Andrea Vitali's Essays

Essays

 

Some iconological discoveries made by Professor Andrea Vitali concerning  the Hanged Man and Tower cards were introduced by him in 1987 on the occasion of the exposition, Cards of the Court.  Tarot. Games and Magic in the Estense Court, a large exhibition about Tarot on an international level held in Ferrara at the Estense Castle. In 1994 he introduced other discoveries, on Temperance, Stars, Moon, Sun, and World, in the circumstance of the exposition Tarot:  Art and Magic, at the Civic Archeological Museum of Bologna. Both were exhibitions for which Prof. Andrea Vitali curated the historical-scientific project and the selection of documents. Along with the iconological essays, presented here concerning all 22 Triumphs, are essays on history, literature, the game of tarot from the 15th to 18th centuries, and articles on topics of a symbolic nature. The Host Essays section presents essays written by members of the Association and other leading experts. Currently there are some essays only in Italian. 


The English translations in the section "Andrea Vitali’s Essays" were revised to start from February 2012 by tarot researcher Michael S. Howard,  to whom we extend our heartfelt thanks.

All the essays are protected by copyright. None of them may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or storage, without written permission of the Associazione Le Tarot.


Below are "Andrea Vitali's Essays" arranged according to the topics discussed. Depending on the content,  essays have been placed under different topics. To read about the iconographic and iconological aspects of the 22 Triumphs, please refer to "Andrea Vitali’s Iconological Essays".

 

To access to the essays click on the titles in the list on your left or on those below.


History of  the Tarot


The Prince
The creator of the Ludus Triumphorum

The History of the Tarot

From its origin to the present day

Bologna and the invention of the Triumphs

Triumphs, Tarots and Tarocchini in Bologna from the XV to the XX century

Symbolic Suits

The meaning of the suits in Renaissance playing cards

Tarots: History, Art, Magic

A selection of images from the catalogue

The Order of the Triumphs

In ancient tarot cards and in XVIth century documents

Triumphs, Trionfini and Trionfetti

Between Game and Literature

Tarotica - 1584    
The Quaternary of the Tarot between Mysticism and Game (In Italian)

The Origin of Aces
A suggestive hypothesis about the origin of suits in numeral cards

El Bagatella which is the symbol of sin 
Regarding the Bagatto as the first card of the Triumphs

Folly and 'Melancholia'
Sensible and senseless folly in the procession of the Triumphs

 

From 'Barocchi' to 'Tarocchi'

The evolution of the term 'Barocco' into 'Tarocco'

 

A bagatello mouse

Three documents of the XVIth century on the 'bagatello' word (In Italian)

 

About the Etymology of Tarot

 

The meaning of the word 'Tarocco' 

The name of the game with the Triumphs, taken from the card without number

 

About the etymology of 'Tarocco'

The meaning of the word Tarocco in the Renaissance and in modern interpretations

Taroch: vulgar Latin

Zanitonella by Folengo and the vulgar Tuscan

Taroch: nulla latina ratione

With Barbarian rite, whitout relationship to the Latin, now they call it taroch

Taroch - 1494

The "Frotula de le dòne" by Giovan Giorgio Alione

Rochi and Tarochi
A fascinating hypothesis regarding the etymology of the word Tarot

Tharocus Bacchus est                   
From the myth of the God of Orgies the origin of the word Tarot

Theroco Wind
The wind that leads to madness (XVIth century)

 

A 'Cavaleyro' taroco (XIIIth century)

A vain and foolish Cavalier in a cantiga of Pedr'Amigo de Sivilha 

 

Minchiate between Game and Literature  


Minchiate in Literature  
From the XVth to the XIXth century

Farsa Satyra Morale
"Sminchiata" means stuff for fools

Treatise on the Game of Minchiate
A document on the Game of Minchiate dated to 1716

Del Minchione
Where we talk about stupid, mad and waster men (In Italian)

Ganellini seu Gallerini
The game of Minchiate in Genoa, Rome and Palermo (XVII - XVIII)


Del  'Minchionare' e della 'Minchionaggine''

Stories of cunning and stupidity (In Italian)

May cancer come to Goffo and to Tarocco

New documents between history and literature from the XVIth to the XIXth century

 

Una guerresca partita a Trionfi (A warlike game of Triumphs)

Two compositions by Giovanni Petrei - XVIth century (In Italian)

 

Il cane di Diogene  (Diogenes' Dog)

A satirical-literary text byFrancesco Fulvio Frugoni (1687) (In Italian)

 

Tarot and Literature

Tarot in Literature I
The most important documents

Tarot in Literature II

The most important documents

Tarot in Literature III

The most important documents

Tarot in Literature IV
With texts and reports on the passion of famous authors for tarot


