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Early Trump-Game Artist Bio Compilation

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination,alt.tarot,rec.games.playing-cards,rec.games.misc
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Early Trump-Game Artist Bio Compilation (1/2/3: Kaplan/Dummett/WWW)
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 00:49:26 GMT

50031119 vii om

      Preface
         what follows is the beginning of a compilation of 
	 relevant BIOGRAPHICAL DATA pertaining to early 
	 (game) Tarot artists.
  
	 quite a number of people are convinced of the 
	 importance of scrutinizing the details of early
	 (game) Tarot to see if there might be any 
	 justification for considering their occult 
	 design or content; examining bios of artists
	 is one way of going about this, as is looking
	 at what else was being made at the same time. 
 
          i -- who: Italians (including Bembo(s)+Zavattaris)
         ii -- when: 15th century (esp. 1420-1490) 
  	iii -- where: Milan/Bologna/Ferrara

======================================
Artists in 15th Century Northern Italy
======================================
compilation of notes on their backgrounds, 
knowledge, personal history, and interests.

--------------------------------------
SOURCE 1. KAPLAN, Vol II.

focal interest: knowledge of occultism

particular topical focus suggested by the
TarotL 'Tarot History Information Sheet', 
compiled and edited by Tom Tadfor Little:

	Hermeticism
	Kabbalism
	Astrology
	Neoplatonism
	Pythagoreanism
	Heterodox Christianity

  http://www.tarothermit.com/infosheet.htm
  ======================================

138
	Their presence in fifteenth-century
	Lombardy suggests the possibility
	that one or more of them contributed
	to the preparation of early playing
	cards. Further research about these
	artists may bring to light valuable
	information in the search for the
	tarocchi artists.
	------------------------------------
	 The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Stuart
	 R. Kaplan, U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 
         Volume II, 1994 (1986); pp. 138.
	=====================================

Ibid. here-on in Kaplan, "quoted" or [rephrased].

[there's a prayer book, the "Visconti Book
 of Hours", which had a bunch of artists
 working on it, including decorators like
 Belbello, who painted the Gonzaga family's
 prayer book, and most of the d'Este Bible.

 for this reason I'm leaving out all mentions
 what I recognize of orthodox religion, just 
 peculiar mentions (to me) of some kind which 
 may support some sort of reference to 
 divination/magic/alchemy (what I deem occult)
 in the motivations/knowledge of these artists.]

-------------------------------
A) Besozzo's Postal Planetaries

Kaplan describes a letter, contended to have
been about 16 cards by Michelino da Besozzo
(heavily involved painting cloisters, cathedrals,
"several art researches have suggested that [he
painted] the frescoes at the Casa Borromeo in
Milan including the famous scene of tarocchi
card players", may have painted the triumphs of
Petrarch (says Cattaneo)). 

Kaplan says that the letter is described by a
Frenchman, a Mr. P. Durrieu, writing in 1911,
in *Michelino de Besozzo et les relations entre
l'art italien et l'art francais*. he says this
letter, supposedly from a servant of Rene of Anjou
to his first wife, dated 1449, described 16 cards.
I find confirmations of such correspondence from
more than one source otherwise also.

138
	They must have been executed before 1445.
	They are believed to have been commissioned
	by Filippo Maria Visconti.
	
	The set of cards comprised four groups of
	triumphs, with four cards in each group.
	The lowest group was the triumph of Virtue,
	and the highest group, Pleasure, with Cupid
	triumphing over all.

	_Virtue   Riches   Virginity         Pleasure_
	Jupiter   Juno     Chastity (Pallas) Venus
	Apollo    Neptune  Diana             Bacchus
	Mercury   Mars     Vesta             Ceres
	Hercules  Aeolus   Daphne            Cupid

Kaplan doesn't say what the likelihood of this letter's
authenticity might be, whether the letter has been
confirmed as existing, etc.  see below also for this 
artist's construction of a non-tarot deck with gods!
apparently it is not considered a Tarot deck on 
account of its structure (60 cards?).

-----------------------------
B) Giotto's Virtues and Vices

_Giotto_ (1266-1337) did frescoes in the Arena Chapel
at Padua. Kaplan claims Ronald Decker

139
	views the Giotto frescoes that depict the virtues
	and vices

	[these
		Prudence                  Folly
		Fortitude                 Inconstancy
		Temperance                Wrath
		Justice                   Injustice
		Faith                     Infidelity
		Charity                   Envy
		Hope                      Despair ]

	          as suggestive of some of the Major Arcana
	cards in the tarot pack. A definite connection
	between Giotto and the early Visconti is well
	established....

