Re: Petrarca Trionfi poem motifs in early Trionfi decks

Excellent, Lorredan. That it was associated with the Sforza fits with Swords being a Sforza suit in the CY, along with Staves and its fountain.

Now I want to talk about something else, which comes out of this discussion of devices but has a direction of its own.

In this thread Phaeded seems to want to derive the imagery of the CY from the imagery in what you imagine to be on the "Giusti deck". So here is a post designed to show that there was more than enough imagery in Milan to provide the necessary images in the CY.

In looking for Visconti devices in Visconti illuminated manuscripts, I noticed that in the index under "Giangaleazzo, devices" the word "Virtues" was listed, with no less than five page references. In other words, for Giangaleazzo the virtues themselves were personal devices. Here's the story.

Giangaleazzo's marriage to Isabelle of Valois in 1360 (at the age of 9), "brought, as part of her dowry, the county of Vertus, in Champagne, together with the title Count of Virtues" (Kirsch p. 19) On this occasion, too, the personal emblem of the dove against a blue sky and radiant sun--we see it on the CY Chariot card, as well as various Coin cards, is said (by Petrarch in a letter, cited in Storia di Milano, v, 891, and by Vannozzo in a poem, published in Le rime di Francesco di Vannozzo, ed. A. Medin, Bologna 1928, 3-14) to have been devised for him by Petrarch. With it came the motto "a buon droyt" or "a bon droit", which the dove sometimes carried on a banner. So we have that device in numerous places in the Visconti Hours.

Vannozzo explicates the emblem in his 1389 poem, as Kirsch paraphrases (p. 19):
...the radiant sun represents Giangaleazzo's power, reaching out to all; the dove symbolizes humility and chastity; the azure background denotes serenity. Each component, however, carries a second meaning: the sky evokes heaven, "loco del padre," the sun is Christ, and the dove the holy Ghost.

You will notice the word "chastity" here. So we have chastity as well as Visconti power, and in addition the Trinity. Kirsch documents Giangaleazzo's personal association with the Trinity on the next page.

All of this is retained in the symbol we see in the CY Chariot card. For Filippo kept this emblem, as well as the title Count of Virtues, for himself (see Kirsch p. 86: "the present Count of Virtues"), even though the County of Vertus now belonged to their sister-in-law (as Kirsch says somewhere).

Then there are the other virtues. Kirsch writes
The diptych on LF 11v and 12 (at Matins of the Office of the Virgin) represents the Fall of the Rebel Angels, the event that precipitated the Creation of the world (Fig. 53). An enormous pair of silver keys identifies the Creator on LF 11v as the Deity of Revelation 1:18, who keeps the keys of death and of hell. He is surrounded by a heavenly court of loyal angels and by the three Theological and four Cardinal Virtues (as elsewhere in this manuscript symbols of the Count of Virtues). In the lower margin, Humility, the root of all other virtues, reads from a book supported on her left knee and, with her right hand, makes the gesture identified with the Trinity on BR 105 (Fig. 46) and throughout both Hours-Missals in Paris (Figs. 19, 49, 56). [Footnote: On Humility as the root of other virtues, see Meiss 1951, 153, fig. 162 [i.e. Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death].
LF 11v is at ... _Hours.jpg. Here Hope has an anchor, Charity a sheaf of wheat, etc. Faith is at the top; Temperance is at the upper right, somewhat damaged, Kirsch says. According to Kirsch, the original design was by dei Grassi for Giangaleazzo and then painted over by Belbello for Filippo. On LF12 ( ... _Hours.jpg) we see various virtues trouncing devils, in much the same way the Theological Virtues of the CY trounce figures standardly associated with the vices oppose their virtues. Belbello's work, says Kirsch, supporting Meiss's preface to their edition of the Visconti Hours, was done before 1434, when his work on the d'Este Bible shows more maturity. Giangaleazzo's were done at various times, mostly uncertain, before his 1402 death. Elsewhere in the Hours various of these virtues also appear; each time they do, they count as a Visconti device for both father and son.

In one place, his funeral oration, put in manuscript in 1403, Giangaleazzo is associated with 12 virtues. Fra Pietro, the eulogizer, declares that in heaven the Count of Virtues will receive "the twelve-pointed crown of the Madonna of the Apocalypse, each of its points symbolizing one of its virtues" (Kirsch p. 76). Michelino's illumination shows him surrounded by the twelve (from

Kirsch says they
are framed at one side by the luminous salmon tint of Charity's gown behind the Duke and at the other by the pearl gray of Mercy. Directly behind these figures, the green robe of Temperance and the blue of Humility establish a tone that resounds in the blue and green raiment of the angel pages who hold the Duke's standards and helmets.
Another of the twelve is Magnificence, Kirsch says somewhere. Trionfi has a table with all 12:
1. Faith 2. Hope 3. Charity 4. Justice 5. Fortitude 6. Temperance 7. Prudence 8. Piety 9. Clemence 10. Magnificence 11. Intelligence 12. Humility
I do not know the source of this list.

