Mantegna Tarocchi Documentation
Mantegna Tarocchi - E-series
- suggested is the date ca. 1465, for instance by Arthur M. Hind
- Trionfi.com suggests 1475, assuming that Ludovico Lazzarelli took strong influence on the development; as artist we suggest the printer Konrad Sweynheim or an engraver near to him
- MORE INFO
Mantegna Tarocchi - S-series
Mantegna Tarocchi - by Ladenspelder,
Cologne artist, ca. 1550
Mantegna Tarocchi - Dürer and Lazzarelli
Dürers work is suggested for 1495 and 1505 (at the opportunity of Duerer's journeys to Italy), and it is not complete (21 or 22 pen paintings). From our perspective it seems likely, that all of Duerer's paintings relate to the Danhausen/Wolgemut project in Nurremberg (Danhausen was a publisher, Wolgemut had been Duerer's earlier teacher) 1493-1497, which aimed at the production of a book with at least ca. 350 pictures to the theme "Roman triumphs" (Archetypus Triumphantis Romae). From the ca. 350 pictures, which are said to have existed, 60 are said to have survived.
According Arthur M. Hind's list there are similarities to the Mantegna Tarocchi Nos. 11,12,13,15,17,18,19,22,27,28,29,42, so mainly representations of the Muses. For the moment we've only seen one of them, a Philosophia.
Burgmair, another Nurremberg artist and friend of Dürer is noted by Hind for further Mantegna Tarocchi adaptations, though at a later date.
The book project of Wolgemut and Danhausen, which was also promoted by the leading German humanist Conrad Celtis, was not realised finally. Likely the project had the aim to commemorate the marriage between emperor Maximilian and his Italian bride Bianca Maria Sforza in 1493/94, but was stopped cause changes in the high politic, when the militaric situation in Italy had become instable in the following years. Emperor Maximilian showed later great interests for personal triumphs (instead of Roman triumphs), he commissioned engravings of a triumphal procession and a triumphal arch in gigantic dimensions, and the work on the projects took years and decades and the involvement of various artists. Maxilimian became as the first monarch, who used intensively the printing medium for political propaganda.
Conrad Celtis became very successful and got (with the help of Maximilian) strong influence in the university of Vienna. His success was established with "Quatuor libri amorum secundum quatuor latera Germanie" (1502), in which one can detect the adaptations of the Mantegna Tarocchi Nos 28 and 42 (Philosophia-Minerva and Mercury), both noted in the above list of the Nurremberg adaptations, the source is online (the poet Celtis between Greek gods and the muses Thalia and Clio).
Ludovico Lazzarelli, an author, not a painter, found according an insecure note (the original source is lost) some pictures in a Venetian bookstore, probably around 1468/69. He used 27 paintings in a manuscript as illuminations, which he gave to the duke of Urbino Montefeltro not before 1474 - 23 of them have strong similarities to the Mantegna-Tarocchi (a part of the pictures is below).
Another illuminated work in the possession of the duke of Urbino showed the 7 artes liberalis, from which some pictures show also similarities to the Mantegna Tarocchi, likely also made with the influence of the image collection of Lazzarelli. The pictures are shown in context Le Arti Liberali da Marziano Capella: De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii" by Italy.rai.net and by us with a compare function to the Mantegna Tarocchi E-series.
In Arthur M. Hind's list of early documents with similarities to the Mantegna Tarocchi he mentions a medal of Fabrizio Varano, which was made
between 1471-1482 (Fabrizio Varano was a pupil of Ludovico Lazzarelli, when Lazzarelli was installed as a court humanist by the condottiero Giulio Varano). The medal used the motif of the muse Euterpe (No 18), as she appears in the Mantegna Tarocchi.
Another medal was made 1473 or little later for Lorenzo Zane, friend, admirer and sponsor of Lodovico Lazzarelli, a mighty man in the Papal curia. It showed an Astrologia with similarities to the Mantegna Tarocchi motif (No 29). The friendship between Lorenzo Zane and Lazzarelli later ended in disappointment and Lorenzo Zane was involved in some political scandals since 1476 - this all happened in context of some militaric actions in 1474, in which Lorenzo Zane, Giulio Varano and Federico Montefeltro were involved (all persons with some contact to the humble poet Lazzarelli).
From our researches we suggest, that Lazzarelli composed the 50-pictures-structure of the Mantegna-Tarocchi, likely 1474 or 1475, and realized the project in Rome with the help of the printer/engraver Sweynheim, who copied from the Lazzarelli collection. This is in opposition to Hind's influential suggestion, who concluded, on the base of the Bolognese manuscript 1467 and 4 virtues in a St. Gallen manuscript of 1468 (with totally 7 similarities), that the production of the E-series was done already in ca. 1465. Himd in the same text from 1938 himself suggested, that "On the other hand there is a close similarity between the present series and the engraved maps of the Ptolemy printed at Rome in 1478. The precise cutting of the maps and the representation of forests and hills are closely related in style. If the engraver of these maps is identified, some solution might be found for the engraver of the socalled Tarocchi might have undertaken the work of the Roman printer."
What the English researcher Hind obviously didn't knew in 1938: The engraver of the Ptolemy edition of 1478 had been identified in Germany by documentary evidence as the printer Conrad Sweynheim already in 19th century (More INFO).
The connections between the German printers in the city of Rome and book publication in the city of Nurremberg were similar close: The German astronom Regiomontanus worked since 1472 as book publisher. In 1475 he was invited by pope Sixtus IV to Rome. With some security he took at this opportunity contact to the German printers, short before he died (probably cause the peste in Rome).
Connections between Ludovico Lazzarelli and the humanists of Nurremberg likely date back to 30th November 1468, when the young Ludovico Lazzarelli was crowned as poetus laureatus (at this time a rare title) for a praising poem of the Emperor Fredrick III, who had visited Italy in late 1468 / spring 1469. A manuscript of another very early work of Ludovico Lazzarelli about a knight tournament in Padova 1466 was found later in the Pirckheimer library (the younger Pirckheimer was a close friend to Duerer, his ancestors had studied in Padova). The younger Pirckheimer had a strong dedication to the Muses theme (see the above Nos. of the Nurremberg adaptations, in which the Muses are a prefered theme.)
Unluckily we don't have all pictures from Lazzarelli and some of our pictures are bad copies.
Mantegna Tarocchi - 20th century Version by Lo Scarabeo
Images partly supplied by Vladimir Strannikov, Murray Mencies and Alexander Sukhorukow (WWPCM)
It's intended to complete the documentation with other pictures from the Mantegna Tarocchi development.