The Malatesta Family
|The engagement of the Malatesta-family from Rimini in the
history of playing cards can be regarded as minor against the strong involvement of
the courts in Ferrara and in Milano.|
However it has some interesting aspects, and our curiosity about the Malatesta-family started,
when we realised, that perhaps between the tragical death of Parisina in 1425, she being slightly
to playing cards, and the death of her daughter, Ginevra, this (possibly) caused by her "evil" husband
Sigismondo Malatesta, existed a hidden relation. Well ... there only 15 years between the one brutal
death and the other ... such things are not easily forgotten ...
1422 - 1424: Parisina is involved
strongly in the first playing cards documents of Ferrara. There is the secondary impression (only a
suspicion), that card playing (or the interest in card playing) was imported to Ferrara by Parisina,
especially, cause after her death the documentary evidence of card-playing stops for a longer periode
of time. Where should she have got this interest? Naturally it should have come from her own family.
Carlo Malatesta was strongly engaged at the council of Constance 1414, where he should have been
confronted with card playing in Germany. There is reason to assume, that
card playing culture at that time in Germany was more developed than in Italy. Also the free time
at the council, many persons together without real duties, must have been filled with something -
probably card playing played a major role.
By this way, so we assume, Carlo Malatesta became infected
and gave the new spirit to his family, Parisina might have become an addict to the game.
Of course only theoretical, hypothetical ....
1440: The death of Ginevra d'Este,
daughter of Parisina, in October 1440, killed by her husband Sigismondo Malatesta (true or
untrue - we don't know; at least the rumour existed and exists), must have had an effect upon the visit of
Bianca Maria Visconti at the d'Este court. We don't have clear informations about that ...
1452: Sigismondo Malatesta writes
a letter to Bianca Maria Visconti and tries to get informations about Trionfi-production in Cremona.
As far we do know the backgrounds, this should refer to Bonifacio
Bembo and his helpers in Cremona, who were active in the production of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi.
However, understanding this news is difficult.
From other entries we've to assume (Florence, Ferrara, Milano 1450, Marcello-letter), that Trionfi
games are relatively far-spread at this time. What makes the Bembo-production so interesting, that
Malatesta takes care to get such a deck, if he could get something similar everywhere ellse? Rimini
and Cremona are parted by a great distance, possibly Sigismodo Malatesta is not at home, when
he writes the letter, but ....
1457: The artist Ducchio at the Tempio Malatestina
produces some reliefs, which show some similarity to the Mantegna Tarocchi, under them also
Muses-motives. Muses-motives are only known from Ferrara at this time. Muses ... appear also in the Mantegna ...
1463/64: Sigismondo Malatesta brings the bones of Gemisthus Plethon to his Tempio Malatestino
and let the design the sarcophagus with an inscription: "The greatest philosoph of his time ..."
We researched the Malatestas, we cannot say that we found something real of greater interest.
A murderous family, but most of the great families, that finally became victorious in Italy, have that quality.
We finally had some biographical works about
them with no real context to each other. The research will go on, when we find the time for it.