Before the Hours, there was the Song of the Virtues and Sciences, mid-fourteenth century, which came into the possession of the Milan Visconti after the exile of Bruzio Visconti, erstwhile ruler of Bologna. I have translated text and posted images from this work in the thread that Lorredan started. The iconography (if we include one of the Sciences for Charity) is very similar to the CY's. That manuscript became part of the collection of the Archinto of Milan, Pelegrin says in La Bibliotheque des Visconti et des Sforza (p. 359: "collection Archinto de Milan"). Since the Archinto were a noble family noted for its clerics (the first listed on Wikipedia was Cardinal Archbishop of Milan in the 16th century), it might have been part of the Archbishipric before them.

After the Visconti Hours, certain images there perhaps make new influences on the Milan tarot. An image I have in mind is at the bottom of Folio LF 58. On the top, Eve blames the serpent for her eating of the fruit. On the bottom, a putto with a knife stands above a lion, in a pose reminiscent of the PMB 2nd artist's Fortezza card ( ... rBlame.jpg--but ignore the date given there, which is probably too early). Meiss and Kirsch say of this image, "The child triumphant over a lion in the lower margin is probably meant to suggest the power of the Duke." The same could be said of the tarot image.

As for Petrarch, the most important link between him and the CY might well be Gasparinus Barzizza (1359-1431) and his son Guiniforte (1406-1463). Ross has already quoted a 1439 letter by the son about Petrarch's "Triumph of Love." Both spent considerable time in Padua, where they could easily have absorbed Petrarch's Triumphs and the virtue tradition he represented ( ... itali.html). (Michael J Hurst pointed out this likely "missing link" to me recently in a personal communication, suggesting that Guiniforte might have designed the CY for Filippo. That seems reasonable, if only I could satisfy myself that the CY-type wasn't already in existence by 1435, when Guiniforte returned to Pavia from Padua. But that is a subject for another time.)

Note: I added a couple of things an hour or two after posting: where Temperance is, in LF 12, and the quote from Meiss and Kirsch about the lion. Another thing: Barzizza Sr., at a time when he was otherwise in Padua, went to the Council of Constance, I see on the link I gave. So he likely knew about the edition of Petrarch's "Trionfi" that was done in 1414 Bologna (which Huck supposes was brought to Constance, since it ended up in Germany), as well as the people involved.

Re: Petrarca Trionfi poem motifs in early Trionfi decks

For quinces as a Sforza device, a good source is

down near the bottom of the page (Table 32). The pictures are clear enough. A problem is accessing the discussion in English. I will give it a shot.

In Italian, we have:
Alle antiche imprese viscontee, recuperate in blocco per rassicurare i sudditi sulle capacità di buon governo e sulla legittimità del potere politico (la porta del chiostro di San Sigismondo a Cremona è un vero trattato) se ne aggiungono, con Francesco, due inconsuete: La Mela Cotogna e i “Monticelli”, detti anche “Carciofi”. La mela cotogna, già comparsa fra le zampe del leone sforzesco, doveva essere un gentile omaggio a Cotignola, la città originaria di tutta la dinastia. Il frutto è di buon auspicio, anticamente veniva regalato agli sposi e decorava i talami nuziali con l’augurio che l’amore durasse fresco e a lungo come la fragranza della cotogna. “Fragrantia durat” auspica infatti anche il motto sforzesco, ma le energie fisiche ed intellettuali del duca sappiamo che non dovevano durare ancora per molto.
In other words:
To the old Visconti impresse reinserted on the block to reassure the subjects of their capacity for good governance and the legitimacy of their political power (the door of the cloister of San Sigismondo in Cremona is a real treatise) are added, with Francesco, two unusual ones: The Apple quince and the "Mounds", also called "Artichokes". The quince, which already appeared between the paws of the Sforza lion, would have been a nice tribute to Cotignola, the hometown of the entire dynasty. The fruit is a good omen, anciently given to spouses and decorating their wedding beds with the hope that their love would last and stay fresh for a long time, like the fragrance of the quince. "The Fragrance lasts" omen in fact is also a Sforza motto, but the physical and intellectual energies of the Duke might appear not to make it last much longer.
And the next paragraph:
Anche i “Monticelli” si appellano al tempo. Si tratta di un basamento con tre monticelli sui quali spuntano tre carciofi in fiore, i semprevivi, come li chiama Bianca Maria nel privilegio donato a San Sigismondo, con chiara allusione alla nuova dinastia e alla sua capacità di generazione continua. Li troviamo ricamati sulla verde veste della duchessa nella pala del Campi. “Mit Zeit”, col tempo - ammonisce il motto – sarà possibile vedere quali frutti darà l’operato di Francesco ed esprimere un giudizio.
In my English:
The "Mounds" also go back to the time. There is a base with three mounds on which emerge three artichokes in bloom, evergreens, as named by Bianca Maria in the privilege given to St. Sigismund, with a clear allusion to the new dynasty and its capacity for continuing generation. They are embroidered on the green dress of the Duchess in the leaves of the fields. "Mit Zeit" - in time - warns the motto - it will be possible to see what fruits the works of Francesco will give and express a judgment.
The pictures are of quinces. Their caption is
Tavola 32 - La Mela Cotogna in un clipeo di S. Maria delle Grazie e sulla fontana del Castello Sforzesco.
That is,
Table 32 - The Apple Quince in a carapace of Saint Maria delle Grazie and on the fountain of the Sforza Castle.
They are a good match to the fruit on the female court figures in Swords of the CY. So we have two or three candidates for these plants, all Sforza devices.

