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..about the Tower and its construction.


What I understand here by beauty ... is not what the common man generally understands by this term as, for example the beauty of living things and their representation. On the contrary, it is sometimes rectilinear ... and circular, with the surfaces of solid bodies composed by means of the compasses, the chord, and the set square. For these forms are not, like the others, beautiful under certain conditions; they are always beautiful in themselves.
Plato on architecture and mathematics.



I was looking at Roseannes thread about the Tower and found it very interesting, and wondered is there a thread or discussion about the Tower of the Tower Card?

Not so much looking at the surroundings of the tower card, the sky nor the people, but the actual shapes and designs of the building and the mathematics and theory of creating the building itself?

Do they say something about the type of Tower which is being destroyed? Does the card not also include the Tower depicted in certain meaings and symbology. Does the Tower not say 'What is being destroyed' as much as the lightning or the comets, or the hail etc show 'what/why it is being destroyed' ?

I am also interested as to why some Towers on the cards, are square, and some are round - some are tall and some are squat - why some have different shaped tops on them - some have windows and doors and others without.

Does the building shape chosen reflect the time of the cards making or the Tower constructions in the region at the time?
Were certain shapes of Towers used for certain purposes?

Were the Towers drawn and constructed symbolically? By this I mean, architecture at the time (Towers and Temlples) was based and calculated and constructed by mathematicians - and within some of the mathematical calculations of design was meaning - a very important factor was the calculations and relationships between symmetry and proportion.
I wonder if the Towers (some) were constructed with some form of meaning - and if any of these are used on the Tower Card/s for their meaning and not just their 'beauty'?


I was reading this article on architecture and noticed some names I have become familiar with through the history forum and doing some readings about the Visconti Sforza deck ...
Quote:
In Europe there was little progress in mathematics and architecture until the 14th and 15th Centuries. Architecture was modelled on the teachings of Vitruvius and on the classical architecture which was still plentiful, particularly in Greece and Italy. The next person we want to mention is Brunelleschi who was trained as a goldsmith. There were really no professional architects at this time and Brunelleschi learnt his skills in architecture by visiting Rome:-

He made drawings of a great many ancient buildings, including baths, basilicas, amphitheatres, and temples, particularly studying the construction of architectural elements, such as vaults and cupolas. The object of his architectural researches, however, was not to learn to reproduce Roman architecture, but to enrich the architecture of his own time and to perfect his engineering skills.

Brunelleschi made one of the most important advances with his discovery of the principles of linear perspective. Classical scholars had understood some of the principles of perspective but no text seems to have been written on the topic.

We think of an understanding of perspective as being essential for a realistic two dimensional representation of a three dimensional scene when painting on a canvass. However Brunelleschi's understanding of perspective was used in his design of buildings as he created his designs to ensure that the visual effect he wanted was visible from all positions of the observer. Following the rules of proportion and symmetry of the ancients was important to Brunelleschi but he wanted these mathematical principles of beauty to be those seen by all observers.

In some sense he was trying to achieve a certain invariance of proportion, independent of the angle of view, and to ensure that it was the apparent proportion which was right rather than the actual proportion. Argan writes [1]:-

Perspective neither uncovers, creates, nor invents space. Rather, it is an essentially critical method or process that can be applied to the spacial data of architecture, reducing it to proportion or to reason. The Platonic influence predominates over Aristotelianism, in the synthesis of longitudinal and central diagrams into a perspective of contemplation, a perspective that leads theoretically to a single point.

Many of the famous mathematicians from the time of Brunelleschi made contributions to architecture. Alberti wrote a text on the topic, as well being the author of an important text on perspective in which he wrote down Brunelleschi's brilliant discoveries for the first time. He was one of a number of mathematicians to develop a general theory of proportion which, of course, was motivated by his architectural studies.

Although the name of Leonardo da Vinci makes one think of his stunning paintings rather than mathematics, in fact he was fascinated by mathematics. Architecture was another of his specialities and he learnt about it, in particular the mathematical principles behind it, from studying Alberti's texts. He was a man of wide ranging abilities and interests and, at one stage in his career, earned his living advising the Duke of Milan on architecture, fortifications and military matters. He was also considered as a hydraulic and mechanical engineer. He also worked for Cesare Borgia as a military architect and general engineer. Later the French King Francis I appointed him first painter, architect, and mechanic to the King.

