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l'appeso 
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TdM from an art history perspective


hi,

I'm still learning about tarots but there's something which seems just not right in the back of my mind. The documented history states that TdM stems from the Visconti tarot, BUT that seems illogical from a purely estethical point of view: the style of Visconti is clearly 15th century while the TdM is certainly older (I would say 14th century?). Why a maitre cartier in the 17th and 18th century had to use such an archaic style?
that makes no sense to me, unless he would be referring to an older tradition... what do you think?
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Ross G Caldwell 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l'appeso View Post
hi,

I'm still learning about tarots but there's something which seems just not right in the back of my mind. The documented history states that TdM stems from the Visconti tarot, BUT that seems illogical from a purely estethical point of view: the style of Visconti is clearly 15th century while the TdM is certainly older (I would say 14th century?). Why a maitre cartier in the 17th and 18th century had to use such an archaic style?
that makes no sense to me, unless he would be referring to an older tradition... what do you think?
I don't know any historians who argue that the TdM evolved from the Visconti Tarots. What Michael Dummett argued in 1980 is that what he called the "C" ordering of trumps originated in Milan, and this order spread to France in the wake of the French invasions of Italy, beginning in 1494.

The "C" order (we also call it "western"), is characterized above all by the position of Temperance, at number 14 after Death. This is also the only family of orderings found outside of Italy.

So it's not the iconography, but the order of trumps, that Dummett believed to have come from Milan. The TdM order is a C or Western order, but there are others, like the Jacques Vieville Tarot (Paris, circa 1650), and lists in 16th century Italian sources. The TdM order itself is not attested in Italy (Italian C orders, like the Vieville and both A and B orders, always put the "Hermit" at number 11, after the Wheel of Fortune).

The oldest iconographic analogue to the TdM is a fragmentary single sheet of uncut cards known as the Cary Sheet (in the Cary Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Cary Playing Card Collection ITA Sheet 3S))
http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/
(search "cary", it's on page 8 (they also have the "Cary Yale" Visconti pack, as well as the Este)



The provenance and date of the sheet are unknown, but Dummett argued that, based on his theory that the C order came from Milan, then the Cary Sheet, as clearly some kind of ancestral relation to the TdM, also came from Milan, placing it around 1500.



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Where are you in Piedmont, by the way? There is a very old form of the game still played in "the Asti region", according to Dummett and McLeod, History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack (2004). Wherever you are, I'm sure you could find some players.



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l'appeso 
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thanks for the explanation. could you please suggest me some books on this subject?

so ca. 1500 could be an appropriate date for the TdM style?

compare these woodcuts from around 1500

http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/feb2000.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/4088992759/


they are in a cruder style than the cary-yale sheet but share some elements with the TdM...
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l'appeso 
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I'm from Valsesia. I just discovered that in the 18th-19th centuries here (Serravalle Sesia, Varallo, Borgosesia, Ghemme, Roccapietra)there were quite a few cardmakers (at least 20! S). unfortunately nowadays nobody seems to know anything about tarots.
By the way do you know if there are hi-res pictures of the Giuseppe Ottone tarot?
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A TdM like death, woodcut illustration to 'Canta della e morte e piede' song of death on foot, Florence c.1513:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q...page&q&f=false
Attached Images
File Type: png FlorenceDeath.png (144.0 KB, 87 views)



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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l'appeso View Post
thanks for the explanation. could you please suggest me some books on this subject?
Hi, welcome to the forum ...

You could find a lot of opinions in the question if you use the internal "search" (see upper menu) of this forum to topics, in this case for instance "Cary sheet"

Quote:
so ca. 1500 could be an appropriate date for the TdM style?
Marseille-style-similar-decks are known from ca. 1650 and later.

If you personally recognize the Cary Sheet as a prototype of the Marseille Tarot, you could naturally assume "from c. 1500" .

