Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

An old thread, after 3 years.

I found a "Fasti christianae religionis" edition online, at the Beinecke Digital Collections. The book was of importance for Lazzarelli, who wrote it, and it filled his time in Rome after 1475.
Manuscript on parchment of 1) Dedication to Ferdinand of Aragon and to his son Alphonse, Duke of Calabria. 2) Dialogue between Lazarelli and his Muse. 3) Books 1-3 on methods of counting time, moveable feasts, the ages of the world, the Jewish patriarchs, popes (the latest, Paul II, 1464-71), etc. 4) Calendar of moveable feasts in 1476 and November-June of 1477. 5) Books 4-16, March through February, and final book entitled Iudicium. 6) Calendar, March through February, with two series per month, the first with Christian feasts, the second with agricultural, zodiacal and historical (Roman and Jewish) information. 7) Thirteen poems by others in honor of Lazarelli. Eleven poets are represented; most of those identified are associated with the Accademia Pomponiana in Rome in the 1480's.

The operation of the page has its problems, but you can see every page. The book has some illustrations, mostly referring to Christian festivities.

Lazzarelli and his Muse:


A longer more detailed description is at ... ... .ms391.htm
... of special importance to identify the persons, who added a laudatio for Lazzarelli


Of interest in this theme might be this report (by Angela Fritsen): ... li&f=false

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

A German article assumes an intensive relation between the astronomer (and printer) Regiomontanus and the printer (possibly also engraver) Konrad Sweynheim in the years 1473-1476: ... ?prozent=1
... the relevant passage starts at page 61

Wingen-Trennhaus, Angelika:
Regiomontanus als Frühdrucker in Nürnberg.
Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg 78 (1991), S. 17-87
Start of article at: ... 00032.html


Generally one might assume, that Regiomontanus, when he had been in Rome close to Bessarion in the 1460s, had already some insider knowledge about the printer activities in Subiaco.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

I found the above mentioned text, who indeed makes some relation between Sweynheim and Regiomontanus plausible (I've read the text meanwhile), with the help of Hans Gaab from Fürth (near Nuremberg), who is active in the research of local astronomy. ... sellschaft

He pointed also to a very nice star map from the year 1503, in which the planet Mercury is presented in a way, that one can decide, that it descended from the Mantegna Tarocchi Mercury (picture 42) ...

More from the Northern star map one finds here: ... 20base.htm

The Southern star map is here:

The strange feet from Mercury (bird feet) had been also used in the text of Conrad Celtis (1502)...

Image ... /te01.html

Mercury - with some logic, cause he can fly - is seen as a bird.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

Thanks to Hans Gaab I got also one of the remaining objects of the Danhauser/Wolgmut project 1493/97, which wasn't finally not realized with the suspected reason, that the expensive Schedel'sche Weltchonik didn't pay out and the new project had another too high risk.


My information says, that there were either c. 360 or 316 woodcuts made for this project. From a second source I know about the opinion, that c. 50 of them have been identified.
I knew only this one, a Philosophia with some similarity to the Mantegna Tarocchi Philosophy.


Now I know also this ...


Melpomene ... the relevant Mantegna Tarocchi looks this way:


Ich habe die Information:
Besitzvermerk: Wien, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Inv. Nr. D. I. 8,
fol. 92 2151/1949
Entnommen: Graphische Sammlung Albertina: Spielkarten. Ihre Kunst und
Geschichte in Mitteleuropa. Wien 1974, S. 221

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

Good job, Huck. Another question is: which "Mantegna" influenced what?

The Melpomene is more like the S series Melpomene XVII, in that she looks in the same direction in both:

The Philosophia is more like the E series Philosophia XXVIII, in that she looks the same direction in both.

However it was easy for engravers to reverse images, as they had to anyway on the plate.

I do not see enough similarity with Mercurio XXXXII and Luna XXXXI. It is not only because of Mercury's feet but because of the creatures on the staff. Luna is quite a bit different.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

The star map (1503) has 4 corners with 4 elements and with planets. It was later repeated by Dürer (1515), who didn't take the earler corner decoration.

