"Marriage of Triumphs and Astrology"


From Bologna & Emilia-Romangna by Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls, p. 253 (Ferarra and Ravenna)
Read with a grain of salt...but perhaps a smile and chuckle, what if these travel authors are close? Or right...

Palazzo Schifanoia

..circa 1475 for B'orso D'Este by Cosme Tura, Ercole de Roberti and Francesco del Cossa and other hands too...guiding hand behind it is Cosme Tura. Busy as he was...the scenes of mythological and allegorical subjects, peopled by amiable 15th century aristocrats, are believed to have been inspired by Petrach's Triumphs - in each month, a different god is seen to 'triumph'. The other inspiration comes from the occult astrology that shaped so much of Renaissance thought and life, running through the centre of the 12 months is a band portraying its sign along with 3 strange figures for each month on a black background; these represent the decans of the ancient Egyptians, who divided the zodiac into 36 zones of ten days each, each one ruled by its daemon (see page. 60)

P.59-60 "Magic in the Air"
We will probably never know how many Renaissance paintings and sculptures were specifically made in magical images. The famous mythological allegories of Botticelli, certainly were the Primaver, for example...something similar is likely to be behind the two ambitious Neoplatonic works of Emilia Romagna, the Malatesta Temple and the frescos of the Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara, both of these are astrologically comprehensive images of the universe as a whole. (Mari's note: you might see my post in the astrology section of Aecletic with Giotto's astrological frescos circa 1300, known for being highlighted at the appropriate time of the year by the sunlight)

(There's more about Ficinio, the Picatrix and Neoplatonism, but of interest to those who want to trace astrology and tarot design links, here is a section of decans, or the 36 zones, known to the Egyptians and revived by the astrologically minded in certain courts, including Ferarra:)

The Picatrix was writen by the last pagans of the Middle East, the star-worshipping Sabeans of Harran and transmitted through the Muslim world to Spain. The Picatrix is a book of magic that deals the making of talismans and star images, and is based on the 36 asterisms (star groups) called the decans. These originated at least 4,000 years ago in Egypt, where they often appear on coffin lids and the ceilings of tombs. Each decan was a daemon, a spirit something less than a god. Each one ruled a 10-day week of the 360 day Egyptian calendar, and each had its moment when its stars were seen to rise just before the sun. Sirius, whose 'heliacal rising' promised the annual flooding of the Nile, was the first and most important of them.
The decans lost their everyday importance in Egypt after the conquest of Alexandra and the introduction of the zodiac and a new calendar. But they lived on in magic and their great antiquity gave them special power and mystery...(supposedly) they were condemned by St. Augustine and the Origen and as the Christians turned daemons into mere demons, the whole business began to have the whiff of the infernal about it..

Perhaps I should have posted this to astrology...you all know I keep thinking Marseilles-influenced designs affected by Visconti tarocchi/triumph images have little footprints and influences from some Ferarra tarots, including the "Mantegna" 50 card set.
If it is true that wall murals showed occult astrology characters in Giotto's time (see post in Astrology) and this noticably affected Ferarra's courtly culture some two hundred years later...well, then there might be more occult symbology from Egypt encoded in the playing card/tarocchi and triumph designs than originally believed in some of our tarot histories.
Or perhaps the authors are recycling some old myths to make these these Ferarra murals more exciting.
I've posted on the Schifania Palace murals before and if asked, will link in another post.


Thank-you for this excellent post, Mari_H. I have also just had a look at your related post in the Astrology section.

Petrach, of course, was such an important influence. If you are studying him at the moment, it would be useful to include some kind of synopsis to the aspects of his work you deem of significance in this area of our common interest.

I'll also post some comments later - they probably need more careful reflection on my part.