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question about la papessa satire


Hello

I don't usually venture into the History Forum. I don't know anything about history and am probably about to say something stupid and/or repetitive of what has gone before. I did a few searches but couldn't find anything.

I work in a library and the other day I came across this book

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...HL._AA240_.jpg

which as you can see has a pretty intruiging image on the front, so I read a little:

Quote:
"In 1523, two university professors called Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon delivered to their Wittenberg printer a short pamphlet about two monsters. Melanchthon had written about a monster with a long, feminine body and an ass’s head, Luther about a deformed calf which stood upright. The corpse of the ass-monster had surfaced in the Tiber in Rome in 1496; the calf had only recently been found in Saxony. Luther stated that since he was no prophet he was unable to identify providential signs. Even so, he knew that both ‘gruesome figures’ had been sent by God. He hoped that the end of the world was near. There had been so many signs that something had to happen. He explained that the calf with its ragged friar’s clothes showed that God wanted monks and nuns to leave their convents.

Melanchthon likewise urged readers to take the signs seriously. The Roman monster had shown that the last days of the world had begun. Just as an ass’s head did not fit a human body, so the Pope could never be the spiritual head of the church. The head of the church was Christ alone. Not just the head, but all parts of the monster’s body bore meaning. Its left foot was like a griffon’s, because the canons grabbed all the wealth of Europe for the Pope. The female belly and breast symbolised the Papacy’s belly, ‘that is, cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, students and such like whorish people and pigs, because their whole life consists of nothing but gobbling food, of drinking and of sex’. The monster’s skin was like that of a fish: this symbolised the princes who clung to the papal order; the old man’s head on the monster’s buttocks signalled the decline of papal power.1

The ‘Pope-Ass’ became an icon of Protestant propaganda. In 1545 she appeared on the first of a series of ten woodcuts entitled ‘A true depiction of the Papacy’, directed against the papal campaign to summon a
church council. The monster now sported sexy legs, pointed breasts and a firm body, a depiction which symbolically linked sexualised femininity and evil (see cover illustration). This equation of the Papacy with a hybrid monster was to touch the audience’s fascination with and fear of mixed categories, and a desire for clear codes of civilised male and female behaviour. Luther commented: ‘This terrible image depicts what God thinks about the Papacy. Everybody who takes it to heart should be frightened.’ "


So basically....I was wondering...is this a more extreme version of La Papessa? Almost as if...suggesting a female pope might satirise the Catholic Church quite a bit, but suggesting a female-sexylegs-donkey-monster-pope satirises it even more?

I probably have the wrong end of the stick somewhere and have bored you all to death...but this was fascinating when I was supposed to be working...honest!
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mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbeans
...is this a more extreme version of La Papessa?
Protestant satire is not an unreasonable reading for Tarot's Popess, except for the dating. The figure was taken in just such a negative manner by various people at different times and places, and eventually both the Pope and Popess were removed from most decks.

However, the monsters created by Luther and Philipp Melanchthon are not really good analogs. The Protestants created much better cognates for the Popess than this. Most notably, they depicted the "Whore of Babylon" from Revelation as a female figure with papal attributes, i.e., a female pope. This identified the Whore as an allegory of the Church of Rome.


The Church as the Whore of Babylon
Lucas Cranach, 1588

This, however, was a borrowing from the Catholics themselves. A woman with papal attributes, contrary to your intuition here, was not a monster or a satire to the Catholics. This just reflects the way allegory was commonly illustrated. For example, a woman with attributes of Hercules, such as a lion, would be used as an allegory of his dominant characteristic, Strength. In this way a woman with papal attributes could be used as an allegory of one (or more) of the Pope's attributes.

Tarot enthusiasts have collected quite a number of examples of such allegories, both historically known and historically plausible. These represent things like the Church itself, the Papacy, the Pauline (Theological) Virtue of Faith, Church Law, Dame Doctrine, the True Religion, the New Covenant, and so on. Some of the examples are rather well known, including this one:


The Council of Trent
and Allegory of the Triumph of the Papacy
Pasquale Cati, 1522

http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/htm.../trent_co.html

There is another, even more well known subject depicted as a woman with papal attributes, the legendary Pope Joan. At the time and place Tarot was invented she was widely considered an historical figure.


Pope Joan

http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/re...pes/john-viii/

Yet another female pope often mentioned as a possible model for the Tarot Popess is Sister Manfreda, who was actually deemed a pope by an heretical sect.

So, a priori, there are lots of candidates. Ross has a webpage with a number of illustrated examples.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. The hazy little phantom in the upper-left of the Council of Trent painting is not the ringed planet Saturn, despite its appearance. It is the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
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Here are links to some of Ross' pages, which include many illustrations of non-Tarot "Popess" figures.