Another mathematician from Renaissance times was Bombelli who was taught by Pier Francesco Clementi, himself an engineer and architect. With this training Bombelli was soon working himself as both engineer and architect employing his mathematical skills both in his work and in his deep investigation of complex numbers. Another to combine his skills in both mathematics and architecture was Bramer who was employed directing constructions of fortifications and castles. He published a work on the calculation of sines, prompted by the practical work in which he was involved. He followed Alberti (1435), Dürer (1525) and Bürgi (1604) when in 1630 he constructed a mechanical device that enabled one to draw accurate geometric perspective.

The Tower reminds me of the probability Theory:
Quote:
Probability theory studies the possible outcomes of given events together with their relative likelihoods and distributions.

Another curious argument of Pascal's is that which is known as the argument of the wager. God exists or He does not exist, and we must of necessity lay odds for or against Him.

If I wager for and God is -- infinite gain;
If I wager for and God is not -- no loss.
If I wager against and God is -- infinite loss;
If I wager against and God is not -- neither loss nor gain.


In the second case there is an hypothesis wherein I am exposed to the loss of everything. Wisdom, therefore, counsels me to make the wager which insures my winning all or, at worst losing nothing.
Is the Tower then not unlike a representation of the chance and a 'wager' we bet in life, and the wager we lose?

so, I wonder about the Towers themselves on the cards ... are they a mathematical, spiritual theory or calculation interpreted in pictures?
has anyone else wondered this?

Sorry my question resembles a dog breakfast - I am no scholar

Cheers
Elven x
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elven
[i]Does the building shape chosen reflect the time of the cards making or the Tower constructions in the region at the time?
Were certain shapes of Towers used for certain purposes?
Towns in Northern Italy are full of such towers—you can't help but notice them everywhere. They are usually the tallest structures in the town so, when on the road, you know a town is coming up. Sometimes you can be at a point where you can see the towers from several towns as you look 360 degrees around you. The towers can be part of a church or civic building or palacio. Some were probably originally part of a defense/lookout. Because lightning strikes the highest point, there is a tendency for them to get struck by lightning more than other structures. If on fire, they'd be seen from a long distance away. I image that they were points of pride for the local inhabitants.
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To me, the design and look of individual Tower cards are really artistic choices. They are interesting but don't have a lot of significance with regard to symbolic meaning. I don't see the Tower's meaning as having anything to do with something in particular being intentionally destroyed, but as a symbol of shock and the unpredictable. It is the outcome of irreconcilable forces bumping into each other unexpectedly.
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I think the subject is interesting. A first step would be to collect samples of different Tower cards.

One of the most fascinating things, is that possibly the Tower originally was not a Tower.

See for instance the Charles VI / Gringonneur Tower. As far as I know, this is the most ancient existing Tower card (Florence, second half of the XV Century), and to me it looks more like the gates of a town than a tower.
In ancient times, that card was not known as the Tower or la Torre. In the Sermone de Ludo cum Aliis (1450/1480) it is called "Sagitta" (i.e. arrow, but could also mean lightning). In the Merlin Cocai sonnet (1527) it is called Foco (fire).
Moreover, the Minchiate "tower" seems to represent the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (I don't know how ancient this version of the minchiate image is).