Kaplan says "the iconographic connection is worthy of notice." 
no mention of anything that fits on my list above as yet.

----------------
C) Mantegna Note

139
    The Tarocchi of Mantegna prints, usually described
    as cards, date from 1470 and are often credited to
    Andrea Mantegna, although no evidence exists to
    support this claim.

----------------------------------------
D) Decembrio's Steeley Emblematic Images

140
    Around 1440, Decembrio, the official biographer of
    Filippo Maria Visconti, wrote that the duke enjoyed
    playing a game that used painted figures. According
    to Robert Steele (1900), Decembrio also related that
    Duke Filippo paid fifteen hundred gold pieces to
    Marziano de Tortona [acted as the duke's secretary
    and lived with the Viscontis] for a pack of cards
    decorated with images of gods, emblematic animals
    and figures of birds. Tortona might have been acting
    as an agent on behalf of the unnamed artist.

presumably he's talking about the following article
[from his bibliography in Vol. I]:

	_**STEELE_, Robert. "A Notice of the Ludus
	Triumphorum and some Early Italian Card Games
	with some Remarks on the Origin of the Game of
	Cards," *Archaeologia*. London. 1900. LVII.
	Series 2. Vol. III. References to playing cards
	including Sermones de Ludo Cumalis and
	description by Cicognara of the Visconti-Sforza
	and Gringonneur cards (p. 185-200).

the term "emblematic" caught my eye. what is meant here?

--------------------------------------------
E) Courtly Bembos, Conventional Zavattaris?

otherwise, the Bembos and Zavattaris (well-known
in association with tarocchi art) aren't given
descriptions which indicate occult knowledge.

Bonifacio Bembo is believed to have been the
artist of the Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo deck and
the Cary-Yale tarocchi deck. his imagery merely
"idealize[s] court life". if Van Marle (1926)
is followed, there is little information about
"the progeny of the [Zavattari] family", but
following Algeri (1981), the Zavattari brothers
themselves aren't described as particurly occult.

Kaplan continues with Francesco Petrarch and 
his poem that Moakley theorized influenced 
early Italian tarocchi and minchiate cards. 
Dummett likes most of Moakley. 

================================================

SOURCE 2. DUMMETT, "The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards" 

there are some very fun things therein. anything which 
undermines the general contentions about Tarot or 
reflects potential consonance with occult topics or
those mentioned in the Info File, I'll mention below.

first off, we might consider whether we're even using 
the right language. :>

	The word *tarot*, which has been adopted into
	English, was borrowed from French, in which it
	was formerly often spelled *tarau* or the like,
	and is simply the French word for the Italian
	*tarocco* (plural: *tarocchi*). Tarocchi was
	not the original name for tarot cards, but was
	first recorded in 1516 in one of the account
	books of the court of Ferrara. Throughout the
	fifteenth century, tarot cards were referred
	to simply as *carte da trionfi*, that is,
	cards with trumps. In the sixteenth century,
	the word *tarocchi* came into general use;
	as applied to the cards individually, it
	functioned in the same way as *trionfi*,
	namely to distinguish the trump cards from
	the suit cards (with some ambiguity about
	whether it applied to the *matto* [Fool]).
	The origin of the words has been and remains
	a mystery; in a poem published as early as
	1550, Alberto Lollio speaks of it as being
	"without an etymology."
	------------------------------------------
	 "The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards", 
	 Michael Dummett, George Braziller Inc.,
	 1986; pp. 1-2.
	==========================================

so they didn't originally make 'Tarots', they made 
'Cards With Trumps'. the Tarot History Info Sheet 
also mentions this in its content (translating 
*carte da trionfi* as "cards *of* the triumphs";
my emphasis.).

Ibid. here-on in Dummett, "quoted" or [rephrased].

3
	[Antoine Courte de Gebelin] claims that tarot
	were invented by ancient Egyptian priests to
	conceal symbolic instruction in their religious
	doctrines in the guise of an instrument of play.
	... In any case, the occult interpretation of
	tarot cards originated in France during the
	second half of the eighteenth century.
	