La Cassaria by Ariosto

The game of tarot in the comedy "La Cassaria" by Ludovico Ariosto

Tasso and the Tarot 

Now I’m tired and I want to play tarot


Symbolic Suits

The meaning of the suits in Renaissance playing cards

Triumphs, Trionfini and Trionfetti

Between Game and Literature

Il Malmantile Racquistato

A general who loved tarot too much

Giordano Bruno and the Tarot
At this cursed game I cannot win, because I have a terrible memory

My Heart has become a Taroch

The Order of Triumphs in a Villanelle of the XVI century

Taroch: vulgar Latin

Zanitonella by Folengo and the vulgar Tuscan

Taroch: nulla latina ratione

With Barbarian rite, whitout relationship to the Latin, now they call it taroch

Taroch - 1494

The "Frotula de le dòne" by Giovan Giorgio Alione

Writing and Quarreling

The "Taroccare" verb from Giulio Cesare Croce to Giosuè Carducci

Giulio Cesare Croce and the Tarot

The Magician never comes to me, nor the World, or even the Fool

Ruzante, the Peasant
Bagatelles, traitors and triumphs in card games in the works of Angelo Beolco

Il Malcontento
Tarot in a Caprice dated to 1547 by Luigi Tansillo (In Italian)

Sorian Days

The invention of a noble holiday in chess, billiards and Tarot

Taroch in Milan  in the XVIth century 
On a Cheribizo and a manufacturer of playing cards


The  Sermons of  Giusti
Giovan Batista Giusti and  the Prince of the Tarot

The Game of Final Bagatt
In praise of the Delightful Game vulgarly called Bagattultimo


Odi et Amo

Of Love and Hate for the 'Game of Tarot

Gente che tarocca
Swearing and yelling in Literature (In Italian)

El Bagatella which is the symbol of sin
Regarding the Bagatto as the first card of the Triumphs

De Rege Scaccorum, de Imperatore Tarocorum

Playing cards and tarot if useful for scholars and courtiers to pass the time

 

May cancer come to Goffo and to Tarocco

New documents between history and literature from the XVIth to the XIXth century

 

Aretino's Letters 

The letters of Aretino to Padovano, manufacturer of playing cards in Florence (In Italian)

 

Delle lodi alla Furfanteria  (In praise of scoundrelism)

The scoundrel tarot by Iacopo Bonfadio (1538) (In Italian)

 

Tarocchini between Game and Literature 


Tarot in Literature I
The most important documents

God doesn't mind Tarocchino
A Game for the relief of poor humanity and a game of fashion


I Tarocchini nel Settecento
In literary texts, essays and satires (In Italian) 

Tarot and Madness

The Hospital of  Incurable Madman
Tarot and madness

Mundus Alter et Idem

Tarot and utopia

The Theatre of Brains

Playing cards and gambling

Wise Madness, Pleasant Madness

The Order of Triumphs in a work about madness dated to 1607

Folly and  'Melancholia'
Sensible and senseless folly in the procession of the Triumphs

 

I Paradossi del Lando 

A praise to the inventor of the Tarot (1543) (In Italian)

 

Vanity and Madness

Vanitas vanitatis et omnia vanitas (In Italian)


Tarot  and Gambling

Playing Cards and Gambling
Genera ludorum fortunae a dyabolo inventa sum

Saint Bernardino and the Cards

Regular cards and Triumphs in the chronicles about the life of the Saint

Allowed Triumphs, Forbidden Triumphs

Two new documents

Laudabiles et Vituperabiles
Praiseworthy and blameworthy games in the sermons of Roberto da Lecce, XVth century

Triumphs in the Bonfire of the Vanities
Girolamo Savonarola and the Piagnoni in Florence in 1497


Remedy of Game-Players

Three sorts of forbidden games at the beginning of the sixteenth century

I Tarocchini nel Settecento
In literary texts, essays and satires  (In Italian)

Folly and 'Melancholia'
Sensible and senseless folly in the procession of the Triumphs

De Rege Scaccorum, de Imperatore Tarocorum

Playing cards and tarot if useful for scholars and courtiers to pass the time

 

The illicit skill of cheaters

The world of cheaters in real-life stories and tricks of the trade

 

Officium Lusorum

Mass of the Gamblers

 

Cursed be thou, old she-wolf

Avarice: the sin of greed of players, prostitutes and moneylenders (In Italian)

 

Of the passion of gambling
Character and portrait of the gambler in France and Italy of the 19th century 

 

Tarot and Game


Ludere ad Triumphos
Cum Deo et in Ecclesia

Symbolic Suits

The meaning of the suits in Renaissance playing cards

Taroch in Milan in the XVIth century 
On a Cheribizo and a manufacturer of playing cards

De Ludo in Statutis
A collation of Statutes on the game (In Italian)

Games and Magic in Ferrara
On a manufacturer of tarot cards, on games and repressive laws, on witches and magic


I Tarocchini nel Settecento
In literary texts, essays and satires  (In Italian)

