of Prudence present here: the armillary sphere. Note that the other set of four ceiling medallions are of the Evangelists (again, fairly standard to have the four virtues in one part of a ceiling and the four Evangelists in an adjoining cross-vault, as in the Baroncelli chapel in S. Croce). Justice is all but illegible due to the ravages of time (not my bad pic ;-).
Lana exterior.JPG
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Lana - Brutus on right, virtues overhead.JPG
overall interior, only 1 medallion virtue seen overhead
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Brutus flanked by virtues.JPG
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Above - upper left, counter -clockwise: Prudence, Strength, Temperance, Justice (only 2 have standard attributes).
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Cardinal virtues in the Palazzo dell'Arte dei Giudici e Notai
Just steps down the street from the Bargello/Palazzo del Popolo, the frescoes in this-now restaurant feature the virtues as standard ceiling medallions flanked by two different representations of justice, with a highly symbolic representation of Florence in accord with her civic symbols. Prudence, worse for wear, holds a square (instead of the related compass), about as rare as the armillary sphere. The frescoes are extremely damaged here but generally legible (Temperance's attributes are odd - her vessels look more like incense thuribles and I'm not sure what is in her opposite hand).
overall shot with mezzanine
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Florence as cosmography.JPG
city gates, guild symbols, etc.
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Prudence detail.JPG
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PS Obviously there is much more going on in the overall decorative programs in each guild hall - I just focused on the virtues. Please refer to the thesis linked above for additional details and references.

Re: Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

This picture of a ceiling is interesting (you wrote as explanation: "Florence as cosmography ... city gates, guild symbols, etc."
In the center are 4 elements mixed with 4 others.
Then there are 16 elements around it.
Then a circle with 21 elements.
Then another circle with 21 elements.
Then (likely) city gates, I cannot count, how much of them are on the picture.

The 21-groups probably refer to the guilds, which (probably) then were 21.
Six of the nine Priori of the Signoria of Florence were selected from the major guilds, and two were selected by the minor guilds.[1] The "Seven Greater Guilds" are first mentioned distinctly (separating the Calimala from "Wool") in 1197.[3] The first State enactment appertaining to Guilds was not issued until 1228.[3]
The first scheduled list of Florentine guilds encompassing twenty-one guilds, appeared in 1236.[4] The second scheduled list of the twenty-one guilds, differentiating between seven "Greater" Guilds (Arti Maggiori) and fourteen "Lesser" Guilds (Arti Minori), appeared in 1266.[5] That same year the consuls of the seven "Greater" Guilds became the "Supreme Magistrate of the State".[5] In 1280, the first five of the "Lesser Guilds" were designated "Intermediate Guilds" (Arti Mediane) in 1280, when the Signoria first assumed office, and their consults were admitted to the conferences of the consuls of the seven "Greater" Guilds.[6]

In 1282, three "Priors of the Guilds" were elected, with powers only inferior to the Chief-Magistrate of the State.[5] The third scheduled list of guilds, finalizing their order of precedence for over a century appeared in a 1282 document known as the Foro Fiorentino, currently held at British Library.[7] The 1282 document groups the greater and intermediary guilds together, thus creating a new partition of twelve greater guilds and nine minor guilds.[8] The nine lowest guilds were allotted banners and coats-of-arms in 1291.[5]

A General Code, a "Statuto", for the guilds was promulgated in 1296 with the founding of the Corte della Mercanzia.[9] The Statutes of all the guilds underwent a complete revision between 1301 and 1307, and the "New Code" was first adopted by the Calimala;[9] the statutes were again revised in 1386.[10]

Three new operative guilds were formed in 1378 after the Ciompi revolt.[10] The fourth scheduled list of guilds, appearing in 1415, however, still included only twenty-one guilds, partitioned (as in 1266) between seven greater guilds and fourteen lesser guilds (the intermediary ones having lost their special status).[11]

The greater guilds attempted in 1427 to reduce the lesser guilds to only seven.[10] This was defeated. But in 1534, the fourteen lesser guilds were arranged into four Universities, and saw many of their privileges curtailed.[
The group with 16 elements likely belonged to the 16 city destricts ... as presented by the Codebook of the 1427-29 Catasto Data File for Florence ... ... ebook.html
Location. [QUAR]. The Quarter and Gonfalone within the city of Florence:
Quarter of S. Spirito: 11=Scala, 12=Nicchio, 13=Ferza, 14=Drago.
Quarter of S. Croce: 21=Carro, 22=Bue, 23=Leon Nero, 24=Ruote.
Quarter of S. Maria Novella: 31=Vipera, 32=Unicorno, 33=Leon Rosso, 34=Leon Bianco.
Quarter of S. Giovanni: 41=Leon D'Oro, 42=Drago, 43=Chiavi, 44=Vaio.