Re: Petrarca Trionfi poem motifs in early Trionfi decks

Mikeh wrote:
"Giangaleazzo, devices" the word "Virtues" was listed, with no less than five page references. In other words, for Giangaleazzo the virtues themselves were personal devices.
I would think Sforza would have most wanted to emulate this monument of Giangaleazzo's predecessor, flanked by the virtues of Strength/Force (essentially his name) and Justice:

Sure enough, the two trump cards in the PMB where one can say an idealized Sforza appears by himself are Strength and Justice (on horse back, like the statue), befitting virtues for Milan's new ruler:


Re: Petrarca Trionfi poem motifs in early Trionfi decks

For the Strength card, a better match is the putto at the bottom of this page from the Visconti Hours, which I posted in my last post: ... rBlame.jpg
This was done as a commission for Filippo (I will get to the dating later), completing what Giangaleazzo started. But it doesn't really matter which Visconti it is that the Sforza are emulating (including his wife and also his son Galeazzo, if the Strength card happened to have been done after Francesco's death). The important thing, for the CY, is that there was a strong pictorial tradition for the seven virtues in Milan, including representations as on the CY cards, before and during Filippo's reign, which he helped cultivate, and which started--for the virtues as such-with Giangalleazo (unless, of course, you have better evidence). There was Florentine influence, to be sure, but that happened in the 14th century, long before any tarot. None is needed during anybody's postulated time of the tarot origin, i.e. 1410-1440.

The World card again

In my previous post, I said I would get to the dating of the Visconti Hours later. I have done so in the first post of the thread "Visconti Marriage and Betrothal Commemorations," viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917#p13402.

Here I want to turn to something else: the Fama/World card, mentioned in 17 posts so far in this thread, according to the search engine. None of them is by me, so I want to put in my two bits' worth.

It seems to me that the primary influence on the iconography of the card in its early appearances, be it Milan's CY, Florence's Charles VI, or Bologna's BAR, is Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione. (Ross pointed out the connection in relation to the Charles VI at ... ost1319869: I thank M.J. Hurst for this reference.) In Canto VI has the narrator, in a dream, describing a painting, one of four:paintings of "Gloria del popol mondano", as the narrator reads the inscription (line 75)--"Glory of the worldly folk" is Hollander's translation. If this "Gloria" is similar to Petrarch's "Fama", then already we have "World" and "Fame" in one breath. If we also look at Boccaccio's description of the painting immediately preceding (lines 69-72), we can see the prototype of the circle with hills and castles of the Charles VI ( and the BAR (, or semicircle with plain and castles (CY).
And among other things which I noticed there
around about this supreme
lady, in her magnanimous breast
the enemy of death, was a perfect circle
rotating lofty and round,
from beneath her feet and over her head.
I do not believe that there can be anything
in the whole world, town or country, domestic or foreign,
which would not appear within that circle.
The phrase "enemy of death" is the theme developed in Petrarch's "Triumph of Fame". Who influenced who is unknown to me, and I think irrelevant. What is relevant is the description of the circle, with the whole world in it, all its towns and countries. So in the tarot we have representations of towns and countries in a circle. The CY only has part of a circle, because when one depicts a plain, there is nothing in the bottom half of the circle. The Charles VI and BAR solve that problem by depicting castles on hills.

