Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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I'm not very frequent in Forum visits, so its only now I remarked this over 1 year old discussion. The same coat of arms is in use since almost 1000 years for the Comune of Florence. Starting 1250 is was added on the banner of the Capitano del Popolo, the highest elected leader of the population. The Palazzo Vecchio, that housed the government of Florence, was constructed around 1300. On the facade of this palace are painted nine coats of arms, including this one. It is represented white at the left side and red at the right side, but like in Bergamo, both types could be used. This coat of arms can be found all over the historical center of Florence, most of the times white red, but also sometimes red white. I was a couple of years ago in Florence and made a lot of photos of these coat of arms, that I regretfully lost because of a defect memory card. However, my theory by that time was that the Visconti Sforza deck was created in 1454 to commemorate the Peace of Lody, that made, thanks to the help of Cosimo di Medici, end to a long war between Venice and Milan. In my theory the coats of arms of the Comune of Florence are used three times in this deck to express thanks for the help of Florence. I discussed this subject some years ago on the following page of my website: https://tarotwheel.net/structure/the%20 ... night.html

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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hi Iolon,

in your article you finish with "For this reason I also believe that the Visconti Sforza cards (70 cards, 5 suits of 14 cards) were made in the same year, in 1454."
A peace was also concluded during the emperor wedding in Italy in early 1452, but it started to vanish already in the course of April 1452. In October 1452 we have a Sforza letter related to a deck for Sigismondo Malatesta, and possibly there was another related letter already at the end of 1451 or 1452 (according Pizzagalli).
1452 [November – Sigismondo Malatesta requests cards of Bianca Maria Visconti Sforza, recounted by Daniela Pizzagalli]:
"Gran parte del suo [Bianca Maria's] tempo era anche occupato dalla corrispondenza, perché aveva contatti personali con tutte le corti. Intratteneva carteggi paralleli spesso ricchi di argomenti che esulavano dalla politica: significativa, ad esempio, la richiesta che ricevette da Sigismondo Malatesta, nel novembre 1452, di un mazzo dale famose carte da trionfi miniate, vanto dell'artigianato cremonese…. Di far realizzare un mazzo di carte per il Malatesta, Bianca Maria non aveva affatto voglia, anzi temeva di non saper mascherare abbastanza la sua invincibile ostilità contro di lui, tanto che, quando Francesco ordino personalmente i tarocchi a Cremona, lei, ringraziando per averle `levato questa fatica dalla mano' gli sottopose il testo della risposta a Sigismondo autorizzando il marito ad apportarvi modifiche."
[Pizzagalli 1988:129]

Preliminary translation
(by Ross Gregory Caldwell)
A large part of her time was also occupied in written correspondence, she having personal contact with the whole court. At the same time she maintained correspondence rich in subjects outside of politics: shown, for example, in the request which she received from Sigismondo Malatesta, in November 1452, for a pack of the famous hand-painted trump cards from the highly praised artisans of Cremona … Bianca Maria did not have the slightest desire to have a deck of cards made for Malatesta, on the contrary she feared of not knowing how to disguise enough her undying hostility for him, so much that when Francesco personally ordered the tarocchi at Cremona, she thanked him for “lifting this burden off my hands”, in the text of her response to Sigismondo, authorizing her husband to make modifications.
http://www.trionfi.com/0/e/r71/08.html
Ross Caldwell found recently in Emilio Motta's work the following letter from "Cichus" (= Francesco Simonetta, in 1452 secretary of Francesco Sforza and writing in the name of Francesco Sforza) to Antonio Trecco, treasurer. Both persons appear also in the Francesco Sforza Trionfi documents of December 1450 in a similar adminstrative function. The letter relates to a Trionfi card deck for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and was written at October 28 in the year 1452.
Francesco Sforza was in this time at a fortress in Calvisano (about 30 km in Southern direction from Brescia) and rather objectively he was just engaged in the war against Venice, which broke out in the mid of the year 1452. For the following November 1452 three battles are recorded in Manerbio, Asola and Gottolengo, all in the range of 12-20 km from Calvisano. Calvisano belonged to Sforza and Milan since 1451, but it was given back to the control of Venice after the peace of Lodi 1454. Sforza's many letters from Calvisano between October 22 and November 14 make assume, that Sforza used the small town as his provisional war capital for 3 weeks.

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http://trionfi.com/0/et/p/malatesta-1452.jpg
http://trionfi.com/etx-sigismondo-pandolfo-malatesta

There were other notes with similar content, who spoke of 1451 without clear reference, I remember.