We've the interesting feature, that the game Minchiate has a structure (4x20 + 16 + 1), in which the numbers 21 (as 20+1) and 16 (court cards) play a role.

Re: Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

I'm not sure why you resorted to Wiki when I provided the link to a worthy doctoral thesis describing this in more depth. From that thesis, a clarifying schematic:
Guidici schematic.JPG
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But I'm not sure why you are still driving square pegs into round holes. Previously chess, now the 16 gonfaloni of the 16 neighborhoods are related to the 16 court cards? Completely apples and oranges - the court cards are a 4x4 structure (four sets of four essentially identical court figures). The 16 gonfaloni are 16 unique figures (as you note above), tied to 16 unique neighborhoods within Florence that in no way lend themselves to a 4x4 structure, beyond the groupings of the four major churches each containing four neighborhoods...but there are not four "king neighborhoods", four "queen neighborhoods", etc. During the pivotal St. John's procession the 16 gonfaloni would have underscored that basic fact - they did not march in groups of four but 1 through 16 (and half of those would not have been considered identical "pawns"; re. your chess theory).

As for the "cosmographical" dimensions (the notion of the urbs as sacred microcosm):
It is worth noting the strategic placement of several insignia in this fresco in relation to the physical city surrounding the palace. Most ostensible is the arrangement of the gonfaloni and city quarters. The (now) discernable squares of the city quarters act as a microcosm of the city’s topography: Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni Battista, Santa Croce, and Santo Spirito are placed in the northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest quadrants of the circle, respectively. Additionally, the crests of the commune and the Parte Guelfa are located in conspicuous positions. ...The insignia of the Parte Guelfa faces west, in the direction of its palace on the corner of via delle Terme and via Capaccio. Given its topographical qualities, this image evokes the Aristotelian imagery of
the mappamundi and T-O diagram, and certainly resonates with the world view of Goro Dati’s Sfera (see Chapter One).27 While these representations supply general geographic erudition, they are also replete with symbolic images that provide the viewer with the historical or biblical significance of a locale. In this case, the fresco visually manifests the political structure of Florence. In fact, the image can best be described as a symbolic representation of guild corporatism. As discussed in previous chapters, the arti, represented by the quatrefoils, were the bedrock of this corporate polity; Florentine law mandated that elected officials be matriculated in one of the twenty-one guilds.28 The gonfaloni and city quarters were also vital in organizing the allocation of priors to the government.29 The Parte Guelfa and giglio crests further illustrate the image’s political implications. In the third quarter of the Trecento, although weakened by the crises of the 1340s and the rise of the popolo, subscription to Guelf values remained a prerequisite for entry into communal politics.30 The giglio, a symbol of the Florentine republic, simultaneously honored the annals of the Parte Guelfa.31 In its schematic arrangement of nested circles, further accentuated by the central white circle, this image stressed the order and concord of the Florentine polity. Dating back to antiquity, the sphere symbolized harmony, unanimity, and grace. The Aristotelian cosmos demonstrated order in the universe, where the spheres of the elements and heavenly bodies were encapsulated within one giant sphere ordained by God....
In fact, several contemporary Florentine texts note the orderly nature of the city based on its circular structure. As suggested in Chapter Two, Giovanni Villani’s Trecento Cronica demonstrated the circular shape of Florence. By calculating the intersection of the four gates (Porta alla Croce, Porta al Prato, Porta di San Gallo, and Porta Romana), he concluded that the palace of the Lana guild and the loggia di Orsanmichele represent the [207] city center.34 Likewise, in the early fifteenth century, Florentine chancellor Leonardo Bruni portrayed Florence and its contado as a series of concentric rings. In his Laudatio florentinae urbis (1403-04), Bruni claimed that the Palazzo Vecchio – the “‘fortress of the fortress’” – stood as the innermost point of this massive territorial circle. [p. 204f]

Re: Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

Prudence with a drafting/building tool is also seen in Visconti Milan, as in my photo below, taken in the Sforza Castle Museum. I think from left to right it is Justice, Temperance, Prudence, and Strength. Their names would seem to be above them, but I can't make out enough of the letters. We tend to think of the attributes of the virtues as quite standardized, but in fact there was considerable variation.
Image ... G_1891.JPG

The caption should be the next photo I took:
"Campionese" I think refers to the Lombard commune of Campione, on Lake Lugano, now completely surrounded by Switzerland.

Also, for me what is relevant about the 4x4 structure of the quarters of Florence quartered is its similarity to Marziano's division of the gods into 4 types of 4 gods each. The cardinal virtues could be another such ordering principle, in a deck with 16 trumps. I wonder if other cities associated with the tarot had a similar quartering of quarters.

Thanks for the link to the Ph.D. thesis, Phaeded, as well as the restaurant recommendation.