So I would like to know when and where did the tower become a tower?
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I think we have to be careful when interpreting art through our modern eyes. We are so used to video and photo and realism that we generally take a representation of what ever we are looking at to basically be what we are looking at. In the middle ages and into the Renaissance this is more often then not false. Sometimes paintings would represent the glory of the subject rather then the subject literally.There are endless examples of this and I will give one: The challenge of St Francis. When St. Francis died in 1226 the funeral progression stopped outside of the church of S. Damiano. A very plain building. Giotto painted this scene with a artists liberty. Look how he represents the church as compared to the actual building (which still stands).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorArcanus
See for instance the Charles VI / Gringonneur Tower. As far as I know, this is the most ancient existing Tower card (Florence, second half of the XV Century), and to me it looks more like the gates of a town than a tower.
(Hi, Marco.) I note the falling pieces of masonry (?) convey the sense of spring's overflowing like willows' boughs almost better than the Marseilles version, with its 'pollen'.
Quote:
In ancient times, that card was not known as the Tower or la Torre. In the Sermone de Ludo cum Aliis (1450/1480) it is called "Sagitta" (i.e. arrow, but could also mean lightning).
This interests me because I see S-shin-willow-16 as a 'solidifying' or 'clouding-up' of the O or U of the Logos, AUM (A=doer, U=thinker, M=knower), since in Hebrew the three 'mothers' are A-alef, S-shin, and M-mem: U there stands for the thinker, sagittary, the sign behind one (or within) that mirrors the sign leo ahead of one (or without), which, being 30 degrees down from straight ahead or cancer (direction one's breast points to), represents footsteps' approach within earshot, the invariable inner response to which is thought.
Quote:
In the Merlin Cocai sonnet (1527) it is called Foco (fire).
And S or shin is a lightning-bolt in the south Semitic, Numidian, Greek, and runic alphabets and in Kabbalah represents, by my reckoning anyway, the cerebro-spinal nerves, that is, that which is responsible for the pain in one's tooth, which is what north Semitic shin represents (a lightning bolt on its side, in appearance like a molar).
Quote:
Moreover, the Minchiate "tower" seems to represent the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (how don't know how ancient this version of the minchite image is).
A lightning-struck (or cannonball-struck) tower must surely relate, as a symbol, to man's Fall: after all, it is the Fall, presumably, that caused the front column of the body to become broken off at the sternum to permit the swelling of the womb in childbearing. (And indeed it is the thinker that associates itself more with the front column and the knower with the back or spinal column in man, for reasons I won't go into, as I have already probably managed to bore everyone but myself to tears: I hope it is not simply a repeat of thoughts I've relayed to you before.)
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I will come back to reply to the posts, as I have been trying to find out a little more about the castles and tower construction of the ancients.

I did however come across this lovely website about the Castello Sforzesco - and seeing that the Visconti Sforza is my favourite deck (though I know very little about it) I was interested in all the Towers that appear in the cards, and the construction and outlay of the Castle.

There is the Tower Card with its main Tower and the 5 smaller surrounding towers in the landscape with their tops coming off as well. It reminds of the Towers of the Sforza Castle complex before it was destroyed and rebuilt). The Tower is being destroyed from inside - and I understand that this card is one which was designed later for the deck.

There is the Sun Card with its single Castle with Towers on the Hill in the background - though looking at the cards landscapes (at the lower half of the cards) this landscape is the same as the Towers landscape, (the Tower Card has copied the Sun landscapes of the hills) thought there are less Towers in the background on the Sun - the Castle is not there any more. If you compare both cards you will see what I mean - the Mountain area is different.

There is the Moon card with a Castle building and Tower in the background landscape.

There is the World Card with a Castle and Tower surrounds in the globe which the Angels hold.

There seems to be many Castles and Towers in this deck

Is there anywhere Historically that says that the Tower in the Visconti-Sforza Deck is the Tower at the Sforza Castle?

Just some blurb on the Castle Tower:
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.milanocastello.it/ing/lungaRicostruito.html
Francesco soon decided to rebuild the castle with the aim of making it a symbol of the city's beauty and defending Milan against possible external enemies. He called in numerous people to work on this project. Among them are military engineers Jacopo da Cortona, Giovanni da Milano and Marcoleone da Nogarolo. In 1452 the Florentine architect Antonio Averulino, known as 'Il Filarete' was entrusted with the building of a high central entrance tower.

Although the Castle should appear as a luxury residence, which should have nothing to do with the old fortress built by Filippo Maria Visconti, the Filarete was soon dismissed and the military architect Bartolomeo Gadio was called in to oversee the building. The Castello di Porta Giovia was provided with massive cylindrical towers covered with bosses and with articulated structures: the Ghirlanda is a quadrangular defensive wall over three meters thick, which led to the town walls and surrounded the Rocchetta and the Corte Ducale. The Ghirlanda, which already existed at the time of the Visconti, had been enlarged and strengthened in the Sforza age. It is provided with two circular towers built in its corners and a covered road, part of which still exists.

To complete the building Francesco Sforza even asked the Pope permission to demolish an old church (the 'Chiesa del Carmine'), which stood in the area where the Castle was being built. In 1452, only the castellan Foschino degli Attendoli, who lived in one of the cylindrical towers, archers and some unhappy prisoners in the undergrounds of the towers continued to stay in the fortress. In those years, a wall was built around the park ('barcho'), abundant with wild game captured and taken there from the woods around Varese, the Seprio and the lake Como. Orchards and cereal cultivations stood next to the hunting area of the park.
So at one stage the Tower was both used militarily and as a Prison, then as a residence.