	From that time, there is a great mass of
	documentary references to tarot cards
	beginning in Italy in the fifteenth century,
	in France and Switzerland in the sixteenth
	century, and in Germany and many other
	countries in the eighteenth century. Naturally,
	some of these references record only the
	purchase or manufacture of tarot packs and
	hence provide no clues about their function.
	But a great many speak explicitly of the games
	played with them, and none give a hint of any
	other use. Two of the writers would undoubtedly
	have mentioned any occult associations, had
	they known of them: an anonymous fifteenth-
	century Dominican preacher, who vehemently
	denounces tarot cards, regular cards, and dice
	in a sermon against gaming, and the sixteenth-
	century Ferrarese poet Alberto Lollio in his
	mock-serious verse diatribe against the game.
	Tarot cards were unquestionably invented to
	play a particular type of game, forms of which
	remain immensely popular in various parts of
	Europe (above all in France, where the game
	has had a great revival during the last thirty
	years) and, until de Gebelin's ideas were
	adapted by professional French fortune-tellers
	and occultists and, after 1880, by those of
	other countries, they were never used for any
	other purpose.

Dummett mentions that it is the *trumps* that serve
to distinguish the decks we're examining from other
types of decks, and that these were invented in
Europe, but probably not in tarot:

4-5
	The first game to incorporate the idea of trumps
	was probably not tarot but a game of the German
	peasantry called Karnoffel. (Karnoffel, however,
	used partial trumps, able to beat some, but not
	all of the cards of a plain suit.) But, almost
	certainly, the idea of trumps arose independently
	of the two games, and etymology shows that it was
	from tarot -- not Karnoffel -- that it was borrowed
	for trick-taking games played in every country of
	Europe. The Italians added new cards to the pack
	to act as trumps; in other countries, one of the
	four suits of the regular pack assumed this role.
	The idea spread more quickly than the game of tarot
	itself: a game called Triumphe was being played in
	France by 1482, and games with similar names
	appeared in England (as the ancestor of Whist) and
	Spain in the sixteenth century. These games
	differed markedly from one another but were all
	known by their then most unusual feature, the use
	of a trump suit. The English word *trump* is
	simply a corruption of *triumph*, and, like the
	German *Trumpf*, is derived from the Italian
	*trionfo*, used originally for a trump card in
	a tarot pack. The invention of tarot cards thus
	contributed a fundamentally important idea to
	card play, without which many of the card games
	played today could not exist.

see below for Little's explication of Pratesi and the 
deck created for Marziano da Tortona by Michelino!

the author states that "a tarot pack, with its
thirty-eight picture cards, allowed greater scope
for artistic invention" and even though it is
"more likely that precious hand-painted cards
would survive than cheap popular ones",
based on the enormous number of extant cards
remaining of this type, which "outnumber regular
decks by more than two to one", Decker says

6
	it is hard to resist two conclusions:

	     first, that tarot was enormously
		popular at the courts of Ferrara
		and Milan and,
	
	     second, that it originated as a game
		for the nobility.

he says the first written records of the cards
is in 1442. he says that the trumps varied a bit
in their sequences, and that this is because
initially they weren't numbered. this is similar
to his claim with Decker in "A History of Occult
Tarot: 1870-1970", Duckworth, 2002.

7
	With only one exception, none of the hand-
	painted packs have numbered trumps. Nor
	do either of the two fragmentary late
	fifteenth-century popular Milanese tarot
	packs that have survived, although the
	numeral XXI is found on a single trump,
	the World, that remains from a late
	sixteenth-century popular Milanese pack.
	In Bologna, no numbers were placed on the
	trump cards until the second half of the
	eighteenth century. Before that, as card
	game books indicate, a player was required
	to memorized the order of the trump subjects.
	This was evidently true everywhere until the
	practice of numbering the trump cards was
	adopted in one place after another. The
	pioneer appears to have been Ferrara: in a
	late fifteenth-century popular pack from
	that city, all of the trumps are numbered,
	save the World.

he describes 3 trump-sequence traditions, and the
history of card deck composition. the three trads
are: Ferrara, Bolognese, and Milanese. analysis
of these three would be important to any who
maintain that a significance may be found in the
original(s) with some arcane or occult meaning.

