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Andrea del Sarto's "Hanged Man" sketches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
"Because by a man came death, by a man also comes resurrection [1 Cor 15:21]."

The fall of man, is paralled in the descent of the word made flesh, the incarnation of God to take the sin upon himself for the sake of man's salvation.

The fall of man and the descent of the word made flesh, head first, birth into temporal life (and the coming of death); thus we may see in this figure of shame/death, also a prefigurement of the incarnation. We need not take it as either/or, but both, an integrated complex of mutually related ideas, the fall neccesitates salvation.

"The Word Himself, born of a Virgin, received in birth the recapitulation of Adam, thereby recapitulating Adam in Himself." St. Irenaeus.
According to Augustine, body is ruled by the soul: wherefore it is entirely due to his soul that a man make good use of his body: "For instance, if my coachman, through obedience to my orders, guides well the horses which he is driving; this is all due to me." Thus ‘virtue is not in the body but in the soul’, and as the soul perfects the body, so virtue perfects the soul; and virtue “is nothing else than perfect love of God.”

“...temperance is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God;fortitude is love bearing everything readily for the sake of God; justice is love serving God only, and therefore ruling well all else, as subject to man;...”

He expands upon temperance:

"The root of all evils is covetousness; which some having followed, have made shipwreck of the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." And this sin of the soul is quite plainly, to those rightly understanding, set forth in the Old Testament in the transgression of Adam in Paradise. Thus, as the apostle says, "In Adam we all die, and in Christ we shall all rise again." Oh, the depth of these mysteries! But I refrain; for I am now engaged not in teaching you the truth, but in making you unlearn your errors, if I can, that is, if God aid my purpose regarding you.

36. Paul then says that covetousness is the root of all evils; and by covetousness the old law also intimates that the first man fell. Paul tells us to put off the old man and put on the new. By the old man he means Adam who sinned, and by the new man him whom the Son of God took to Himself in consecration for our redemption. For he says in another place, "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven, heavenly. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, let us also bear the image of the heavenly," —that is, put off the old man, and put on the new. The whole duty of temperance, then, is to put off the old man, and to be renewed in God,—that is, to scorn all bodily delights, and the popular applause, and to turn the whole love to things divine and unseen. Hence that following passage which is so admirable: "Though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day." (19.35-36)

St. Augustine Of the Morals of the Catholic Church translated by the Rev. Richard Stothert.
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The Lamp of the Desert


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst

It should also be noted that the two are not mutually exclusive. Boethius, in his autobiographical allegory The Consolation of Philosophy, is betrayed by being accused of treason.
Macarius (the Hermit of the dance of death of Pisan according to Vasari), advises us: “Do not fear false accusations: God always knows the truth.”

On the Hermit St. Macarius:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...70#post1401970

posts 52/53.

The lamp of the desert:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macarius_of_Egypt
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Hi, Kwaw,

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Macarius (the Hermit of the dance of death of Pisan according to Vasari), advises us: “Do not fear false accusations: God always knows the truth.”
It's off-topic for this thread, but given my interpretation of the trump cycle as a Triumph of Death, IMO the hermits who appear in the Triumph of Death traditions, (including Dance of Death and the Three Living and Three Dead), are the best cognates for the Hermit in Tarot.


Hermit with Three Living and Three Dead
Triumph of Death at Subiaco, Italy


Hermit with Three Living and Three Dead
Woodcut

Whether the figure in Tarot was originally a hermit or whether it was originally Time, both were clearly represented at a fairly early date.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. I would have sent this reply to the other Macarius post, but it too seemed off-topic for it's thread.
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Hi Michael,

do you know if anyone besides Vasari identified the Hermit in the Dance of Death and Triumph of Death with a specific hermit? (or is he a hermit?)

In both the examples you show, it looks like this guy would have a place in the text.

Ross
Top   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
do you know if anyone besides Vasari identified the Hermit in the Dance of Death and Triumph of Death with a specific hermit? (or is he a hermit?) In both the examples you show, it looks like this guy would have a place in the text.
Short answer, no.

The identification with Macarius, however, is understandable and pretty cool. (Thanks, Kwaw!)

The preacher who delivers the "author's message" is not always identifiably a hermit, but typically a monk or cleric... someone assigned to deliver the moral of the story. Here, for example, is the preacher in the Paris Dance of Death.


Preacher in Paris Dance of Death

The Subiaco 3-Living/3-Dead motif is closely modeled on the famous Pisa Triumph of Death. Here's the hermit from that fresco.


Hermit from Camposanto

The great Dance of Death site, dodedans.com, has some discussions of the preacher and his functions.