Quote:
Originally Posted by l'appeso View Post
here's an explanation

http://www.etimo.it/?term=taroccare

tarocco seems to stem from the verb "taroccare" which comes from latin altercari, to quarrell
(old italian altarocare) hence taroccare, used in the game with the meaning of answering with a stronger card.

nowadays we use the verb "taroccare" and the adjective "tarocco" to describe something unauthentic, or some kind of scam. this is a more modern usage however!
There are likely c. 15 different ideas, how the word Tarot might have developed. I remember, that Ross once made a list of them (where ?), and I also remember, that in the recent times a few others have developed.

Real facts are ...
************

1. that for the moment two appearances of the word "taroch" have been detected in literary documents of the mid of the 1490s (not clear dates). The interpretation of the meaning of the words is disputed. Between the suggestions is "idiot, fool".
In these works is no relation to playing cards.
You find articles and discussions to this with the search key "taroch Alione" and "taroch Bassano" at google.

************

2. Three other documents appear in the year 1505, two again as Tarochi (both in Ferrara), a third in Avignon (France) as Taraux. In all 3 cases it's clear, that the documents are about productions of Tarochi or Taraux playing cards. But there's no explanation in the documents, why they are called so in this way.
More http://trionfi.com/0/p/23 (provisional article)

************

3. Inside a Satyra, estimated for c.1510 ...
Chiama te: fante; ve, chel te venea.
Io voglio contentarte in tutte cose;
O voi alla crichetta, o alla fluxata,
A rompha, a fluxo, et a le due nascose;
Primera, al trenta, et alla condannata;
A rauso, a cresce el monte; hor apre gli occhi:
Che tua o mia sara questa giornata.
Mancava anchora el gioco de tarocchi,
Chesser mi par tuo pasto: e un altro anchora
Minchion, sminchiata voise dir da sciocchi.
Hor prende qual tu voi, chel fugge lhora.

More:
Italian: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=255
English: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=263&lng=ENG

Here it appears between other games, so its definitely the game

*********

4. The next, I think, might be from 1512 and it appears inside a theater play. The play is given in September 1512 twice, once in Mantova and for a second time in Verona.

With translation:

Even in games the use of the barbaric names has prevailed:
"Quid illud, quod in ludis quoque barbaris verbis utuntur?".

Petrarca had designated with the name of game of the Triumphs the painted cards, without doubt an excellent choice, since that term referred to the warlike victory:
"Franciscus enim ille meus Petrarcha picturatarum cartarum ludo Triumphorum nomen induxerat (9), optime quidem, quod in eo veluti bellica victoria spectatur".

But now with Barbaric rite, without some relationship with the Latin, they call it taroch: "Barbaro ritu, taroch nunc dicunt nulla latina ratione".

But then why that game is not called not less improperly bachiach?
"Sed cur non minus improprie bachiach?".

More:
Italian: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=263&lng=ITA
English: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=263&lng=ENG

So there's some critique, that Taroch is not a Latin word. An earlier used name "Ludo triumphorum" is taken as excellent. Ludo triumphorum or similar names appear frequently during 15th century in playing card contexts.



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l'appeso 
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thanks huck, really informative!

I already knew that the origin of the word tarot was unknown, the fact that the verb "altercare" in its macharonic deformation "taroccare" could have contributed by assimilation in creating a new word would sound convincing though... who knows?
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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l'appeso View Post
thanks huck, really informative!

I already knew that the origin of the word tarot was unknown, the fact that the verb "altercare" in its macharonic deformation "taroccare" could have contributed by assimilation in creating a new word would sound convincing though... who knows?
I personally think, that the "Taroch" word appeared with the Italian-French battle at the river Taro July 1495 ... not connected to playing cards. The both mentioned sources of c. mid 1490s, which use the word in the manner (without relation to playing cards) are directly involved in this event. I think, that Taroch was used as a mockery word between the fighting parties. The next appearance of "Tarochi" at 1505 is by Alfonso d'Este, who took in the political field the side of the French party in this time. Then it was a card game. A 1/2 year later French playing card production from Avignon (then not really France, but papal territory) with "Taraux" cards doesn't hurt the scheme, there was an alliance, and the Avinon playing card production was strong in this time.