Dummett describes the order of trumps "everywhere
in Europe outside of Italy of the Milanese type".
he also mentions that

11
	It is generally agreed that the Visconti-Sforza
	pack was painted for Francesco, the first Sforza
	duke of Milan. His predecessor was the third
	duke, Filippo Maria Visconti.... the pack...
	cannot have been painted earlier than 1450 [when
	he had secured the surrender of Milan and "made
	good his claim to the duchy" "to which hereditary
	title he had, of course, no legitimate claim"].

and that the other decks may have been done earlier.
Dummett thereafter describes the origination of the
Visconti-Sforza and its artists

	Only four cards are missing from the Visconti-
	Sforza pack: the Devil, the Fire (or Tower),
	the Knight of coins, and the 3 of swords. Six
	of the trumps are manifestly of a different
	artist: Fortitude, Temperance, the Star, the
	Moon, the Sun, and the World. It is usually
	supposed that the same artist painted the
	remaining sixty-eight cards, and the Brambilla
	and Visconti di Modrone packs as well. These
	two packs are generally thought to have been
	painted for Filippo Maria Visconti because,
	in the Brambilla pack, the sign of the coins
	suit was made from actual imprints of both
	sides of a coin issued by the duke; the same
	is true of the Visconti di Modrone pack except
	for the ace, the 2, and the court cards. More-
	over, although the Brambilla pack has fewer
	heraldic features than the other two, those
	it has all relate to the Visconti, and none
	specifically to the Sforza: the caparisons
	of the *cavalli* bear Visconti emblems, and,
	as in the Visconti-Sforza pack, the Visconti
	motto, *a bon droyt* (with good right),
	appears on several cards. It therefore 
	seems quite certain that it was painted 
	for Filippo Maria.

Dummett goes on to analyze the probable artists
of the Brambilla and Visconti-Sforza packs. he
mentions Bonafacio Bembo and Francesco Zavattari,
the art historians Toesca (1912; assigns the cards
to the Zavattari brothers), Longhi (1928; Bembo),
Wittgens (1936; confirming Bembo), Rasmo (1939;
also confirming Bembo), and finally Algeri
("very recently"; Francesco Zavattari).

Dummett describes Gertrude Moakley's theory "in
her splendid book on the Visconti-Sforza pack"

14
	that the Visconti di Modrone pack was a
	*germini* or *minchiate* deck, a suggestion
	followed by Algeri. This theory, one of
	Moakley's very few mistakes, is utterly
	unhistoric. The only basis for it is the
	presence of the three theological virtues.
	A *germini* pack has, like ordinary tarot
	decks, four court cards, not six. Moreover,
	with forty trumps, it is essential to number
	them, whereas the Visconti di Modrone trumps
	are unnumbered.... It's invention, as a
	deliberate variation on an established game,
	is to be dated to between 1526 and 1543, and
	arose in a quite different cultural milieu
	from the Visconti court at Milan. Describing
	the Visconti di Modrone cards as a *germini*
	pack is a piece of pseudo-scholarship.

I don't see any descriptions of the knowledge or
intent of the deck designers or artists within
Dummett's book, other than the general comments
which he makes above.

so much for what I have (as yet!) of Dummett (soon!)

================================================

SOURCE 3: WWW

------------------------

www.tarothermit.com

Little's conclusion within the Tarot History Info
Sheet as to artist's meaning is that:

	care should be used in making statements
	about the original meaning of the cards
	based on the familiar titles and ordering.

	The intention of the original designer(s)
	of the tarot in selecting the symbols for
	the trump cards is unknown, although there
	are many conjectures, some more plausible
	than others. Writers should avoid giving
	the impression that the intention is known
	or obvious....
	----------------------------------------
	http://www.tarothermit.com/infosheet.htm
	various contributors mentioned; 
	Copyright 2000-2001 members of TarotL
        ========================================

Little *does* have something more to say about
that on his site, newer than either of the previous
authors (Kaplan '86, reissued in 1994; Dummett '86), 
and relates to a source unmentioned by either Kaplan 
or Dummett, named Franco Pratesi (1989).

Little describes him as an Italian card historian
who wrote within 'The Playing Card' (1989) of
a precursor to the Cards With Trumps.

[note: here are the articles I found referenced
       by Pratesi at
       
 http://www.geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfireference.html
       
       Pratesi 1989a
       Franco Pratesi: The Earliest Tarot Pack Known
           in The Playing Card , Vol. XVIII, No. 1,
           August 1989. p. 28-32.

       Pratesi 1989b
       Franco Pratesi: The Earliest Tarot Pack Known
           in The Playing Card, Vol. XVIII, No.2,
           November 1989, p. 33-38.

       Pratesi 1990
       Franco Pratesi, "Carte da gioco a Firenzo:
           il primo secolo (1377-1477) (Florentine
           cards - The First Century) in The
           Playing Card, XIX No. 1, August 1990,
           p. 7-17.]

