Daphne reappears

Apollo with Daphne

The picture "Apollo with Daphne" presents, according to art researcher Maike Voigt-Lüerssen (compare Tarot News of April 2004), the young Milanese duke Galeazzo Maria Visconti and his wife Bona of Savoyen in the year 1468, at the opportunity of their marriage in the role of Apollo and Daphne. We cannot control the validity of this attribution in the moment, so we've no specific opinion about it.

This creates a riddle: Did the Daphne-motif, which was the central motif of the Michelino deck, reappear in the Visconti-family more than 40 years after the deck? It seems, that Daphne was not a very common motif before that time. Why did it reappear just at this place? Was the Michelino deck, the "oldest Tarot cards", which to our knowledge was bought by Jacopo Antonio Marcello in the year 1449 and sent as present to the wife of Rene d'Anjou, still (or again) in the possession of the Visconti-Sforza family in 1468? Galeazzo was very young in 1449, but he might have heard of the deck and this might have inspired him to choose the motif. But perhaps he even knew the deck, cause it was given back by Rene d'Anjou after the death of his wife Isabella in the year 1453? Rene was in Milan in the year 1453 and his servant and friend Giovanni Cossa visited the Sforzas variously and reassured friendly relationship between the two courts.

The Marcello documents, housed in the Bibliotheque National in Paris, are only copies. The deck is not present. Why? Were the deck and the original manuscript given back to the Sforzas after 1450? The deck should've had a personal meaning for Bianca Maria Sforza, she was born with this deck. The relations between Renee d'Anjou and Sforza were good. It would have been rather unpolite of Renee d'Anjou, if he had taken the deck from Marcello as a gift and not returned it to its real owners - after Sforza restored the dukedom.

Oldest Tarot Cards
The Oldest Tarot Cards
- Michelino Deck