Southern heaven (1515) ... 4.+Fassung

Northern heaven (1515) ... ternhimmel

The map of 1515 became the first printed star map, as I understood it.

The earlier star map (1503) wasn't made by Dürer, but by Conrad Heinfogel.
This was a pupil of Bernhard Walther, and Bernhard Walther cooperated in not clear manner with Regiomontanus (1471-75). Possibly as a sponsor in the beginning. After the death of Regiomontanus he proceeded with the work.

upper left = Ignis and Apollo + Mars
upper right = Aer and Saturnus + Venus
lower left = Terra and Pluto + Jupiter
lower right = Aqua and Mercurius + Luna

None of the planets looks like the Mantegna Tarocchi types, only the Mercurius to some degree

I think, that the Mantegna Tarocchi Mercury is not the original design, but taken from another context, likely from a mythological source ... or astrological.

This shall be from the Agrippa text: ... smans.html
Book 2, chapter 43
From the operations of Mercury, they made an Image at the hour of Mercury, Mercury ascending in Gemini, the form of which was an handsome young man, bearded, having in his left hand a rod in which a serpent is twyned about, in his right carrying a dart, having his feet winged; They report that this Image conferreth knowledge, eloquence, diligence in merchandizing and gain; moreover to beget peace and concord, and to cure feavers;

They made another Image of Mercury, Mercury ascending in Virgo, for good will, wit and memory; The form of which was a man sitting upon a chaire, or riding on a Peacock, having Eagles feet, and on his head a crest, and in his left hand holding a cock or fire.
Well, a sort of older astrology.

I remember to have seen another, likely earlier, Mercury in the Mantegna Tarocchi style in a French or Burgundian source. That's somehow lost.
The Mercury in the Eschecs Amoureux has similar symbols.


Should have been painted in the 1460s. Mercury as the killer of Argos with the 100 eyes. But not with bird's feet.

Argos and Io and Mercury are part of the Ovid stories. Perhaps one should consider this.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

The Mercury picture (below) from De deorum imaginibus libellus / Albrici / Reg. Lat. 1290 (c. 1400) has strange feet (at least), possibly also understood as bird's feet.

That's the third picture, that I found for the theme "Mercury with bird's feet". Would be nice to know more of them.

Bird's feet are quite common for devils, especially Tarot devils. Devils are naturally somehow "bad guys", but one has some problems to assume from Mercury, that e should be a bad guy.



Two of these "Mercury with bird's feet" are from Nuremberg, called Nürnberg in German language. This is a city in the German region "Franken", elsewhere known as "Franconia".

This is the second, also from a Nuremberg context (1502 ... so close to the star map of 1503):


"Franconia" should be the place, where the "Fränkische Losbuch" found to some existence, the oldest of the texts, which led to my occupation with the theme "The Pope and the Donkey".

The Fränkische Losbuch (estimated to be from 1425-50) contains a sort of astrology, in which birds - somehow - seem to have been presented "planets". It uses a system of 22x22x22x22 elements.
One of the 22-groups contains 13 zodiac signs (1-13; 12 normal zodiac signs + a bird - a crow), 5 others, which I take as planets (14-18; 4 birds and a camel), 2, which I take as animals for sun + moon (19-20; a dog and stag) and 2, which present Emperor and Pope (accompanied by hare + donkey).

The problem "Mercury with bird's feet" observed in Nuremberg 1502/03 remembered myself on the lot book made in Franconia some time earlier.
Nuremberg had been clearly a city wth persons interested in astronomy, at least since the time of Regiomontans, when he founded a publishing house there for astronomical topic 1471-75. Nuremberg might have been a city with astronomical interests before, but my knowledge is limited in this question. I just remember, that Johann the alchemist, father of Barbara of Brandenburg, who married to Mantova around 1437, had ideas in this directions and some relation to Nuremberg.,_Marg ... g-Kulmbach

In my opinion (and my theory to the Fränkische Losbuch) the idea, that birds present "planets" had been very old, possibly going to the Greek time 400 BC.


Further I observed a later love of astronomers to birds.

This star map ... ... c_1730.jpg
... from 1730 and from a man, who was born in Nuremberg, Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr, ...
... shows many birds as star pictures at the Southern heaven.

