What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

Hi everyone. I'm glad to have found this community.

I would love to talk to someone about this: I've been looking at the faces in the Marseille deck (not sure if it's 1 or 2, I'm new to this) for a while now.

I can't take out of my head that the Papesse's eyes are visibly different from one another, in a manner that I would like to think is unique to this card (in drawing or shape, whatever you wanna call it). I made this amateurish compilation of the notable faces in the deck:
I know the artist isn't concerned at all with the perfection of this detail, but even if some of the other card's eyes may look uneven -- mainly the Pope, Hercules-Amoureux, Hermit, Devil --, I still think there's something here. The thickness of the shadow or eyelids on one of the eyes as opposed to the other is just too *there*. This difference almost seems to represent and unify her opposing severe (Noblet) or fake-innocent (Conver) look.

Actually there's an image that comes to mind of someone with uneven (severe and innocent) eyes who's also holding a book.:
These are my ramblings! Tell me what you think.

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?


I saw your faces picture here ...
https://ne-np.facebook.com/groups/14570 ... 408521592/
The connected text is also rather similar.
There were thousands of different Tarot artists in the last 600 years. It is not surprizimg, that there are many differences in the single motifs. It's more interesting , if one find strong similarities as in the case of the many Marseille Tarots.
.... :-) ... are you really sure, that the men with beards were intended to present the figure of a Popess?

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

I don't think salespúrio meant to say that men with beards were intended to be Popesses, or the figure of Christ was really that of a popess, or vice versa, but rather that there was something in common about the eyes between the two images, in particular sacredness in general and severity and the appearance of innocence in particular, qualities which we don't tend to put together, but perhaps should in the case of some sacred figures. Also something about the eyelids and shadows of one eye compared to another. I don't know if salespúrio finds all of these in the painting of Christ. And I also don't understand whether he or she means to say that in some Tarot de Marseille Popesses innocence and severity are unified, one eye for each, or only that some, such as Noblet, are severe and others, like Conver, suggest "fake innocence."

He shows us faces, but what deck are they from? There are many Tarot de Marseille Popesses, often with slight variations. Some are no older than the 20th century. A good rule of thumb is that if the colors look fresh, they probably are - and you are not dealing with a historical image. For example, Jodorowsky's deck is not a historic Tarot de Marseille, but a computer-generated creation combining details from many historic decks (search "Jodorowsky" in this Forum) as well as his or Camoin's own sense of what the card should look like. They are particularly creative when it comes to faces, in my opinion - and quite shameless about claiming that they have the "true" Tarot de Marseille, which others then repeat. I have to admit, I was fooled at first, taking what Internet sites said was "Tarot of Marseille" at face value. Your images look like theirs, or maybe one of their followers, such as Ben-Dov (which is closer to Conver). Likewise for Paul Marteau, 1935. Also, for Noblet, for such small details as eyes, you should go with the version with faded colors, which Flornoy put on his website alongside his reconstructions. Even better, download the BnF images (search "Gallica Noblet Tarot") - and the same for other Tarot de Marseille's (search "Gallica Conver Tarot," for example. They are fairly high resolution - that does make a difference sometimes.

For the TdM1/TdM2 distinction, which you really need to know about, see Thierry Depaulis at
https://www.academia.edu/8119803/Thierr ... es_Part_II.
Part I of the same essay discusses various TdMs. The only new one I know of (new to us, I mean) is Vachier, for which search "Vachier" in this Forum. Among them, there are many different ways of drawing the eyes. And likewise the eyes in the other cards in the same deck. So what TdMs do you want to make your claim of? And is it the eyes, or the whole expression, including the mouth and the tilt of the face? And the color: white makes the face look mask-like, i.e. fake. The blue marks you (or someone) have added don't help.

One handy place to compare numerous examples of TdMIIs is at https://tarot-de-marseille-heritage.com ... llery.html. He has one TdMI, Payen, at https://tarot-de-marseille-heritage.com ... n1713.html. These are still reconstructions, although good ones. Other productions, identified by name of the card maker, approximate date, place, and other identifying information, can be found on the Web - but you have to be careful.