In all cases, the person associated with the circle, unlike in Boccaccio (line 53), is not in a chariot. In a tarot deck, that would have been confusing, since there already is a Chariot card. Also, she is not shown in the circle, but above it. This is dictated by the dimensions of the card, considerably taller than it is wide. In the CY, the person on top is the lady Fama, identifiable by her trumpets. This is not Boccaccio's depiction (he has her with a sword in one hand and an apple in the other), but it is a conventional one. In the BAR, it is Mars, identifiable by his helmet, which he wears in many depictions of the Triumph of Mars. My explanation for this is that the vast majority of the people associated with her in the poem, and in Petrarch's Viris Illustribus, are military folk or people primarily concerned with matters of state. In the Carrara Palace in Padua, that is who decorated the walls there, all from Viris Illustribus. So naturally Mars is their champion. (Petrarch's "Triumph of 'Fame" gets away from military and political figures in part III; but few would have read that, before the 1440s.)

The Charles VI has a lady on top, with an octagonal halo and holding a scepter in one hand and a small golden globe in the other; that is how Boccaccio's "apple" was interpreted here: perhaps the apple of discord thrown by Mars's twin sister Eris, the prize awarded by Paris to Venus, or (but there is not the usual tripartite division into the three continents) perhaps a small emblem of the world. The scepter is explainable as the emblem of statecraft. The prize is the world.

That is what is common to all three of our early World/Fama cards. But there are regional differences. In Milan, there is the doctrine of Decembrio's that SteveM told us about, of the "good state" (or something like that) as opposed to Plato's "best state". A good state has farmland and a port, as well as good defenses. All are represented on the card, which in that respect marks out Milan's claim to Genoa. At the same time, the red castle has some significance; it could be the capital, or, as red is the color of passion, Filippo's love nest. Or the Grail Castle. For purposes of gifts to military men, it might suggest a battle or two, but I cannot make heads or tails of that discussion.

Bologna, however, is a weak state. For it, Fama is nothing but trouble, as stronger powers compete for it as a minor prize. Only with a strong leader can they have any Fama, and when they get it in the Bentivoglio, that is what is what they see on the card: Mars on a world (the four elements) with a scepter and a small globe divided into continents (

Much digital ink has been spilled over the significance of the Charles VI's polygonal halo, since it otherwise appears in the deck, and elsewhere in art of that time and place, as an accoutrement of virtues. For clarification, I again turn to Boccaccio. In Canto IV. This is where he first enters the room with four paintings, so exquisite that he can only compare their art to that of Giotto (lines 13-18). The first painting he sees, is of a lady unnamed in the poem as far as I can find:
Her left hand held a little book,
the right a royal sceptre, and I
reckoned her clothing to be crimson.
At her feet sat many people'
upon a grassy and flowered meadow,
some more, some less distinguished.
But at her left side and her right
I saw seven ladies, each different
from the others in gesture and attire.
The translators' notes say that the seven ladies, four on one side and three on the other, are the seven liberal arts. That makes sense, because Boccaccio goes on to name famous philosophers, astronomers, and mathematicians on one side, and poets and historians on the other, who could be presumed to write musically, grammatically, rhetorically, and poetically.

Boccaccio does not name the lady herself, that I can find, but the translator's notes and introduction say she is Wisdom. That, too, makes sense. In 13th and 14th century codices discussing the seven liberal arts, the figure on top of the liberal arts is philosophy, love of wisdom (Dorez, La canzone della viru e dele scienze di Bartolomeo di Bartoli da Bologna, Appendices, Tavola II). But philosophy is not a virtue, and it would include only some of Boccaccio's famous people.

So I suspect that if the Charles VI lady is a virtue, she is Wisdom or Sapientia, Greek Sophia, that which philosophers love. Boccaccio's figure has a scepter but no small globe. Instead, it's a book. So she's still Fama, offering the world as her prize. But Fama, in the eyes of the Florentines of 1460 or earlier, is best when accompanied with Wisdom. So they conflate the two figures. She is Fama possessed of Sapientia. That is what they see Florence as representing, and Cosimo de' Medici, too, as in the medallion that Phaeded posted. Sapientia not only masters the world, but also transcends it, in the sense that if fortune doesn't give one worldly glory, Sapientia's philosophy is one's consolation (and may give one worldly glory in the end); both interpretations are suggested by the lady's position on the card, above the world.

Probably the Charles VI is later than the BAR or the CY. In that case, people would have read Part III of Petrarch's "Triumph of Fame," which includes the philosophers and historians that Boccaccio had associated with Wisdom.