I was surprized by so much birds, and studied their origin.

Corvus, the crow, is an old star picture.
Tukan is still a star picture, was invented by Johannes Bayer in 1603. A man from Augsburg, so not too far from Nuremberg.
Grus (crane) is still a star picture and was also invented by Johannes Bayer.
Phoinix is still a star picture and Bayer took it from Keyser and Houtman.
Pavo (peacock), close to Indus, is still a star picture and Bayer took it from Keyser and Houtman.

Another source gives this context:

Keyser and Houtman, on the request of an astronomer Petrus Plancius, observed many Southern Stars during an exploration journey 1595-97. All these observations were put together by Johannes Bayer in his Uranometria. "This was the first atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere."

On this 12 new constellations were formed:
"Twelve constellations in the southern hemisphere that were first described by Johann Bayer in his 1603 star atlas Uranometria. They are Apus (the Bird of Paradise), Chamaeleon, Dorado (the Goldfish), Grus (the Crane), Hydrus (the Lesser Water Snake), Indus (the Indian), Musca (the Fly), Pavo (the Peacock), Phoenix (the Firebird), Triangulum Australe the Southern Triangle, Tucana (the Toucan), and Volans (the Flying Fish)."

A lot of flying objects, inclusive Musca, the fly, and Volans, the flying fish. The old collection of star pictures based on the data used by Ptelomy had only 4 flying objects of 48.

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

Recently I introduced ...
Huck wrote:I got a contact to Detlef Markmann, author of a dissertation in 1998 called "Kontinuität und Innovation am ferraresischen Hof zur Zeit Leonello d´Estes (1407-1450)". His work was based on studies, which he made at a stay at Ferrara 1991-95.
It contains a longer article about playing cards in Ferrara, mainly based on Franceschini material. Ortalli had published his "Prince and the playing cards" in 1996. Markmann didn't know this publication. His own report to Ferrarese playing cards is rather good (pages 187 - 203; especially as one has to consider, that there are not really useful books about Tarot History in German language; but, anyway, dissertations usually don't reach the common Tarot market).
Markmann (p. 183/184) offered also the famous letter of Guarino, which is frequently mentioned in the theme "Muses production in Ferrara".
[ 5 November 1447, presented first at Sabbadini, Epistolario, No. 808]

„Guarinus Veronensis principi et domino singulari d. Leonello Estensi sal. pl. d. Princeps illustrissime et domine singularis. Cum praeclaram vereque magnificam in pingendis musis cogitationem tuam nuper ex litteris tuae dominationes intellexerim, laudanda erat merito ista principe digna inventio, non vanis aut lascivis referta figmentis; sed extendendus fuisset calamus et longius quam expectas volumen dilatandum, deque musarum numeros ratio evolenda, de qua multi varios fecere sermones. Sunt qui tres, sunt qui quatuor, sunt qui quinque, sunt qui novem esse contendant. Omissis reliquis sequamur hos extremos qui novem fuisse dicunt. De ipsis igitur summatim intelligendum est musas notiones quasdam et intelligentias esse, quae humanis studiis et industria varias actiones et opera excogitaverunt, sic dictas quia omnia inquirant vel quia ab omnibus inquirantur: cum ingentia sit hominibus sciendi cupiditas. Musuai enim graece indagare dicitur; mousai igitur indagatrices dicantur. Clio itaque historiarum rerumque ad famam et vetustatem pertinentium inventrix; quocirca altera manu tubam, altera librum teneat; vestis variis coloribus figurisque multimodis inexta, qualiter sericos videmus pannos consuetudine prisca. Thalia unam in agricultura partem repperit, quae de agro plantando est, ut et nomen indicat a germinando veniens, idcirco arbusculas varias manibus gestet; vestis esto floribus foliisque distuncta. Erato coniugalia curat vincula et amoris officia recti; haec aduluscentulum et aduluscentulam utriusque media teneat, utrisque manus, imporito anulo, copulans. Euterpe tibiarum repertrix chorago musica gestandi instrumenta gestum docentis ostendat, vultus hilaris adsit in primus, ut origo vocabuli probat.