That said, it would be good if you could find images of female sacred figures with these same qualities and eyes, such as saints or abbesses, as opposed to bearded males - although more examples of bearded males are better than nothing. De Gebelin, 1781, associated the Popess with a generic abbess (search "abbess" on this Forum): severity? Some have associated her with the Virgin Mary: innocence? Both identifications (and they are not mutually exclusive) support you. (Then for "fake" there is the Pope Joan interpretation.) In how many female figures, and Popesses, do you find the qualities you identify? I personally am not sure I see what you see. Severity in Noblet, yes - from the mouth, perhaps - but "innocence" or "fake innocence" in some TdMII version is another matter, much less the combination of innocence and severity somehow in the eyes. If I had more examples, maybe I could see what you are talking about. It is interesting. And be sure to identify the sources: card maker, place, approximate date, etc .

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

So I'll comment on what Huck said first.

Maybe I should have given more context: this is one of the most traditional icons in Christianity (Mount Sinai Pantocrator). The difference in Christ's eyes in this image is common knowledge, and it is intended to represent the eye of Mercy and the eye of Justice/Rigor.

That is what I thought I saw in my version of Papesse.

Now I realize I actually have to identify the specific deck where I saw this, and this is just step one, so thank you.

Now mikeh, thank you as well. I appreciate your patience and detailed explanation on how I should go about in this investigation.

I really am uneducated on the different decks so thank you for the links too.

I actually wanted to hear from people if they were seeing what I'm seeing, so as to not go crazy on idiossincratic interpretations.

I'll report back in a few months I guess!

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

Well, mercy is not the same as innocence, at least in English. And if mercy/justice is "common knowledge," you have to give a source and say when it became common knowledge, and especially for anything about the eyes. English Wikipedia only says that the side on our right is the human and on our left the divine. I'm not sure how that relates to mercy-justice or how the human/divine contrast would apply to the Popess. Otherwise, Wikipedia shows pictures where one side is doubled, so you can see the difference. The divine side is significantly thinner than the human side. I don't know how that would apply to the Popess.

Why you have to say when the interpretation became common knowledge is because the Sinai monastery is so remote, we have to wonder if the icon was even known in France during the 18th century, or whenever the deck you are talking about was made.

All I can see is that in a few decks, the Popess's eye on our right is larger than that on our left - Chosson for sure, perhaps Conver. And also the one you gave, whatever it is. In the Cosmocrater image, that might be true as well, but it might be my imagination.

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

Thanks for your balanced reaction.
We're researchers from different parts of the world, so we naturally have different backgrounds and we profit from this condition., as we learn about our own limitations.
salespúrio wrote: 27 Oct 2023, 00:41 So I'll comment on what Huck said first.

