BAR ... made 1511/12 Bologna
Postby Huck on 16 Dec 2009, 11:05
Thanks for the date. I remember reading the first part of that post but not the part about1511. I must have had to break off reading and then when I got back remembered the earlier part and thought I had read the whole thing. Again it's frustrating that you don't show us that post-1530 Bologna Star card. I don't know what deck you mean. I'd love to be able to look at the change between the BAR's card and that one, so as to follow your argument better.
1. Trivulzio was in the position to start a French Tarot, which was exported to Milan.
2. Trivulzio had been in the period 1496-1499 variously in Piedmont and had an important position there.
Part of the argumentation of Ross for an early Bolognese Tarot position is, that he sees no logical reason, why the 4-papi-rule appears in Bologna and Piedmont, for which he sees no logical connection. For this connection (probably also some other reasons) he assumes, that the Bolognese pattern had to be "the oldest".
But if I assume, that the French Tarot as an import spread with Trivulzio and his intentions and took also an influence on Bologna, than I would have a scenario, which makes it logical, that Piedmontese and Bolognese rules have similarity.
It would be of interest to know whether the Piedmont cards have the same imagery as the BAR. That would tend to support your idea, since I would expect decks separated from each other during all the changes of the 15th century not to be alike in images—as I hope will be evident in what follows--although they might be in rules.
And are you saying that Trivulzio invented the equal "four papi" rule in 1496-1499? Why would he do that, so many years after all the tumult of Constance and even Basel is long over? That's the attractiveness of an early date in Bologna, at least to me. I don't see it happening in the ‘40s or before, for the reasons you give, but 1450-1455, when the prohibitions were relaxed, is a perfect window of opportunity, sponsored by Sante and some humanist, if not Bessarion then someone else.
Here is some more Ady:
"...in the sphere of architecture, it was Sante who led the way. Pagno di Lapo Portigiani of Fiesole came to Bologna in 1453, to make his home in the city and to practise his art as a sculptor and stone-mason. He was soon joined by another Florentine, Antonio di Simone Infrangipani, and their advent may be taken to mark the beginning of Renaissance architecture in Bologna. Enough remains of the work of the period to show the peculiar charm and distinction of the palaces which these Tuscan masons and sculptors helped to build. They cannot, for the most part, be ascribed to any one master, but are the work of Tuscan and Bolognese craftsmen acting in cooperation in order to meet the demand created by Sante's gift of peace and prosperity to the city. Chief among them was 'the palace, or great house, stately and honourable' [Ady is quoting from Giovanni II's will], conceived by its founder as a perpetual memorial to the house of Bentivoglio, and with the name of Portigiani as associated as architect.
There is no greater disaster in the history of art than the outburst of hatred which destroyed the Bentivoglio palace, an example of fifteenth-century domestic architecture worthy to be compared with the ducal palace of Urbino or the castle of the Gonzaga at Mantua. Although the palace itself is gone, the effects of the stimulus which it gave to build remain. During the long years when it was in process of construction Bologna became known as a place where work could be found. Gildds, religious houses, and private citizens vied with one another in building, expressing their loyalty to the ruling family by taking the Bentivoglio palace as their model..." (p. 150f)
Of course besides builders and sculptors, fresco painters are needed, and all manner of artists and artisans, some of whom might turn their hands to cards. Here is Ady again:
"Both in politics and in art Sante took Florence as his model. Giovanni, despite his friendly relations with the Medici, looked for inspiration to North Italy. If Milan was his political lodesar, in matters of art he, the godson of Leonello d'Este and the friend of Ercole, sought guidance from Ferrara..." (p. 155)
The difference is in degree, however, because according to Venturi (cited in a previous post) the Ferrarese painter Galasso Galassi came under Sante, and Filippino Lippi etc. painted for Giovanni (Ady p. 156).
Huck, I liked the way in which you compared the BAR to the B and C cards and found influences from both Florence and Ferrara. Such, it seems to me, is the sign of a living, changing tradition in iconography (if not in rules). That’s why I wouldn’t expect the BAR and the Piedmontese images to be similar if they both arose before 1455.
I have two more quotes about Bessarion. Bear in mind that the matter of the "sumptuary edict" was the only clash Ady finds recorded between Sante and Bessarion, and it has to do with lavishness rather than content.