Naturally it is possible, that Sforza was related to Trionfi card productions in 1451, 1452 and 1454. From Florentine records we know, that Trionfi card productions had a peak in these years.
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http://trionfi.com/0/es/p/x-deals-01.jpg


http://trionfi.com/naibi-aquired
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Hi Huck,
Do you really think that Francesco Sforza would order a Trionfi deck for the Malalesta deck full of Visconti and Sforza symbols and none of the Malatesta family ? This seems extremebly improbable for me. With the shields representing possibly the coat of arms of the Comune of Florence I think that my theory is much more plausible.

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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... :-) ... I don't know.
The most noble known version of PMB was found in the Colleoni family possession. From Isabella d'Este it was known, that she collected playing cards. From Hartmann Schedel in Nuremberg it is known, that he had a graphical collection and playing cards were between his objects. Lazzarelli bought graphic in shops of Venice and between these were also objects, which are found in the Mantegna Tarocchi.
I can imagine, that Malatesta got Trionfi cards with Sforza-Visconti heraldic.
I can imagine, that Malatesta got Trionfi cards similar to PMB with free place for Malatesta heraldic.

For the younger Visconti-Sforza Karten (Victoria-Albert, von Bartsch, Rosenthal etc.) I feel sure, that these were ordered by Isabella d'Este, who was involved in the reinstallment of the Sforza power in 1512 in the person of Massimilano Sforza. In one case of the fragmentary the Visconti Viper was exchanged by a Croatian shield with chessboard design, likely this was done for a Croatian general, who had helped in the fight against France. Also the ace of coins was exchanged against the ace of coins in the Rosenthal with an alternative person.

Added: In this context it's of interest that the Sforza Emperor card had strong similarities to portraits of Sigismondo, the Emperor and that Sigismondo Malatesta had a picture from himself together with Emperor Sigismondo.
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Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Hi Huck,
The Visconti Sforza deck is an extremely costly deck that has been made by a very skilled artist. I cannot believe that Francesco Sforza made this magnificent deck for another family. There were lots of cheaper Trionfi decks in different qualities. I'm convinced he ordered a less expensive deck for the Malatesta family and that the so called Visconti Sforza deck was exposed in the Sforzesco castle. The emperor Sigismund had stayed in Milan in 1433 a couple of days when he was on his way to be crowned as an emperor in Rome. We do not need Sigismondo Malatesta (who at only 16 years old was made knight of the emperor during this visit by the futur emperor) to justify the presence of Emperor Sigismond on a Visconti deck. By the way, Sigismund did not appear on the Visconti Sforza deck but he can be identified on the 1441 Visconti di Modrone deck.

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Well,
Kaplan I, p. 63, has the info, that the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, and the Casa Colleoni, also Bergamo, possess parts of the PMB; Casa Colleoni 26 cards the Accademia 13. As far I know, nobody knows how and when the cards arrived in Bergamo.

Here are 26 cards ...
https://bergamo.corriere.it/notizie/cul ... 70d2.shtml
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Here's a report of a family member (architect Nicolò Colleoni) ...
https://www.bergamonews.it/2015/12/12/q ... zo/210805/

I made a google translation of the most important part ...
"The complete Visconti-Sforza tarot deck came to my family by inheritance at the beginning of the nineteenth century and since then it bears our name to distinguish it from the other Visconti tarot series. This deck was illuminated in Cremona in the mid-fifteenth century by the workshop of Bonifacio Bembo on commission from Francesco Sforza, the new duke of Milan, or his wife Bianca Maria Visconti. The recipient of the deck is not known, but it is very likely that it was used directly by some members of the Sforza family and that it was kept in the city of Cremona, where before the end of the fifteenth century it was restored by Antonio Cicognara. At this point we have almost three centuries of oblivion, until the tarots re-emerge at the end of the eighteenth century in Bergamo, in the hands of the Ambiveri counts. It is not known how they came into their possession,but it is possible that they were collected by the canonical count Antonio Maria Ambiveri (1727-1782) who was a famous scholar, antiquarian and bibliophile of his time. On his death the collection passed to his younger brother Ferrante with whom the family died out. Their female heirs were the noble Donati who a few years later, in turn, became extinct in the Colleoni."

Question: The "Colleoni" cards are now preserved in three different locations. When did the deck dismemberment take place?

