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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 

Hi Huck,

Originally Posted by Huck
Fame isn't in the Charles VI, but there is a Tower. And the judgment cards has trumpets and trumpets are the symbol of the elephant and the elephant is used as chess-tower.

In the Charles VI we've the virtues reduced to 4 and the 8th factor is stable, though variated with now 3-4 pairs of persons.
I'm not sure why you still think the Charles VI World is Prudence. The reason that anybody ever thought it might represent, in some sense, Prudence, is that she had the same halo as the Virtues. There is no other reason (that, and the bias that there *should* be a Prudence somewhere).

But we have seen now, as the previous commentators did not know, that the Triumph of Fame, from the same place and time (most probably) as the Charles VI, is given this distinction - alone among depictions of Petrarch's Triumphs. The Charles VI figure also matches, in every essential attribute, the conventional properties of Fame.

In 1906, an anonymous writer for the Burlington Magazine,M1
quoted the opinion of Werner Weisbach, who was discussing Pesellino's depiction of Fame on the Cassone he made for an unknown occasion, sometime before 1450

(now in the Gardner Museum, Boston - )

He writes -

Far the most carefully studied of the six Triumphs is that of Fame - the first subject of the second panel. The car is drawn by two white horses, one of which grazing; beside them walk two bound captives, whose athletic figures reveal the influence of Uccello. Fame, with an octagonal halo and an orb in her left hand, sits before a kind of Mappamondo, upon mountains, and walled cities are lightly indicated. Weisbach has shown that this form of penumbra is suggested by a passage in Boccaccio's "Visione Amorosa" (cap. vi). At the right of the chariot stands a group of thirteen clerkly persons, at the left six great warriors; in these two pursuit fame being chiefly won."
Weisbach's literary source for this in Amorosa Visione of Boccaccio, stanza VI (the first stanza of Fame), which goes (rough translation)

"Beholding this personage holding in her hand
A sharp sword, with which
The world appeared to me to be threatened.
She was garbed in imperial fashion,
And held in her left hand
A golden apple, and in the royal throne
I beheld, she was seated; and by her right hand
There were two horses, which with stout chest
Drew the car between the people below.
And there was around this
sovereign Lady, enemy of death
with magnanimous aspect, a
circle which moved, grand and rotund,
from her feet going above her head.
I don’t believe that there was anything in all the world,
Towns, countries, domestic or foreign,
That didn’t appear inside that round.
Above these was written, and not in vain,
A verse which said the explanation:
“I am the Glory of worldly people.”

Weisbach might have been right... Apollonio's depiction of this triumph actually has the words "Gloria Mundi" above it (mispelled 'Grolia Mundi" in the manuscript, of course). And the main features are there - The World, seated on it, holding the globe (no sword here, unless it has been degraded).

Apollonio used a different thing in her left hand, a cupid (for Love), but the golden apple refers just as well to Love (because of the Trojan War) - it could be that for some that was too obscure, and cupid more direct. Also, the birth tray Fame has wings, a feature sometimes present in descriptions of her (like in Ripa later), but not necessarily. We know it was Fame in all these cases, even though there are some changes.

So we have every reason to suspect that the Charles VI artist had Fame in mind when he made his design (and none at all to think of Prudence). But a better title for tarot might be "Gloria Mundi", since the emphatic part of the alteration of the design is the presentation of the World.

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