Melpomene cantum vocumque melodiam excogitavit; eapropter liber ei sit in manibus musicis annotatus signis.
Terpsichore saltandi normas edidit motusque pedum in deorum sacrificiis frequentur usitatos; ea igitur circa se saltantes pueros ac puellas habeat, gestum imperantis ostendens.

Polymnia culturam invenit agrorum, haec succinta ligones et seminis vasa disponat, manu spicas uvarumque racemos baiulans. Urania astrolabium tenens caelum supra caput stellatum contempletur, cuius rationes excogitavit idest astrologiam.

Calliope doctrinarum indagatrix et poeticae antistes vocemque reliquiis praebens artibus coronam ferat lauream, tribus compacta vultibus, cum hominum, semideorum ac deorum naturam edisserat. Scio plerosque fore qui alia musarum signent officia quibus Terentianum respondebo illud: »quot capita, tot sententiae.« Bene vale, princeps magnanime decusque musarum, et Manuelis fili negotium et labores commendatos ut habeas supplix oro. E Ferrara v novembris 1447. Unum obsecro suppliciter a benignitate tua, ut si quas scribi iusseris ad regiam maiestatem, intime Hieronymum filium commendare digneris illi; id erit grandis beneficii loco. Vale.“

Addition: MOUSAI/

„Clio. Historiis famamque et facta vetusta reservo./

Thalia. Plantandi leges per me novere coloni./

Erato. Connubia et rectos mortalibus addit amores./

Euterpe. Tibia concentus hac paemonstrante figurat./

Melpomene. Haec vivos cantus et dulcia carmina format./

Terpsichore, Ista chorus aptat saltus ad sacra deorum./
Polymnia. Haec docuit segetes acuens moralia corda./

Urania. Signa poli, varias naturas monstro viasque./

Calliope.Materiam vati et vocem concedo sonantem.“/

Addition: Guarini carmina de musis/

„Esse Iovis natas cecinere poemata musas,/ Nanque hominum rebus dextras deus obtulit artes./ Instruit historiis mortales vivere Clio./ Tempora plantandi docuit legesque Thalia./ Euterpe monstrat quas fundat tibia voces./ Melpomene exponit varios distinquere cantus./ Terpsichore oblectat dehinc lumina nostra choreis./ Conubiis Erato gratos moderatur amores./ Ostendit sulcos segetesque Polymnia vitae./ Urania polos docet et portenta polorum./ Calliope vates ornat vocesque serenat.“
Markmann translated the letter to German language.