Cheers
Elven
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Just to add:
Looking at the Visconti Sforza Tower, I wondered when the restoration of the card was done?

I noticed the Tower explodes from the inside on the picture, and I then came across this:

Quote:
http://www.milanocastello.it/ing/lungaDominio.html

During the French domination, on June 23 1521, it is reported that a lightning rod hit the Filarete tower, which was used as an ammunition storage area, and made it explode. The castellan and other people died and the castle walls were seriously damaged. The last of the Sforzas, Francesco II, decided to restore the castle, where his marriage to Cristina of Denmark was celebrated on May 3 1534. The Castle had been restored but had lost its famous entrance tower.
I wondered if the card picture represented this in a spiritual and actual way as well?

Cheers
Elven x
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Hi Elven!
Quote:
Is there anywhere Historically that says that the Tower in the Visconti-Sforza Deck is the Tower at the Sforza Castle?
I have not been able to find any mention anywhere that this is the Sforza Castle Tower.
What is speculated upon in that the card we call the World- seems to show either Saint Augustine's City of Gold or the Utopia type walled city of Good Civic Government. Interestingly, there are some ideas that the Walled Town on the World card is the Certosa of Pavia (Monastery). So if that is so- one might take it that other cards depict actual places. The Frescoes of the time often show a fantasy landscape with actual known buildings of the time. This is also the same for Books of Hours and Prayer books- the buildings are known in many cases. For me, I feel the Visconti is particular to the Visconti/Sforza/d'este families and show things that they associate with.

As to the other Tower cards especially the Charles VI / Gringonneur Tower- I have just been reading Umberto Eco's book On Ugliness and it brings up an interesting point. If you look at the Griggoneur Tower you see it almost looks like the skin of stone is been shed and there is another Tower underneath. Like many of the depictions of the time the true nature of the person- building-landscape is revealed when Virtue, for example is paramount.
So you could take this as the the Tower been the House of God and Lightening strikes from Jove and it's true nature as the House of the Devil is revealed. Sometimes in Art the reverse is shown. The beautiful woman- until you look down and see a lizard tail slithering out from under her skirt- The true nature of the woman as devil.
I have seen mechanical Towers from the 17th century- that the weather vane is a human body with a swivelling head- one side the Devil, the other an Angel. One particularly large tall one is still in Sforza castle on display. It brings to mind the Templar skull and cross bones flag that was on Hospital ships- that pirates used to fool their victims into coming into close range. The idea that what you see as the House of God may actually be the House of the Devil and God's wrath by fire will expose it. This is part of the long tradition of demonising the enemy in art. The Tower of Babel is not the only Tower mentioned in the bible- there are the Towers of Gold that the Hebrews built for the Egyptians for example. (Possibly the storehouses as I mentioned in the other thread).
In Christianity the Virgin Mary was sometimes known as the Tower of Ivory- Towers seen as Feminine when they protect and Masculine or phallic when they impose.
~Rosanne
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Just catching up on the posts and trying to get my head around some of the info ... but I had to laugh when I saw this, in reply to your post Rosanne ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
As to the other Tower cards especially the Charles VI / Gringonneur Tower- I have just been reading Umberto Eco's book On Ugliness and it brings up an interesting point. If you look at the Griggoneur Tower you see it almost looks like the skin of stone is been shed and there is another Tower underneath. Like many of the depictions of the time the true nature of the person- building-landscape is revealed when Virtue, for example is paramount.
I was thinking this is because alot of the old Towers were built in leaf formations especially when repairs happened, so this leafing would peel - and when your Tower starts to peel - you're in big trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by The failure of ancient Towers:
[url
http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2445686][/url]

Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)
(1) Dept. Struct. Engineering, Milano, ITALIE
Résumé / Abstract
The safety of ancient towers has become a concern after some collapses which took place in recent years. Typical characteristic of most of these structures are not only the inhomogenity of the masonry itself but in many cases also the construction technique based on multiple-leaf walls, built in different phases with different materials. The survey carried out on the causes of the collapse of the Pavia Tower revealed a time-dependent behaviour of the material under heavy dead loads which was assumed to interpret the state of damage of a bell tower in Monza.
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