"When the Emperor Frederick III visited Bologna, in January 1452, Bessarion presented young Giovanni Bentivoglio to him for knighthood" (p. 49).
"When the Legate was called back to Rome in 1455 the people of Bologna wept as if they had lost a father. After his departure, the Popes, knowing the confidence which he inspired, frequently commended their proposals to the Sedici by saying that they were made in consultation with Bessarion. Sante showed his appreciation of his statesmanship when, a few years later, he advised Francesco Sforza to nominate him as the Milanese representative in the College of Cardinals.” [This last comes from the Milan Archives, Potenze Estere, Romagna, B161, 25 Feb. 1459.] (p. 50.)
Besides Bessarion, there were other humanists to go to for advice, perhaps less strict. The Bentivoglio were quick to defend the academics against suppression by the Church, as long as they supported the Bentivoglio. Here is Ady, writing about an event in 1491:
"Sometimes the speculations of the learned led their authors into heresy, as in the case of a doctor of medicine, Gabriele da Sala, in whose works the Dominican inquisitors detected thirty-four errors. He was saved from the stake by the intervention of Antongaleazzo and Allesandro Bentivoglio, and left the city for Florence, 'perhaps', says Fileno della Tuata, 'a greater heretic than before.'" (p. 183)
The university had an expert on palmistry, who practiced his trade with Giovanni II, and a whole department of astrology, of course. And when the Church persecuted the Jews of Bologna, it was the Bentivoglio who defended their rights (p. 188f).
Then there is Ginevra. Here are a few quotes about her:
"Ginevra had herself a direct interest in paper-making and printing, if we may judge from the description given by one Bolognese printer of his press, as situated in the 'edificio da carta della Illma Madonna Sforza di Bentivoglio." [Footnote: the printer is Ercole Nani, and the desciprion occurs in Diogene Laerzio's Vite dei filosophi
, published 14 Jan. 1494, see Sorbelli, Storia della stampa in Bologna
"In 1493 the Lent preacher was Girolamo Savonarola. According to the story told by Burlamacchi, he did not find favour with the Lady of Bologna, and she marked her displeasure by coming in late, with a crowd of ladies and attendants, and interrupting the sermon. When gentler methods failed, Savonarola rebuked her from the pulpit. Genevra, in revenge, sent assassins to attack him, but he was miraculously preserved from injury. The tale bears the mark of the hagiographer, but if, as is likely, Ginevra did not approve of Savonarola's preaching, she would certainly have made her opinion plain. Lent preachers, like ever one else in Bologna, were expected to increase the prestige and please the tastes of the Bentivoglio." (p. 183.)
"In 1498 Gentile Cimitri, the wife of a Bolognese notary, was burnt as a witch after sensational revelations as to her beliefs and powers. She had won the favour of Ginevra Bentivoglio owing to her reputation as a healer, and had been sent by her to Mantua to work a cure on her daughter Laura. It came to be believed that Gentile caused persons to fall ill in order to gain money by curing them. Bianca Rangoni and Sforza, the only son of Alessandro Bentivoglio, were held to have suffered at her hands, and she was reported to have had designs upon Messer Giovanni himself. On being examined by the Dominicans, she confessed to being as intimate with the devil as with her dearest friend, and said that, when she heard the priest reading the Gospel at Mass, she made answer to him with the words, 'You lie in your throat.' When the hour of her execution came, she mounted the scaffold on the Piazza with incredible confidence and went to her death undaunted. [Footnote: Ubaldini, Cronaca, f. 713, Fileno della Tuata, Cronaca, i. f. 337v, and Nadi, Diario Bolognese, p. 238, all contribute interesting details about Gentile Cimitri.] (p. 181f)
Obviously such a witch must have served the devil well, to be able to sicken people at a distance, In these witch-hunting times, there would seem to have been no need for a Trivulzio to conjure up the devil. The Dominicans did well enough by themselves. I observe that the heretic at the university was also in the field of medicine. Perhaps the physicians’ association colluded with the Inquisitors (although today they only jail people who use unorthodox methods).