„Erlauchter Prinz. Als ich kürzlich durch euren Brief von dem edlen und wahrhaft großartigen Vorhaben,
die Musen zu malen, erfahren habe, war es für mich ein inneres Anliegen, daß ich diese eure
eines Prinzen würdige Idee aufnehme, auf daß die Musen nicht mit sinnlosen und ausschweifenden
Figuren geschmückt werden. Aber mein Federkiel sollte nun von sich geben, (was ich in Erfahrung
bringen konnte), denn die Quellen wurden ausgiebig befragt, mehr als du es erwartet hast, und ein
System hinsichtlich der unterschiedlichen Darstellungen und von der Anzahl der Musen liegt nun
Einige sagen, es seien drei, andere nennen fünf, wieder anderer sprechen von neun Musen, lassen
wir die ersten beiden beiseite und folgen denen, die von neun Musen sprechen. Wer oder was sind
die Musen? Ich will die Frage kurz beantworten.
Die Musen sind die Konzepte und Vorstellungen verschiedener Aktivitäten und Künste, die durch
menschliches Bestreben und Fleiß erdacht wurden. Sie wurden entweder so genannt, weil sie nach
Erkenntnissen spüren oder weil sie von den Menschen begehrt wurden, gemäß dem Wunsch nach
Wissen, der den Menschen eingeboren ist. (...) Somit ist Clio die Entdeckerin der Geschichte und
der Dinge, die zum Ruhm und zur Antike gehören. Aus diesem Grund laß sie eine Trompete in der
einen und ein Buch in der anderen Hand halten. Verschiedene Farben und Muster sollen in ihre
Kleidungsstücke eingewoben werden, die nach dem antiken Modebewußtsein aus Seide gefertigt
Thalia entdeckte einen Teil der Landwirtschaft, und ihr Interesse gilt der Bepflanzung des Landes.
(...) Sie soll verschiedene Setzlinge in ihrer Hand halten, ihre Gewänder sind mit Blumen und Laub
Für die Ehe und die wahre Liebe steht Erato. Laßt sie je auf einer Seite einen jungen Mann und eine
junge Frau halten. Gebt ihnen Ringe auf ihre Finger und laßt sie sich gegenseitig bei den Händen
Euterpe, die Entdeckerin der Flöten, soll im Gestus der Lehrenden dargestellt werden, die einen
Musiker unterrichtet, der Musikinstrumente trägt. Ihr Gesicht sollte besonders heiter sein, was im
Ursprung ihres Namen begründet liegt.
Melpomene erfand sowohl das Lied wie auch die Melodie, deshalb muß sie ein Buch mit Notationen
in ihren Händen tragen.
Terpsichore begründete die Tanzregeln und die Schrittfolgen, die oft zur Huldigung Gottes benutzt
werden, deshalb sollen um sie herum tanzende Jungen und Mädchen sein. Sie selbst sollte dabei eine
dirigierende Haltung einnehmen.
Polymnia entdeckte die Felderwirtschaft, sie soll umgürtet sein und Hacken und Vasen mit Saatgut
anordnen. In ihrer Hand trägt sie Ähren und Weintrauben.
Urania soll ein Astrolabium halten und aufmerksam den Himmel über ihrem Kopf beobachten, da
sie die Entdeckerin der Astrologie ist.
Calliope, die Sucherin der Wahrheit und die Wächterin der Kunst der Steine, die gleichzeitig immer
die Fürsprecherin der anderen Künste war, soll eine Lorbeerkrone tragen sowie drei Gesichter in einem,
die die Natur der Menschen, der Helden und der Götter verkörpern sollen.
Ich bin mir bewußt, daß viele den Musen andere Funktionen zusprechen werden. Ihnen antworte
ich mit einer Bemerkung des Terenz quot capita, tot sententiae. Lebewohl mein generöser Prinz, Stolz
der Musen, und schaue gnädig auf die Angelegenheiten und Arbeiten meines Sohnes Manuel. Ferrara,
den 5. November 1447."
Markmann presents the information, that Angelo Maccagnino (= Angelo Parrasio = Angelo da Siena or Parrasio) had been responsible for the first realisation of the Muses (we had this information).. Further he mentioned, that arrasio had student of Rogier van Weyden ... I don't remember this detail in our earlier studies (maybe I'm in error about it).
Researching this I detected, that Murray Mencies, once active in our email-group LTarot especially to the questions of the Mantegna Tarocchi and the painter Parrasio, has published a book "The Q MOTIF in RENAISSANCE ART" ... ... navlinks_s

Markmann notes, that according Pardi (Giuseppe Pardi, Leonello d'Este marchese di Ferrara, Bologna 1904) Rogier von Weyden had been in Ferrara in 1449 and sold a picture to Leonello (Markmann doubts that, and points to the possibility, that the picture might have been sold by an art trader, and not by Rogier van Weyden himself). Leonello showed two Muses pictures from Parrasio and a Ritratto of Rogier van Weyden to Cyriaco d'Ancona in 1449. From the description of this visit it's known, that Muses picture production had started.

Markmann notes, that Leonello had also asked Theodoros Gaza for advice in the the painting of the Muses. He notes, that Gaza had been Rektor of the University in 1444 (and otherwise occasionally teaching Greek in Ferrara (noted 1447 and 1475, but he hadn't been in Ferrara all the time; according my researches).

Re: The "Mantegna": 1450's Bologna?