Tom's examination of Micholino's deck as previously
described in Kaplan is much more extensive as
it describes an *accompanying book*:

	Marziano da Tortona served as secretary to 
	duke Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan. But 
	that perhaps gives the wrong impression of 
	him. He was a scholar, Filippo's tutor, and 
	specialist in astrology (or astronomy, as the 
	two disciplines had not yet gone their 
	separate ways in the 15th century). Some time 
	around 1415 (date not entirely certain, but 
	not later than 1420), the young duke (he was 
	in his early twenties, having assumed the 
	title in 1412 at the age of 20) directed 
	Marziano to devise a card game according to 
	the duke's instructions.

	Instead of the ordinary suits of swords, 
	coins, staves, and cups, the new deck was 
	to have suits representing virtues, riches, 
	virginities, and pleasures. The suit signs 
	were appropriate birds: eagles, phoenixes, 
	turtles (turtledoves?), and doves. Each suit 
	also had four cards higher than kings, depicted 
	as classical deities. This was apparently an 
	early exploration into the idea of "trumps", 
	because whereas the regular suit cards have 
	no power over cards of different suits, the 
	sixteen deities have an internal ordering that 
	bypasses their suit assignments and determines 
	which card wins over others.

	The amazing thing is that Marziano actually 
	wrote a book to go with this deck of cards. In 
	the book, he describes the structure of the deck, 
	and then goes into great detail about each of the 
	classical deities, what they represent, and how 
	they are depicted on the cards. This was the first 
	ever "companion book" for a deck of cards, and it 
	is sitting in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris 
	to this day! Not surprisingly, it does not give 
	divinatory meanings. But interestingly, neither 
	does it gives the rules of a card game. The focus 
	is on the allegorical meaning of the pictures and 
	their proper ranking.

	But Marziano didn't make the cards himself. They 
	were turned over to a noted artist, Michelino da 
	Besozzo, who apparently made cards of extraordinary 
	beauty. In 1449, after the duke had died, a Venetian 
	captain named Marcello (in alliance with Francesco 
	Sforza in the attempt to capture Milan) heard of the 
	enormous value of these cards and "acquired" them 
	from the duke's estate and had them sent to the 
	queen of Lorraine as a present. He was also 
	determined to get the book along with them, which 
	he did. The cards apparently have not survived.

these appear to be the same as the previous reference 
to the 16 cards referred to by Mr. P. Durrieu in 1911 
in *Michelino de Besozzo et les relations entre l'art 
italien et l'art francais*. apparently this book only
recently came to light? has anyone seen it or know 
if a translation of its content has been made? 

Tom continues:

	Now obviously, these are not precisely tarot cards. 
	But this is the earliest and most extraordinary 
	insight into the way in which allegorical playing
	cards were being invented in northern Italy in the 
	15th century. (The Boiardo game is a somewhat later 
	example of a similar idea, and we might toss in the 
	Sola-Busca and the 16th-century workshop inventory 
	that included such items as "the game of our Lord 
	and the apostles", "the game of the triumphs of 
	Petrarch", and so on)....
       ----------------------------------------------------
        http://www.tarothermit.com/marziano.htm
	Copyright 1999 Tom Tadfor Little
       ===========================================

 ----------------------------------------------------

other WWW NOTES


re early deck structure:

	There are 6 (perhaps only 4) documents which give 
	informations about the deck structure of Trionfi 
	decks, 3 of them are fragments of playing card decks:

		1. Brera-Brambilla deck: very unsecure 
			in his informative worth, 
			even allow a 4x14 + 4 - deck 

		2. Cary-Yale deck: has 24 courts and 56 pips, 
			the number of trumps is unclear, 
			motives vary of the "standard" 
			(probably a 5x16-structure)

		3. Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck: The first 
			artist (Bonifacio Bembo) produced
			(probably) 70 cards, all trumps are known. 

		4. Document B: The present to Bianca Maria 
			speaks of "14 Figure"

		5. Document 03: Marziano describes 16 gods 
			and 4 court cards and 40 pips, 
			with some insecurities this would be 
			60 cards totally. 

		6. Document 16: 70 cards are mentioned, 
			probably refering to a 5x14-deck

	2 documents and one unsecure document suggest a 
	5x14-structure 1 document and an unsecure document
	suggest experiments with the number of 16 trumps.