Ginevra's problem, according to Ady, was that she could never get it through her head that in Bologna, a republic, there were no official aristocrats. There were only "first citizens for life"--and for the life of their first-born male heirs. “Bred in a Romagnol court,” Ady says, “she saw herself as the Lady of Bologna, and failed to appreciate the delicacy of her husband’s position as a citizen among citizens. In Bolognese opinion she was largely responsible for the prolonged persecution of the Malvessi, and hers was the motive force which provoked the attack on the Marescotti” (p. 148).
Of interest is a family portrait by Lorenzo Costa in the Church of S. Giocomo, ca. 1488 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... ta_006.jpg
, or a better one at http://cojicoviaggio.cocolog-nifty.com/ ... s-g-1.html
), from which I take the detail below). Ady says of it:
“Giovanni is represented with the long straggling hair and roughly moulded features which his other portraits have made familiar. He wears a citizen’s dress and his usual close-fitting cap. His general appearance is unkempt and unfinished, conveying an impression of irresolution, if not weakness. On the other hand, every detail of Ginevra’s portrait—her clear-cut features and firm mouth, the neat precision of her dress and the very pressure of her fingers against each other as she kneels in prayer—suggests brain and will acting in effective co-operation.” (p. 142)
So now I come to Bologna and Julius Caesar. When Sante came to Bologna, the letter-writer I quoted in a previous post compared his eloquence to Cicero's, who was the foe of the Caesars and defender of the Republic, at the cost of his life. And when Giovanni II successfully defended the city against Cesar Borgia, a medallion was cast. On one side was his profile. And:
“On the reverse Giovanni is seated, with an uplifted sword in his right hand, and in his left a model of Bologna, while the inscription records his defence of the city against the ‘pseudo-Caesar’.(Ady’s reference: Venturi, A., ‘Di un madaglista sconosciuta del Rinascimento’, Arhivia Storico del Arte
1888.] (p. 158)
Comparisons to Caesar (or Cesar)--assuming Ross's analysis of the Chariot card is right--were not compliments in the Bentivoglio’s republican Bologna.
Of course Trivulzio might not have known that. He also might not have known the sentiments of the city at that time. People were beginning to suspect the Bentivoglio of having destroyed their republic. In a downturn, it is easy to forget the rulers' positive side. They paid lip-service to the Republic, but the Bentivoglio had murdered or exiled some of the best minds and families of the city, all to establish their autocratic rule and satisfy personal whim. Their justice, temperance, and fortitude were wanting, and now they were paying the price. First they made an imprudent alliance with the French, destroying Italian unity against foreign invasion; and then they embarked on a foolish escapade (the sons’ armed attack on the city, at Ginevra’s urging) which only served to anger a people and Pope who might have saved them, as well as giving an excuse for the destruction that followed (Ady p. 200).
So a Chariot card with a French lily would have been an appropriate symbol, to show the Bentivoglio’s misplaced loyalties and delusions of grandeur, as Caesars who destroyed the Republic. Even if the flower were older than the alliance with France, a Florentine lily (or even a Bolognese lily dusted off and waved at their allies), it could now, in the hands of the unholy “Holy League,” be a symbol of Bentivoglio pretensions. (Or it could be a symbol of the foreign armies they invited in, if it appears very late in the sequence). So leave Sapientia to the priests, and see to your Fortuna, citizens of Bologna, I can imagine the new post-1512 rulers saying with their World card.
That one year of Bentivoglio rule, 1511-1512 (Ady p. 202), it seems to me, would not have been enough to establish such a deck as the BAR in the rocklike way that it was. But if the new rulers latched onto it as a morality lesson, in how the puffed-up ones fell, it didn’t matter when the images on the cards actually were introduced, whether by Trivulzi, by Giovanni earlier (but not, to be sure, before his glory days)--or later, by the new rulers.
“Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t’expel the winter’s flaw. “
The chronicler whom Ady quotes throughout her book can have the last word.. Here is Ady, speaking of 1512:
The devastation of the contado by foreign armies and the presence of soldiers within the city brought severe privation upon the city. Amid physical sufferings and spiritual misgivings Bologna was plunged in gloom, and the attempt of the Bentivoglio to cheer the people by running a palio to celebrate the anniversary of their return failed of its purpose. ‘Those feasted who should have wept for the destruction they have brought on our poor city,’ says Fileno della Tuata [footnote: Cronica della Citta di Bologna, Biblioteca Communale, Bologna, MSS 99, 100, ii, f. 212] (p. 204)