Size 18 x 9 [cm]. Now they are divided as a 35 cards belonged to Count Colleoni until , when he sold them to J.
The famous illuminator Cicognara also painted another set of cards for two sisters of Cardinal Ascanio who were nuns at Cremona's Augustinian convent. These cards were lost when the convent was suppressed under Joseph II. What the above decks 1, 2, 3 have in common is the gilded background of the figures and the silver background of the numeral cards. Colonel Croft Lyons bought them in Milan shortly before and they entered the Museum as his bequest. They are very likely to have been illuminated for the Colleoni family, for one of them the Fountain Cupid carries a shield with the Colleoni arms and the motto "nec metu".
In style they are very different from the Catania set. The colours too are less subtle and the workmanship is coarser.
In general, they are more similar to the Sforza cards at no. They are much smaller than the others and measure Stylistically they are very close to the Colleoni cards no. The cards were bequeathed to the Museum by its founder Teodoro Correr. They measure The backgrounds are decorated with blue scrolls and small gilded discs with great profusion of dots. The cards are the following: a Ace of Swords?
A large sword with gilded handle enfiling a large lilied crown, also gilded. A red heart is skewered on the tip of the sword. The handles and ends are gilded. One club is blue, the other is red. The discs are gilded with dots forming punch-marked rosettes arranged to form a circle, and a larger rose in the middle. The back is undecorated and of an ivory-yellow colour.
These cards are completely different from the Catania ones. Sold at auction in Lucerne on June 15th Katalog Gilhofer u. Ranschburg, p.
Size: See Allemagne I, p. The gilded punch-marked background is similar to the Catania cards, but these cards are smaller, very different in style and much later end of the 15th century. Each measured 19 x 9 [cm] and was four times larger than the usual cards. Later, they came to be owned by the Tress [? Their present whereabouts are unknown. Cicognara, Memorie, etc. When talking about 15th-century Italian playing cards, these are associated with the so-called Mantegna Tarot. Yet, the name of this most important master is wrongly connected with them.
These engravings are the work of Florentine goldsmith and engraver Baccio Baldini, who designed them in Florence around Then they were engraved in Venice, which explains the Venetian dialect in the inscriptions that are visible on them . The playing cards that came from the Orient had been known in Europe from the year ;  they were introduced into Viterbo in They are assumed to have been painted between and , but an accurate examination of the originals suggests to me the beginning of the Quattrocento, hence quite close to the Visconti cards.
They have a strong French look and have nothing to do with the Italian ones. Among the Italian cards that have come down to us, the oldest are certainly the Visconti ones no.
They are like the Brambilla no. If we wonder which Italian region should the Catania cards be assigned to, we should first of all exclude Sicily, despite the fact that we know Cicognara, p. The Catania cards, however, are doubtlessly Italian and, if we look at their style, certainly from Northern Italy, though from neither Lombardy nor Venice.
A stylistic comparison with the Lombard and Venetian cards nos. One might perhaps think of Florence. Inside the ring stands a red feather with two green leaves at either side:  it is therefore the i[mpresa? Joined together with the impresa of the Gonzaga, Cosimo the Elder did, as the founder of the [Medici] dynasty, use the ring as a personal emblem. Should we therefore think of a Florentine origin for these cards? As we have seen in the Visconti and Brambilla sets, Italian Quattrocento cards often display crests.
The same happens, later, with the Este coat of arms cf. Campori, ibidem. We do know that a set of illuminated cards was an extremely precious gift and often made a wedding present Cicognara, ibidem, p. The Catania cards might as well have been ordered as a present by Cosimo the Elder for the wedding of a member of his house with a Gonzaga, not from a Florentine painter but from a Northern Italian master. A stylistic comparison of card no. The same thing applies to our no. Certain Ferrarese influences are also evident.
Thus, the landscape in our card no. It is within the Ferrara-Mantua-Verona triangle that we must place the anonymous master of the Catania cards, which would be dated around Literature on playing cards in general is vast; not all books, however, deal with their artistic side, which is the most important thing. The main works are:. Paris, a masterpiece. Merlin, R. Paris, Paris, Imprimerie des Crapelet very rare!
Hughes Willshire, A descriptive catalogue of playing and other cards in the British Museum Samuel W. Singer, Researches into the history of playing cards, London, As to Italian cards in particular: cf. Cicognara, Memorie spettanti alla storia della calcografia, Prato, Venturi, Rivista storica di Torino.
Campori, Le carte da giuoco dipinte per gli Estensi nel sec. XV, Mantova, Zdekauer, Il giuoco in Italia nell'Archivio stor. XVII, Lenzi, Bibliografia italiana dei [giuochi di] carte. Firenze, Translator's note:. There are two footnotes which I was unable to place:. Gelli, Divise motti e imprese p. In Graz Cathedral there are some interesting reliquaries coming from Mantua and evidently based on drawings executed by Mantegna between and , the Gonzaga impresa appears more than once. Die Reliquienschreine des Grazer Domes, Taf. For the 26 Colleoni cards our no.
All these cards are by one and the same hand. Hermanin, "La vita nelle stampe", p. The relative illumination on folio is published by Singer, Researches, p. The date is around Willshire, A descriptive catalogue of playing and other cards in the British Museum, , p. Burchhardt, Kultur der Renaissance, XI ed. II, Excurs. The author is deeply grateful to Kristopher Rekers for the illustrative slides.
They were prepared for the IPCS convention and are also available on the internet:. They served as trumps. The Bergamo-New York deck would seem to have been a conventional Tarot.
Amply represented are trumps and four suits, the latter having the usual hierarchies and suit-signs. Two trumps — the Devil and the Tower — are absent. Among the suits, only the Three of Swords and the Knight of Coins are lacking. The deck was produced by illuminators, i. The cards, as paintings, are small; but, as playing-cards, they are large, measuring x 87 mm fig. The substrate is pressed cardboard.
The backs of the cards are painted red. The front sides are lavishly painted: prettified figures pose against gilded backgrounds.
Those layers are inscribed with heraldic devices, many belonging to the rulers of Milan, specifically the Visconti dukes, followed by Visconti-Sforza dukes. The latter inherited the Visconti heraldry and added their own. We must make a critical distinction. They are rendered in the International Gothic style. These are rendered in a revived classicism that was typical of Renaissance art.
They are compatible with the primary cards in having essentially the same golden backdrops and of course are of the same dimensions. But the secondary cards are on thinner cardboard. Moreover, the costumes here are classical and do not have the look of heavy fabrics like those suggested by the silver and gold surfaces. Three of the Renaissance cards are in Bergamo fig.
Three are in New York fig. They differ in their opinions about the artists responsible for the deck. The correct attributions are the major concerns of this presentation.
Heraldic emblems in those cards indicate patronage by Francesco Visconti-Sforza, who became the fourth duke of Milan in The primary cards were painted at about that time.