I should probably say something about Prudentia, who is sometimes propounded as a candidate here. In the Middle Ages, there was a tendency to conflate Prudentia and Sapientia as the same thing, and Minerva as the goddess of both or either. This is eloquently discussed by art historian Nicholas Webb in an article called "Momus with little flatteries: intellectual life at the Italian courts," in Mantegna and 15th century court culture ,on p. 68 ( ... nd69LG.jpg). Cicero did the same, Webb says. But he adds (p. 68)
In Seneca's De Constantia Animae or Petrarch's De remediis utriuesque fortunae, it is the enduring sapiens rather than the active Prudens who resists fortune.
. And on p. 69 (the right side of the link above):
However, Cicero speaks of sapientia as the mater omnium bonarum rerum in De legebis. Two commonplaces of Renaissance moral philosophy were that prudence governs the other virtues and is itself subject to wisdom.
On the link, you can see a footnote giving particulars, or articles that do give them.

Incidentally, the first page of the Webb article speaks of Alberti's Momus, of some time between 1443 and1450," in which the title god begets the goddess Fama, who wreaks havoc on the world. ... nd57LG.jpg. Hence the desirability of Sapientia.

Re: Petrarca Trionfi poem motifs in early Trionfi decks

I need to add something to my previous post, to what I said about the Charles VI World/Fama lady's representing Sapientia rather than Prudentia. That is not quite what I should have said. Looking at the translator's notes to Petrarch's De Remediis, I see that Ciceronian wisdom has two aspects. Rawski (vol. 2, p. lvii) speaking of the intellectual virtues, gives as his first one "wisdom, including prudence, which is both intellectual and moral/cardinal." So now I say the following.

Boccaccio's Lady Wisdom holds two objects, a scepter and a book. It seems to me that these objects represents two aspects of Wisdom (Sapientia, in Latin): the practical and the contemplative. There is wisdom acquired and exercised in study and reflection, and there is wisdom acquired and exercised in the action of a sovereign will. It is true that Petrarch, in De Remediis, speaks of Sapientia in a contemplative context (Book 1, dialogue 12), e.g. (Rawski translation, Vol. 1, p. 35f, p. 34):
REASON: Those who think magnificently of themselves boldly attempt things beyond their power and, failing amidst their effort, learn at their own peril and to their shame just how well they have judged their own cause. Believe me, therefore, that it is better to reject false opinions, to rid oneself of arrogance, to ponder your folly, and to hope that there will never be a need to test your wisdom and to find that you have nothing to brag about. This is the shorter and safer road to wisdom.
JOY. But I feel confident I have arrived at wisdom.
And it is clear that Petrarch, just like Boccaccio, distinguishes fame from wisdom (p. 33):
JOY. Everyone praises me as a wise man.
REASON. This adds something to your fame, perhaps, but absolutely nothing to your wisdom.
But the whole of Petrarch's De Remediis is meant as a guide to practice; it is meant as an essay in practical wisdom, which is the same as Prudentia. So in holding the scepter, the Lady on the Charles VI is symbolizing practical Wisdom, i.e. Prudentia, while at the same time she holds the globe, symbolizing Fame (perhaps she is offering a choice).

The usual objection to this card's symbolizing Prudentia is that she has none of Prudentia's usual attributes. However the lady is doing so as the practical side of Wisdom, Sapientia, as described in Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione and exemplified in Petrarch's De Remediis. She symbolizes Prudentia as Practical Wisdom and in addition the lure of Fama, while standing on the World.

Boccaccio and the "game of the gods"

I know this is supposed to be a thread on Petrarch, but I just did a post saying that Boccaccio was at least as relevant, at least for the details on the early World/Fame cards. I want to take some of that and apply it to the "game of the gods" designed by Marziano for Filippo Visconti , Duke of Milan, in 1420-1425,

In Boccaccio's Amorasa Visione, the narrator, in a dream, enters a room with four paintings on the four walls. They represent, in order, wisdom, fame, wealth, and love. There are correspondences here to the four suits of the Game of the Gods. The one headed by Jupiter is Virtues, but the figures in it (Jupiter, Apollo, Mercury, and Hercules) are all known for feats of brave, or at least clever, killings, some starting as children. Virtue = Fame, defined in the military way of the no longer extant Giotto "Vanagloria" fresco in Milan and Petrarch's Viris Illustribus and its frontispieces. Next is Riches, just as in the poem. Then comes Virginities, headed by Athena. She's the goddess of Wisdom. The last is Pleasures, headed by Venus, goddess of Love. So it's not surprising that tarot decks might show influence of the same poem, whether designed in Milan or elsewhere.