created 2003 - 2005       

Pictures with Pope Sixtus IV

Note: In the research to the Mantegna Tarocchi the question arose, if the Pope motif of the Mantegna Tarocchi might have had similarities to Pope Sixtus IV (1471 - 1484).
So I started to collect some pictures.

A man with a remarkable nose - his body on some pictures seems thin and at others a little more corpulent (perhaps this changed during his time as pope).

The picture below is from 1471, short after the election of Sixtus IV - the remarkabe nose is recognizable and the body is thin (see detail)

The most famous picture of Sixtus IV. shows the election of Platina (middle) as Librarian of the Vatican. Platina was a leading member of the Accademia Romana.

The unknown Pope of the
Mantegna Tarocchi E-series
is possibly Pope Sixtus IV

Ladenspelder in ca. 1550
copied the E-series pope

Dürer variated the pope in his pen paintings of the Mantegna Tarocchi.

In 1502 Dürer painted the saint Sixtus II. (another pope) together with two other saints. This "Sixtus II" had similarities with his Tarocchi- Pope

Note: There is the general suggestion, that the socalled E-series of the Mantegna Tarocchi is older than the S-series. There is a second suggestion, that the S-series was painted in the year 1485, cause the figure of Arithmetica has - as shown in the picture a sign in the hand, which might be interpreted as the year of production. In papal history now it happened, that at the 12th of August 1484 Pope Sixtus died (1471 - 1484) and as new Pope at the 29th of August Pope Innocence VIII. was elected.
It might well have been, that the S-series, if it really was produced in the year 1485, was produced in context to this change of the popes. In our research we neglected Hind's suggestion, that the Mantegna Tarocchi E-series was produced around the year 1465, at least we found to the argument, that the current research situation knows (at least) one logical alternatives, that there two ways exist. One, which was suggested by Hind, and another one, which we called the Lazzarelli hypothesis. Researching for a way, how and when Lazzarelli might have influenced the production of the Mantegna Tarocchi, so it seemed to me the most logical answer to all given data, that it happened in Rome in the circle of the Accademia Romana in context to Pope Sixtus, and the most likely date seems to have been the year 1475, as it was jubilee year and many pilgrims visited Rome. Naturally the production aimed on possible buyers - rich pilgrims, of course. The jubilee year was the perfect date for such a business. A possible engraver is at the place - by Hind himself suggested as the "engraver of the Ptolome" in the year 1478 ... which, as Hind possibly not knew, from German side was identified as the printer Sweynheim already in Hind's life time. Sweynheim died around 1477, so .. in the case, it was really Sweynheim ... the E-series must have been produced before that date. As Lazzarelli wrote likely ca. 1470/71 his poem, which used 22 of the pictures, dedicated it 1471 to Borso d'Este and 1474 to Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. According to this logic the date for the Mantegna Tarocchi between these years 1471 - 1477.

The Pope on the S-series looks different. It might be now Innocence VIII and the reason for the second Mantegna Tarocchi might be the commission of this pope in year 1484, his "personal" Trionfi deck (naturally the artist needed some time and the date 1485 doesn't surprize.

... :-) well, might be necessary now to look for pictures of Innocence VIII.