Maybe I should have given more context: this is one of the most traditional icons in Christianity (Mount Sinai Pantocrator). The difference in Christ's eyes in this image is common knowledge, and it is intended to represent the eye of Mercy and the eye of Justice/Rigor.
I don't know this Christ eye's quality.
I search the word "eye" in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Pa ... or_(Sinai) .... the result is negative.
I don't find the word oell or œil in the French version. I don't find the word Auge in the German version.
But ....
Christus hat auf dieser Ikone zwei Gesichter. Man kann das sehr gut erkennen, wenn man das Bild vertikal teilt und dann an der Mittelachse spiegelt: Auf der einen Seite ein junger Mann, der verletzlich, introvertiert oder traurig wirkt, auf der anderen Seite ein mächtiger „Titan“.[8] Kurt Weitzmann, der mit seiner Publikation der Sinaiikonen auch diese Christusikone bekannt machte, wies darauf hin, dass die Ikone immer wieder zwischen naturalistischer und abstrakter Darstellungsweise changiert. Weitzmann vermutete, dass der Künstler damit die Zweinaturenlehre des Konzils von Chalcedon (451) ins Bild setzen wollte: Jesus Christus, wahrer Mensch und wahrer Gott.
Christus has 2 faces in the German version.
Le Christ est représenté sur cette icône en « Pantocrator », c'est-à-dire « Tout-puissant »1. C'est une représentation eschatologique de Jésus qui se révèle comme Dieu, dans la parousie, à la fin du monde1.
Cette représentation est le fruit de deux traditions iconographiques bien distinctes : celle de l'art romain antique tel qu'il était pratiqué en Égypte, et celle de l'art byzantin émergeant1. De l'art romain pratiqué en Égypte, notamment l'art des portraits funéraires, elle a hérité à la fois la technique à l'encaustique, et l'art du modelé, basé sur l'observation naturaliste1. Elle est héritière aussi de la tradition byzantine, qui va largement diffuser ce type de représentation, très codifié, du Christ pantocrator, avec une répétition tendant à l'abstraction1.
Le Christ est représenté de face, auréolé, donnant la bénédiction de la main droite, et portant sur le bras gauche un évangéliaire incrusté de pierres précieuses1. Il est vêtu de l'himation antique au-dessus du chiton1. Le haut de son trône est visible derrière lui1.
Son visage présente plusieurs dissymétries1. Les cheveux tombent d'un seul côté, sur l'épaule gauche, donnant l'impression qu'il est de trois-quarts face et non de face1. Une dissymétrie plus forte est celle des deux côtés du visage : les yeux, les joues, les deux côtés de la bouche sont différents, avec la joue gauche plus ombrée1.
Cette dissymétrie semble voulue, en rapport direct avec la dissemblance des deux natures du Christ, sa nature humaine et sa nature divine1, à l'époque des divergences théologiques avec les monophysites1. Selon Hans Belting, ce Christ pantocrator exprime « la synthèse d’un portrait divin et d’un portrait humain idéal qui semble être celui d’un philosophe enseignant. Il évoque aussi d’une manière suggestive la double nature du Christ, si ardemment discutée dans les débats théologiques de l’époque
The French have much more to say about it.
Interpretation and meaning
Mirrored composites of the left and right sides of image
Many agree that the icon represents the dual nature of Christ, illustrating traits of both man and God,[7] perhaps influenced by the aftermath of the ecumenical councils of the previous century at Ephesus and Chalcedon.[8] Christ's features on his left side (the viewer's right) are supposed to represent the qualities of his human nature, while his right side (the viewer's left) represents his divinity.[9] His right hand is shown opening outward, signifying his gift of blessing, while the left hand and arm are clutching a thick Gospel book.[10]
Some scholars have suggested the icon at Sinai could have been a possible representation of the Kamouliana icon of Christ[11] or of the famous icon of Christ of the Chalke Gate,[12] an image which was destroyed twice during the first and second waves of Byzantine Iconoclasm—first in 726, and again in 814—and thus its connection with the Christ Pantocrator is difficult to confirm.[13]
The English say more than the German and less than the French.

What do we learn from this?
Possibly it's better for your idea, when you speak of two faces and not of 2 eyes. Possibly it's better you contact a French Tarot forum for this topic. And it's not everywhere common knowledge, that there is a difference in Christ's eyes in this image.

..... :-) .... possibly there is a context to the increased Napoleonic interest in the militaric adventure in Egyptia. .... Court de Gebelin? ... who knows.

Re: What's wrong with the Popess' eyes in Marseille?

salespúrio wrote: 28 Oct 2023, 18:50 I actually don't know what to say, you've brought such valid points and caveats.

It's nice getting to know a community with people dedicated to rigorous research and clarity in exposition. That's what I was looking for when I posted out of the blue as newbie in this forum.

Hi friend
I think,Your appreciation for the community's dedication to robust research and clear insights is wonderful to hear. Embracing diverse perspectives and expertise is a valuable aspect of forums for both newcomers and seasoned members.