De Rege Scaccorum, de Imperatore Tarocorum 
Playing cards and tarot if useful for scholars and courtiers to pass the time

 

The illicit skill of cheaters

The world of cheaters in real-life stories and tricks of the trade

 

May cancer come to Goffo and to Tarocco

New documents between history and literature from the XVIth to the XIXth century

 

Trastulli della villa - Trastulli di Corte 

Between tarot and chess, the game in Adriano Banchieri and at the Courts (In Italian)

 

Tarot between  Magic and Inquisition 


The Conjuration of the Tarrocco
A magic ritual in sixteenth-century Venice

Tarot and Inquisitors
In the Serenissima and Trentino, between "witches" and "Diabolical Priests"

Games and Magic in Ferrara
On a manufacturer of tarot cards, on games and repressive laws, on witches and magic

El Bagatella which is the symbol of sin
Regarding the Bagatto as the first card of the Triumphs

 

A clownish sermon (1529)

Instead of the sacred mysteries, a talk on how to play Triumphs

 

Carnival and Tarot


Matti de Trionfi
Carnival and  Folly

Tarot and symbolic world

The Mystical Staircase
The mystical journey toward Knowledge

Symbolic Suits
The meaning of the suits in Renaissance playing cards

Castel del Monte
The number eight and Christian mysticism

Nativitas
The Feast of Sol Invictus


The Aristotelian Telescope
Sharpness, Symbols and Tarot

Emperor Moon and Pope Sun
The thesis of the Church on the superiority of the Pope

Tarotica - 1584
The Quaternary of the Tarot between Mysticism and Game (In Italian)

El Bagatella which is the symbol of sin 
Regarding the Bagatto as the first card of the Triumphs

Folly and 'Melancholia'  
Sensible and senseless folly in the procession of the Triumphs


Christ, the great gambler
A cantata "For the birth of Our Lord" of Baroque Naples

Tarot and Neoplatonism


The astral origin of the soul
A Neoplatonic myth in the iconography of a few cards of the Triumphs

Tarot between Music and Musicians


Christ, the great gambler
A cantata "For the birth of Our Lord" of Baroque Naples

I won. Played Tarot
Mozart’s Salzburg days

 

Trastulli della villa - Trastulli di Corte 

Between tarot and chess, the game in Adriano Banchieri and at the Courts (In Italian)


Tarot manufacture and manufacturers

Far Carte nel Settecento
Art and technology in the manifacture of the cards (In Italian)

 

Taroch in Milan in the XVIth century
On a Cheribizo and a manufacturer of playing cards

Tarot and Cartomancy 

The Castle of Malpaga
Game of Triumphs or Cartomancy with Triumphs?

 

Il Torracchione Desolato

A card- reading sorceress in a poem of the XVIIIth century

 

An enigma in 'Orlando Furioso'

From a verse in a poem, an hypothesis on the existence of cartomancy in the XVth century

 

Predicting the future with the Tarot

Significance and potential of tarot as divinatory symbols

 

Satires and Paradoxes


I Paradossi del Lando
A praise to the inventor of the Tarot (1543) (In Italian)

Men against Women 
The Tarot in the seventeenth century between Satire and Antisatire


Tarot and stories of lived lives 

A poor Artist of the sixteenth century
A painter become decorator of Tarot


The Twelve Words of Truth

A soldier who goes to Mass with a deck of cards in the pocket of his trousers

The renunciation of "Tarrocchi"

In the Resolutions for the Spiritual Exercises of Benedetto Ludovico Giacobini (1676)


God doesn't mind Tarocchino

A Game for the relief of poor humanity and a game of fashion

El Bagatella which is the symbol of sin 
Regarding the Bagatto as the first card of the Triumphs

Playing Tarot in Delight - 1554

Laura Dianti in the game of tarot at the Delight of the Verginese

Winckelmann and Tarocchino
Winckelmann's compliments to the 'Society of the Tarocchino' of Dresden

The illicit skill of cheaters

The world of cheaters in real-life stories and tricks of the trade

 

May cancer come to Goffo and to Tarocco

New documents between history and literature from the XVIth to the XIXth century

 

A clownish sermon (1529)    

Instead of the sacred mysteries, a talk on how to play Triumphs 

 

Leonardo and the Cards

The world of card players between persevering and redeemed (from the XVth to the XIXth century) (In Italian)

 

Of the passion of gambling
Character and portrait of the gambler in France and Italy of the 19th century 

 

About a joke in fifteenth century

Which tells of card games, of three friends, and of one of these who belived be blind (In Italian)

 

About the Hanged Man  in tarot and elsewhere (See also the Iconological Essay regarding this topic)


The Traitor
Hanging by one foot

A Gang of Traitors
On the Penalty of the infamous, or the Hanged Man

 

Saint Taraco

About Christian martyrs hanged upside down (In Italian)