The Dance of Death
http://www.dodedans.com/Eindex.htm

Quote:
The world's first dance of death was probably the one on the wall of the churchyard Cimetière des Innocents in Paris. This was the dance that Lydgate translated into English and the dance that inspired the one in Lübeck. This dance may be called the mother of all dances of death.

The painting was finished Easter 1425 - i.e. 38 years before the painting in St. Mary's Church in Lübeck. This was a relatively quiet period in the 100 Years War - and both text and pictures are full of satire and slapstick. The portly abbot is told that the fattest person is the first to rot: »Le plus gras est premier pourry«. Death makes eyes(!) at the chevalier and tugs the urineglass-carrying physician by his crotch.

In 1485 Guyot Marchand published the text - illustrated with woodcuts. We know that Guyot Marchand followed the original reasonably closely - since the text also survives in 16 different manuscripts.

As the picture to the left shows, the dance of death starts with an "acteur", who gives us an introductory admonishment - just like in Tallinn, Berlin and in the manuscripts. The preacher's first words "O creature roysonnable" exactly match those in Tallinn/Lübeck: "Och redelike creatuer", which shows that the dance in Paris has inspired the dance in Lübeck.
Le Danse Macabre
http://www.dodedans.com/Eparis.htm

From earlier works, including 14th-century Triumph of Death frescoes and 3-Living/3-Dead images, it is apparent that the so-called preacher's role predates the Dance of Death tradition. In fact, the earliest of these Death genres, the Vado Mori poems, began with just such a sermon.

Quote:
Before the first dance of death was created, there was a literary genre called Vado Mori (I prepare myself to die): poem written in Latin, of French origin, which went back to the 13th century. In these writings, representatives of various social classes complain, mostly in two verses, about the fact that they will soon have to die. In the oldest texts of that kind, there was a prologue underlining the certainty of death and, following this prologue, the last verses of eleven dying men (the king, the pope, the bishop, the knight, the physicist, the logician, the young man, the old man, the rich, the poor and the insane).
Dance of Death
http://www.lamortdanslart.com/danse/dance.htm

Best regards,
Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
IMO the hermits who appear in the Triumph of Death traditions, (including Dance of Death and the Three Living and Three Dead), are the best cognates for the Hermit in Tarot.
Michael - Great images and good point. Where would you say the St. Christopher woodcut Hermit fits in with all this?
http://www.typeart.com/reference-boo...hristopher.gif

Mary
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Hi, Mary,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
Where would you say the St. Christopher woodcut Hermit fits in with all this?
LOL --well, first I'd say we've really co-opted this thread. My apologies to the moderators -- I should have just started another, or found an old "Hermit" thread.

O'Neill has presented Christopher's hermit as a related image since Tarot Symbolism, as I recall. In terms of being a cognate image it is certainly one of the best available... except for the missing river, St. Christopher, and the toddler Jesus! However, I don't know of anyone offering any plausible reason for that obscure character from St. Christopher's legend to be in the trump cycle. It seems like a pretty arbitrary reading, taking both figures wholly out of context.

On the other hand, AFAIK none of the figures I've suggested as more meaningful cognates is shown carrying a lantern, and there is, in fact, no standard at all for the preacher in the Death genres. The hermit motif in this regard appears to derive from the Pisa Triumph of Death, which presumably used that figure because it related directly to the adjacent fresco of the Anchorites.

Quote:
The theme of judgement, fully elaborated in the succeeding fresco, is introduced by the angels and devils battling in the sky. The vanity of life is made explicit in the various inscriptions. Peace, and a long-lasting freedom even from the toils of earthly death, is illustrated by the aged Anchorites clustered round their hillside church. The theme is subsequently fully treated in the Legends of the Anchorites and counters any tendency to see the fresco as a simple outcry at the cruel arbitrariness of death.
Philip Resheph: The Anchorites
http://www.philipresheph.com/a424/ga...anchorites.htm

In lieu of a good iconographic parallel, my suggestion would be that the designer saw an opportunity to change the Hunchback/Old Man who represented Time into a preacher of contemptu mundi, vanitas, memento mori, asceticism, etc. Changing the hourglass into a lantern was a simple and obvious change that fit well within the overall trump cycle. The preacher in the context of the Vado Mori, Dance of Death, 3-Living/3-Dead, and Triumph of Death genres serves the same function, an exhortation to asceticism, as the Hermit in the context of the Tarot trump cycle.

That change happened to result in a figure that closely mimics St. Christopher's sidekick, but more importantly it allowed a local variation which was still clearly and directly related to other Tarot designs. It appears that, within Italy, every locale wanted their own Tarot, a kind of "civic pride" motive. This resulted in many minor changes in trump ordering and iconography, and a few more dramatic changes from time to time.