The names "Papessa" and "Papesse" in the 15th century
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/namepapesse.html

"Papesse" as an allegory of the Roman Catholic Church in 17th century printer's marks.
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/papessa.html

"Papesse"-like engravings in 17th century ecclesiastical books
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/papessa2.html
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/gerbaispapesse.html

Pope Joan portrayed without the baby
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/popejoan.html

An essay on the tarot's Popess and Pope Joan
http://www.angelfire.com/space/tarot/papessa.html

Another painting showing a female figure with papal attributes as an allegory of the Papacy is Vasari's depiction of the Holy League's victory in the Battle of Lepanto, a fresco in the Sala Regia of the Vatican palace -- hardly a satirical figure.


Best regards,
Michael

P.S. Here's another link to a page of Ross' with some additional pics of a woman with papal attributes.

The personification of the Church as "Papesse"
http://www.geocities.com/anytarot/papessechurch.html
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Thanks for providing all those links Michael.

Here's another one from the Getty Museum, from around the same general time as most of those "printer's marks" and other images I put on those links -


http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/...ils?artobj=112

Carlo Maratti, around 1676

Although in the tarot it is too early to be technically a "Protestant" satire, it is worth noting that Wycliffe and Hus both used her as proof that the Church had been led astray and led by a liar, and was therefore not what the Popes claimed - i.e. invincible to Satan.

Ross
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Here's another female figure with papal attributes, for anyone who is collecting such images online.


Faith and Justice Enthroned
Carlo Maratti, 1676

Quote:
Floating on a throne of clouds, the figures Justice and Faith look down on three putti who hold up an empty scroll. One of the virtues, Justice, sits on the left, holding the scales in one hand as a symbol of her impartiality. Between her knees lies a fasces, a bundle of wooden rods enclosing an ax, used by ancient Roman magistrates as an emblem. On the right sits Faith, with light shining from her head. Holding the key to the church in one hand and a crosier and model of a church in the other, she wears a papal tiara to protect her from the attack of heretics.

Carlo Maratti made the drawing as a preparatory study, in reverse, for the upper left corner of a large map of Rome. When it was published in 1676, the scroll held by the putti contained a dedication to the newly elected Pope Innocent XI.
(Getty Museum)
Faith and Justice Enthroned
http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/...ils?artobj=112

This is a very basic approach to creating an allegory of the Church, Faith, True Religion, the Papacy, and so on, even after the female pope figure had been disgraced by the legend of Pope Joan and appropriated by Protestants for satirical purposes. We can see from these later examples, (i.e., later than Cranach), including a number of the examples on Ross' pages, that the figure remained useful for the Catholics. Like most of Tarot's "mysterious symbols", it is best "decoded" not by resorting to far-fetched speculation, occult fantasy, anti-Christian bias, and New Age preconceptions, but by finding similar elements elsewhere, by learning about how such period allegory was conventionally developed and used, and by then examining how the figure was exploited in the Tarot trump hierarchy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Here's another one from the Getty Museum, from around the same general time as most of those "printer's marks" and other images I put on those links
LOL -- great idea, and great timing!

mjh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
LOL -- great idea, and great timing!

mjh
How funny! I was just going through my files for the Hus stuff, and came across this that I had printed out.

Ross
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Yet another famous and spectacular example of allegory involving a female figure with papal attributes representing the Church.


The Triumph of the Church
Pieter Pauwel Rubens, 1628

http://www.wga.hu/html/r/rubens/7graphic/08euchar.html
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I've been looking online for notable images of a female figure with papal attributes, (other than those included in Ross' pages), based on my own collection of such figures. I couldn't find an image of the Lex Canonica allegory online, so I uploaded a couple. Ross provided the first one, an engraving that Andrea Vitali published in I tarocchi - storia, arte, magia, which is apparently an exhibition catalog. I found the other one a few years ago.


"Lord, behold -- here are two swords."
And he said to them, "It is enough."
(Luke 22:38, Douay-Rheims)

The point of the two swords, pardon the pun, deals with Canon Law, that is, Church law or lex canonica.

Quote:
The late medieval system of Church government and law was grounded in part in the two-swords theory. This theory taught that the pope is the vicar of Christ, in whom Christ has vested his whole authority. This authority was symbolized in the "two swords" discussed in the Bible, a spiritual sword and a temporal sword. Christ had metaphorically handed these two swords to the highest human being in the world -- the pope, the vicar of Christ. The pope and lower clergy wielded the spiritual sword, in part by establishing canon law rules for the governance of all Christendom. The clergy, however, generally delegated the temporal sword to those authorities below the spiritual realm -- emperors, kinds, dukes, and their civil retinues, who held their swords "of" and "for" the Church. These civil magistrates were to promulgate and enforce civil laws in a manner consistent with canon law. Under this two-swords theory, civil law was by its nature preempted by canon law. Civil jurisdiction was subordinate to ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The state answered to the Church. Pope Boniface VIII (d. 1303) put this two-swords theory famously and forcefully in 1302: "We are taught by the words of the Gospel that in this Church and in its power there are two swords, a spiritual, to wit, and a temporal...."
(John Witte. God's Joust, God's Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition, 2006)
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