British Museum ... ... more-views
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 7 recto (drawing numbered 13): Four figures copied from the Ferrarese pack of so-called Tarot cards, labelled 'melpomene','theologia', 'musica' and 'poesia'
Folio 7 verso (drawing numbered 14): Four draped male figures, two in flying positions
Recto: black chalk, coloured wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured), a blur of red wash on 'Poesia'
Verso: black chalk, pen and black ink (?), touches of yellow wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured)

Inscriptions: Inscription Content
Recto: inscribed in black chalk ' melpomene' and 'teologia' under the upper figures; cut off inscription along bottom edge, at left 'musica'? and 'poesia'? on the right. Numbered '13' in pen and brown ink at upper right corner. Verso: Numbered '14' in pen and brown ink at upper left corner, cut off, only '4' visible

made c. 1530-40

Curator's comments:
For comment on the album to which this sheet belongs, see 1862,0712.394.f. 7 recto (no. 13)
The figures on this and the previous sheet are a very free derivation from the so called "Tarocchi del Mantegna", a very successful cycle of engravings elaborated in Ferrara by an anonymous engraver known as Master E. It is difficult to establish weather these drawings are preparatory for the frescoes of the Sala dell'Astronomia in Minerbio, as suggested by Bober (1957, pp. 10, 79), or weather they are a rielaboration of the prints then used at a later stage in the frescoes with even more liberty, as tentatively suggested by Faietti-Scaglietti (1995, p. 84). A connection to the frescoes would in any case fit well with the dating of this drawing-book (1535-40) and the possibility that also the previous sheets are connected to the frescoes in Castello Isolani in Minerbio (see entries 1862,0712.394-398). See both Bober and Faietti-Scaglietti for further comments about the iconography of the figures and the most recent contribution by Scaglietti in the Bologna exhibition catalogue (2008-09, pp. 248-51).
On this drawing are 'Melpomene' (B. XIII.134.34; BM 1895,0915.17), and 'Theologia' (B. XIII.127.47, BM 1845,0825.323) at the top, 'Musicha' (B.XIII.126.43; BM 1845,0825.315) and 'Poesia' (B.XIII.126.44; BM 1845,0825.317) at the bottom. According to Bober (cit.) Melpomene is a study for the same figure frescoed in Castello Isolani in Minerbio, while Scaglietti (cit., p. 250) refers to the drawing only to confirm the iconography of the subject in the fresco.Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957; M. Faietti - D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena 1995; D. Scaglietti Kelescian in 'Amico Aspertini. Artista bizzarro nell'età di Dürer e Raffaello', exhibition catalogue Bologna 2008-09.f. 7 verso (no. 14)
As observed by Bober (1957, pp. 79-80), the four figures are strongly foreshortened as if hovering in the air and they could be a study for a ceiling decoration. She further suggests that this composition and the one on the following drawing (1862,0712.401 recto), as a general impression, bring to mind the figures accompanying God in Michelangelo's 'Conversion of St. Paul'. This could be a problematic comparison, considering the present drawing book is generally believed to date between 1535 and 1540, while the frescoes date 1542-50.Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957.
Amico Aspertini

Rocca Isolani in Minerbio
... we had this earlier, see No. 3 at ...

La Rocca Isolani di Minerbio fu edificata all’inizio del Trecento e successivamente ricostruita nel Quattrocento a seguito di un incendio. Nel 1527 venne saccheggiata dai Lanzichenecchi imperiali sulla strada del Sacco di Roma e perciò rimaneggiata e ampliata con l’adiacente Villa negli anni immediatamente successivi su disegno del Vignola, proprio per ospitare nel 1530 l’imperatore Carlo V per la sua incoronazione a Bologna. Del 1536 è, sempre del Vignola, l’elegante Colombaia con il suo eccezionale piano inclinato in forma elicoidale.
Altro grandissimo vanto della Rocca Isolani sono gli affreschi di Aspertini, realizzati fra il 1538 e il 1542, in tre ambienti della Rocca: la Sala di Marte, la Sala dell’Astronomia e la Sala di Ercole. Queste sale sono state aperte al pubblico per la prima volta nel 2008, in occasione della importante mostra dedicata a Bologna ad Amico Aspertini, di cui la visita alla Rocca di Minerbio ha costituito uno dei punti di eccellenza. ... e-e-storia

Aspertini album ... id=1490688