Best regards,
Michael
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Hi Michael,

thanks very much for the Anchorites picture.

I don't see a problem yet with being off-topic, since they are adjacent cards, but if it gets too interesting it might be good to shift the last few posts into a new thread.

For the Pisa Anchorites, I was struck by both Kwaw's Macarius and the middle frame of the Anchorites (middle-middle), which shows an "anchorite" and a nude figure by a tree. This reminded me immediately of Macarius' own sayings, in fact number 2 in the alphabetical collection, where he tells the story of his own wanderings in the wilderness.

I quote from Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers" (Cistercian Publications, 1975): "One day Macarius the Egyptian went from Scetis to the mountain of Nitria for the offering of Abba Pambo. The old men said to him, 'Father, say a word to the brethren.' He said, 'I have not yet become a monk myself, but I have seen monks. One day when I was sitting in my cell, my thoughts were troubling me, suggesting that I should go to the desert and see what I could see there. I remained for five years, fighting against this thought, saying, perhaps it comes from the demons. But since the thought persisted, I left for the desert. There I found a sheet of water and an island in the midst, and the animals of the desert came to drink there. In the midst of these animals I saw two naked men, and my body trembled, for I believed they were spirits. Seeing me shaking, they said to me, 'Do not be afraid, for we are men.' Then I said to them, 'Where do you come from, and how did you come to this desert?' They said, 'We come from a monastery and having agreed together, we came here forty years ago. One of us is an Egyptian and the other a Libyan.' They questioned me and asked me, 'How is the world? Is the water rising in due time? Is the world enjoying prosperity?' I replied it was, then I asked them, 'How can I become a monk?' They said to me, 'If you do not give up all that is in the world, you cannot become a monk.' I said to them, 'But I am weak, and I cannot do as you do.' So they said to me: 'If you cannot become like us, sit in your cell and weep for your sins.' I asked them, 'When the winter comes are you not frozen? And when the heat comes do not your bodies burn?' They said, 'It is God who has made this way of life for us. We do not freeze in winter, and the summer does us no harm.' That is why I said that I have not yet become a monk, but I have seen monks."

(pp. 125-126)

I can't read the remains of the inscription on the image, so I'm probably wrong, but this anchorite sitting with the naked man by the tree really reminded me of this passage.

This might also be why Vasari mentioned Macarius in this general context (I don't have the passage at hand, but I trust it is there).

Ross
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Sorry to backtrack, but on page one of this thread Roseanne said:
Quote:
The one foot hanging had a specific torture aspect as the victim would have no purchase and would flail around and break the pelvis. Cruel sods were they not! ~Rosanne
What a very practical reason for the Hanged Man to have his free leg placed in the usually depicted manner, bent across to ease the unbalanced weight. I mention this (Thanks Rosanne ) because it is sometimes said that this positioning represents the hebrew letter Aleph (or maybe some other letter, forgotton which one. perhaps someone else knows), and therefore the meaning of the card is connected to that letters' place on the Tree of Life.

Just thinking out loud.........

Bee
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Another schandbild hanging in effigy


Following up on Bernice's comment, here is another example of a shaming picture from the German tradition. There are quite a few interesting details, like the one criminal still kicking after having just been pushed off the ladder. However, the important point to notice in regard to the Tarot Hanged Man is that, although the purpose of this schandbild is the same as those with the inverted hanging, none of these figures are shown in that posture. Instead, we have the two most typical forms of execution in late medieval Germany, hanging by the neck and breaking with the wheel. This illustrates the fact that the inverted hanging was rather like breaking on the wheel -- a particularly prolonged and degrading form of torture-execution -- rather than a unique pseudo-punishment and/or magical symbol of the Great Work accomplished, voluntary sacrifice, yada-yada.


from Mitchell B. Merback's The Thief, the Cross, and the Wheel:
Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

A hierarchy existed from ancient times, ranging from beheading, fire, and hanging/strangling through various forms of less immediate and more characteristically "medieval" dispatch. The most spectacular and sadistic ones, such as crucifixion and its Christian replacement, breaking with the wheel, (commonly preceded by other public tortures, such as whipping or the popular red-hot tongs), tended to be reserved for traitors and others of whom an example needed to be made. The inverted hanging, whether of an Italian traitor or a German Jew, was such a punishment.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. Assuming that the Traitor card was simply intended to represent a traitor, this schandbild would have served admirably. However, in lieu of names on the cards, the image needed to show a less common but more identifiable punishment in order to convey the subject matter symbolically.


The Sicilian Tarot, (perhaps conflated with Judas, with bending branch and his feet touching the ground), offered precisely such a translation of one traitor for another.

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