Re: Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

mikeh wrote:
05 May 2019, 11:38
Prudence with a drafting/building tool is also seen in Visconti Milan, as in my photo below, taken in the Sforza Castle Museum. I think from left to right it is Justice, Temperance, Prudence, and Strength. Their names would seem to be above them, but I can't make out enough of the letters. We tend to think of the attributes of the virtues as quite standardized, but in fact there was considerable variation.
Image ... G_1891.JPG
I'll address Prudence's variations at length elsewhere, but what is Fortitude holding? I've seen that sarcophagus a couple of times myself and can't recall nor make it out in available images. Other notable Trecento comparables with a Fortitude attribute unique to the Duchy are the monumental Gothic sepulchral tombs for St. Augustine in the San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro church in Pavia and St. Peter of Verona in Milan proper, in the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio (usually referred to as in the Portinari chapel, built by the Florentine manager of the Medici bank there, to where the St. Peter Verona monument was relocated in the 18th century). In both cases a very similar looking Fortitude with pronounced Hercules' lion's skin over the head, holds a "world" symbol in her hands, with the other three virtues slightly turned to her in the case of Sant'Eustorgio (I think the overall meaning is fairly clear: Hercules once held the world a'la Atlas, and in this re-purposed case the virtues are thus hovering over the world for its betterment).

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro/Pavia on left and St. Eustorgio/Milan on right (different sequences of cardinals, but Fortitude is easy to pick out).
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Detail of the Pavia "world" - strongholds and castles (tomb was commissioned in Pavia while that city was still independent of Milan, so likely representative of her small contado) surrounded on the circumference by "wind gods":
Pavia world detail.JPG
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A more traditional comparable of Jesus and crowned Mary blessing the world (urbs in this case, as it has been commented that the city-scape painted within the tondo looks like Florence), is this Trecento paining from Florence's Santa Maria Novella, a Dominican foundation (and indeed, cut off in my snip below are 17 surrounding Dominican saints, so it is through their intercession that Jesus/Mary bestow graces and blessing on to the city).
_Master of the Dominican Effigies - Detail of the Virgin Christ and 17 Saints tempera on panel -.jpg
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As for the cardinal virtues as the ordering principal - how did we get to 21 + fool on that basis when clearly 7 is the clearly appropriate root (and arguably all 7 virtues were in the CY)? And there certain;ly would be zero connection between Florence's 16 neighborhood based militia units and anything in Milan (i.e., Marziano's deck); if you want to say someone in Florence saw the Marziano deck based on a 4x4 and related it to what he knew in Florence, there is still zero connection between the specific images on the 16 gonfaloni and the 16 gods/heros of Marziano.

Finally, neither Milan nor Florence, but this Trecento association of Prudence with "world" is a difficulty for any theory that seeks to posit a prudence and a world in the same deck, as you have in your other active thread on the Marziano and CY (and why "world" became associated with Prudence versus Fortitude needs its own thread....):
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Re: Cardinal virtues series in two Florentine guild halls

It seems to me that the Sforza Castle Fortitude is holding hammers/mallets. They complement the drafting/measurement tools in the hands of Prudence.

I couldn't follow your argument about the "World" on Fortitude's stylized shield. If it's an attribute of Fortitude, how does that show anything about an identification of the "World" image that has a world as part of it, with Prudence? Likewise Hercules is associated with Fortitude, as you say, but not Prudence.

In the other thread, I am imagining the CY cards (and when they fail, Minchiate) as reflecting early designs in all the centers. I cannot see how the CY Fama/World card represents Prudence. It is Petrarchan Fama. For the imagery of the Prudence card, I would think that what is most relevant would be the Song of the Virtues and Liberal Arts, the other Bolognese manuscript illustration that is often shown, by Nicola da Bologna, Giotto's images, the Bamberg images of the four cardinal virtues, and other early sets of cardinal virtues that show similarities to the tarot and Minchiate virtue cards, especially ones that show the antitype at their feet.

If Prudence is a separate card from World in the CY, and Prudence is dropped, World stays World, even if it takes on some of Prudence's attributes - or Wisdom's, which I think more accurately describes the lady or man holding the world in medieval manuscripts (except when the image alludes to Hercules). When Prudence is dropped, World doesn't become Prudence. If anything, Prudence would be represented by a new card, one not in the CY, in particular the Hanged Man, for which there is the evidence of Imperiali's poem. It is the Prudence of the ruler who uses or threatens to use such a punishment for traitors. At least I think that is what Imperiali is thinking of.

I have often thought that Bianca's Garden should have a thread on the Prudence card (even if our only example is Minchiate). It isn't studied enough.

One more thing:
Phaeded wrote
And there certain;ly would be zero connection between Florence's 16 neighborhood based militia units and anything in Milan (i.e., Marziano's deck)
Marziano spent time in Florence as a student. He would have known about the 4x4 neighborhood structure there. I don't know what Milan's neighborhood structure was in his lifetime.

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