	No document really suggests the existence of 22 trump cards. 
        -------------------------------------------------------------
        http://geocities.com/research_of_tarot/trionfidoc.html

 -------------------------------------------------------------
re the deck designed by Marziano and created by Michelino

      Preliminary translation (by Ross Gregory Caldwell)

      He sometimes played at triumph cards. And in this game he 
      took so much delight that he paid for one finished pack of 
      triumph cards one thousand and five hundred ducats. Of this 
      the foremost author and (casone) was Marziano da Tortona 
      his secretary, who with marvellous ingenuity and greatest 
      industry finished this deck of cards with the figures and 
      images of the gods and with the figures of animals and 
      birds which he placed under them.
     -----------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.geocities.com/research_of_tarot/tri28.html
     ===========================================================
                [note: I can't get this one again to confirm!]

 -------------------------------------------------------------

pop-author contentions 

Robert M. Place ("Tarot of the Saints"):

	I believe that the internal structure and 
	symbolism of the Tarot is mystical. Therefore, 
	its creators could be called mystics. However, 
	by that I don't mean to imply that they were a 
	secret of a heretical group. Historic evidence 
	leads to the scenario that the Tarot was a product 
	of popular culture in 15th century northern Italy. 
	Renaissance culture made a synthesis of various 
	historic trends that began to appear in the 
	centuries that proceeded it.

	The Medieval Christian Gnostics called themselves 
	Cathari, and although we can trace a line of 
	transmission between them and the ancient Gnostics, 
	there are many aspects of their beliefs that 
	changed over the centuries. The Cathari lived in 
	Southern France and northern Italy in the 13th 
	century, and some have theorized that they were 
	the source of the doctrine expressed in the Tarot. 

note that this presumes a doctrine expressed therein.

	Robert O'Neill, author of Tarot Symbolism, has 
	done a lot of research into this possibility. 
	Recently he wrote a series of articles on this 
	subject in which he reaches the conclusion that 
	the Cathari are definitely not the source of the 
	Tarot images. Two of the main reasons are, first, 
	that the Cathari believed in such a strong 
	separation between the spiritual world and the 
	physical that they considered most aspects of the 
	physical world evil. This included shunning all 
	sacred relics and icons. Therefore, they were not 
	about to create a series of sacred images. 
	Secondly, the inquisition did its best to insure 
	that most of the Cathari went out of existence 
	before the Tarot was created. What O'Neill did 
	find is that the Cathari had a more lasting 
	influence by contributing to the mix of ideas 
	that became the Renaissance. Their lack of 
	materialism and spiritual striving inspired more 
	orthodox groups such as the Franciscans and 
	synthesized well with Neoplatonic and Hermetic 
	mysticism. It is this Hermitic mysticism that I 
	believe is captured in the Tarot. The Hermeticists 
	were striving for gnosis and can be called 
	Gnostics. However, Hermeticism was part of 
	mainstream culture in the Renaissance.
       ----------------------------------------------
	http://www.llewellynjournal.com/article/359
       ==============================================

the author provides no examples of Hermeticism in early
Tarot imagery or explanations for why early artists
would have had occult intentions (rather than ordinary
illustrative motivations) for use of any such images.

=============================================================

Googlegroups was the last stop:

Jess Karlin had this general description:

	...tarot arose in North Italy some time between 
	1425-1450. Its symbolism is filled with ideas 
	and persons that reflect that North-Italian 
	birthplace. There is NO evidence that tarot 
	originated for any other purpose than as a gaming
	device. On the other hand, it is fair to say that 
	no one can reasonably speculate about what the 
	people who used tarot in the beginning (or prior 
	to 1781) either thought about it, nor how they 
	may have used it, in addition to gaming.
       ----------------------------------------------
        I found this in an old post of JK's alt.tarot FAQ, 

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Renaissance+Tarot+Italian+artist&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=360E3B16.373C92C7%40texas.net&rnum=8

	which FAQ has been revised and now sits at:

              http://jktarot.com/faq.html#4

       ==============================================

URLs/sites I checked at which I could find no occult mentions 
in bios of early artists on these pages about the artists:

	http://geocities.com/autorbis/trionfiartists.html
	-------------------------------------------------------------
        http://www.wonderful-tarot.com/english/masters.htm 

 are there more complete descriptions of early artist bios?
 other resources online that have personal bio infos for compilation?
 those who want to contribute to this project please send only
 quotations from sources with relevant data (deck artist bios
 which pertains to the occult topics for which we're looking,
 complete with source info, copyright information, etc.). thanks!
 
nagasiva@luckymojo.com

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