The French had taken meanwhile Milan (1499/1500), so the earlier blame, which they suffered at the river Taro, was forgotten and the mockery word had taken a "triumphal meaning", so indicating a French ludus triumphorum - then a good word for a ludus triumphorum.

The poet (Francesco Vigilio) of September 1512 again knew the evolving history better ... the French had been driven out of the Peninsula, and that just recently. The theater play is part of triumphal celebration, that the French were gone. So it comes to the note, that Taroch isn't Latin and therefore a stupid word.
What Berni knew 1526 about all this earlier word fight, is naturally obscure, at least he decided to call the word stupid. This was then taken by some generations as the ultimate truth about the word.



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Last edited by Huck; 03-11-2011 at 01:01.
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Ross G Caldwell 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
4. The next, I think, might be from 1512 and it appears inside a theater play. The play is given in September 1512 twice, once in Mantova and for a second time in Verona.

With translation:

Even in games the use of the barbaric names has prevailed:
"Quid illud, quod in ludis quoque barbaris verbis utuntur?".

Petrarca had designated with the name of game of the Triumphs the painted cards, without doubt an excellent choice, since that term referred to the warlike victory:
"Franciscus enim ille meus Petrarcha picturatarum cartarum ludo Triumphorum nomen induxerat (9), optime quidem, quod in eo veluti bellica victoria spectatur".

But now with Barbaric rite, without some relationship with the Latin, they call it taroch: "Barbaro ritu, taroch nunc dicunt nulla latina ratione".

But then why that game is not called not less improperly bachiach?
"Sed cur non minus improprie bachiach?".

More:
Italian: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=263&lng=ITA
English: http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=263&lng=ENG

So there's some critique, that Taroch is not a Latin word. An earlier used name "Ludo triumphorum" is taken as excellent. Ludo triumphorum or similar names appear frequently during 15th century in playing card contexts.
Thanks for reminding me of this reference, I hadn't paid it much attention. Most interesting perhaps is that he has Petrarch naming the game "Triumphs"! It's also important as the only explicit witness to the name change from triumphs to tarocchi.

But, on the date, I think this quote comes from the 1532-34 play Italia e Mantua, and not Vigilio's lost dialogue performed in 1512. If you read Vitali's text closely, you'll see that Carlo Dionisotti and Tania Basile, the editors of "Italia e Mantua" contained in Scritti di storia della letteratura italiana (vol. 1 (2008))
http://books.google.com/books?ei=rMe...#search_anchor
attribute the preservation of the 1512 dialogue to Marino Sanudo (Vitali's article, par. 5).

The dialogue Comoedia Veronae habita coram reverendissimo Gursensi Cesareo oratore et gubernatore ("A Comedy of Verona, Held in the Presence of the Most Reverend Imperial Orator and Governor of Gurk" [Matthew Lang]) is in volume 15 of I Diarii di Marino Sanuto
http://www.archive.org/details/idiar...rino35sanugoog
- columns 146-151.

It does not contain anything like the stuff about barbarous words in the later dialogue.

It goes like this:

1512 - Dialogo de Italia by Francesco "Mantovano" Vigilio - lost.
1512 - Marino Sanudo, Comoedia Veronae habita coram reverendissimo Gursensi Cesareo oratore et gubernatore, probably a close version of the lost Vigilio text, preserved in his diaries.
1532-34 - Italia e Mantua, published by Dionisotti and Basile, contains the triumphorum-tarocchi reference.

It doesn't really matter, but it would have a little more urgency if it were earlier, as a snobbish plea for the old, dignified name right at the time the name of game was changing, and like Berni, providing evidence of its real meaning. By the 1540s, Alciato was inventing a fanciful Greek etymology for the word tarocco, and in the 1560s, the Anonymous commentator invented yet another.



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Last edited by Ross G Caldwell; 04-11-2011 at 04:37.
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