"The deck, in its entirety, remained in the possession of the Colleoni family until the end of the nineteenth century, so jealously guarded that only a few relatives and friends were aware of it. The noble Francesco Baglioni (1836-1900), who was a refined Bergamo collector, as well as president of the Commissioner of the Carrara Academy, accidentally discovered that these cards belonged to my family and long courted my great-great-grandfather finally convincing him to a first split: 26 cards in exchange for other art objects, including the portrait of a Colleoni ancestor. On the death of Baglioni, his entire art collection, including the tarot cards, flowed into the Carrara Academy as a testamentary bequest. The part of the deck that was left to the family, however, was subjected to a second dismemberment in 1911,when another 35 cards were sold to the famous American collector and banker John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), founder of the homonymous New York library-museum and one of the richest man in the world."
According https://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bambive.html Ambiveri had mostly been in Bergamo and he had the rank of an auxiliary bishop of Bergamo.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Hi Huck,
Sorry, but I miss the point. I do not see any link between the actual city where the Visconti Sforza deck arrived at the end of the 18th Century, probably from Cremona, and the occasion for which the deck has been made. The coat of arms of Bergamo is red and gold, not red and white as on the cards. This has been emphasized in previous discussions on the forum. I have seen the cards in Bergamo and they are stunningly beautiful, all what is gold on the different cards has kept its original lustre trough the ages. The lighter parts of the coats of arms present in this collection where definitively not covered with gold. So it is excluded that they represent the coat of arms of Bergamo. I still stick with my theory that they represent the coat of arms of the Comune of Florence

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Forentiner Lilie

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florentiner_Lilie
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Florentine flag
One theory surrounding the origins of the flag can be traced back to founding of the city during the Roman Empire in 59 BC. The founding of the city during the period of the celebrations for the Roman goddess Flora led to flowers, in particular the iris, being celebrated as a symbol of Florence.[1] Another explanation for the adoption of the flag stems from the abundance of the flower Iris florentina around the city.[1]
The usage of red and white on the flag may possibly have derived from the coat of arms of Hugh, Margrave of Tuscany (969–1001), who adopted a palleted shield of alternating red and white vertical stripes.[2]
Despite the ambiguity surrounding the origins of the giglio, by the 11th century the powerful Florentine Ghibellines family had adopted a coat of arms bearing a white giglio on a field of red, resulting in the symbol becoming associated with the city.[1] However, in 1250 the Ghibellines family were defeated and exiled by their rival family, the Guelps.[3]
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The continued use of the white giglio on a red field by the exiled Ghibellines led to the Guelps family inverting the colours of the city, creating a flag bearing a red giglio on a white background.[4] The symbol was then used extensively in the city, being adorned on multiple public buildings whilst the flag was flown atop many others. The giglio was also featured in other ways, such as featuring on the shield of Marzocco, the heraldic lion symbol which came to personify Florence in the 14th century. The best known depiction of the giglio and Marzocco can be found in Piazza della Signoria, which was created some time between 1418 and 1420 by Donatello.
The new symbol of Florence came to be used throughout the city and beyond as a symbol of Florentine power and strength.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Florence

St. George's Cross
In heraldry, Saint George's Cross, also called the Cross of Saint George, is a red cross on a white background, which from the Late Middle Ages became associated with Saint George, the military saint, often depicted as a crusader.
Associated with the crusades, the red-on-white cross has its origins in the 10th century. It was used as the ensign of the Republic of Genoa perhaps as early as during the 10th century.
The red-on-white cross used extensively across Northern Italy as the symbol of Bologna, Padua, Reggio Emilia, Mantua, Vercelli, Alessandria, is instead derived from another flag, called the "Cross of Saint Ambrose", adopted by the Commune of Milan in 1045.[1]
The symbol was adopted by the Swabian League in the pre-Reformation Holy Roman Empire.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George%27s_Cross

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St. George and the Dragon
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I thought, that you spoke of red cross on white on the lover card.
But the Lover card of PMB has no symbol of that kind.
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The Cary-Yale card has it on the Lover card ... and it is a white cross red. True, this seems to have been once in Florence. But the Cary-Yale was ordered by Filippo Maria Visconti, who hadn't the best relations to Florence.

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Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Arms identification in Visconti-Sforza

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Hi Huck, this is a part of the facade of the Palazzo Vecchio. From left to right we have the cross of San Giovanni, the patron saint of the city of Florenze and the Giglio, the most well known symbol of Florence, that also exists as a white lily on a red shield. On the right the coat of arms of the Comune of Florence and Fiesole. In 1010 Florence destroyed the city of Fiesole and many of its inhabitants came living in Florence. The coat of arms of Fiesole was a pale blue moon on a white shield. After the two citied merged it was suggested to merge also the two coat of arms. From the white shield of Fiesole the blue moon was removed and from the red shield of Florence the white lily. The result is the shield here above half white and half red. As I told you before the other way around was also in use, on the left red and on the right side white. So this became the coat of arms of the Comune of Florence and Fiesole. In 1250 the government of Florence included the office of the Capitano del Popolo, the highest government official elected by the citizens of Florence. This coat of arms became part of the banner of the Capitano del Popolo, and it is this coat of arms with reversed colors that we find in the Visconti Sforza deck on the ace of coins and on the knights of batons and swords. The Palazzo Vecchio dates from around 1300. Much more details are given on the following web page:
https://chris-dobson.com/heraldry-of-fl ... cchio.html