The Mantegna Tarot is a useful tool, to tap into the creative energy of the Renaissance. It can inspire us to live a more meaningful life.
The Mantegna Tarot Structure
The Mantegna Tarot consists of 50 engravings, divided in 5 groups. Group E (cards 1-10) covers the hierarchy of society, from Beggar (Misero), through Gentleman, to Pope (Papa). Group D (11-20) consists of the nine Muses and Apollo. The seven liberal arts and Philosophy, Poetry, Theology form the Group C (21-30). Group B (31-40) includes the Genius of the Sun (Iliaco), Genius of Time (Chronic), Genius of the world (Cosmic), and the Seven Virtues. Group A (41-50) brings us the Sun, Moon, five traditional planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), the Eighth Sphere (Octava Spera) of the fixed stars, the Primo Mobile, and Prima Causa.
Mantegna Tarot History
The Mantegna Tarot likely started as an educational book, drawn in a style similar to the school of Francesco Del Cossa, a painter active in Ferrara and Bologna. Several Mantegna Tarot cards are inspired by the literary work of Martianus Capella, a Latin-language writer of the 5th century, author of De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (The Nuptials of Mercury with Philology). Martianus Capella: was a Latin-language writer of the 5th century, author of De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (The Nuptials of Mercury with Philology). This didactic treatise was addressed to his son. It tells the story of Mercury, searching for a wife. Apollo, who convinces him to marry Philology. Jupiter, who agrees to this union as long as Philology gets elevated to a divine status, being accompanied by the liberal arts.These are nine books of the work:
Liber I: De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii
Liber II: De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii
Liber III: De arte grammatica
Liber IV: De arte dialectica
Liber V: De rhetorica
Liber VI: De geometry
Liber VII: De arithmetica
Liber VIII: De astronomy
Liber IX: De harmonia
The overall humanistic environment where the Mantegna Tarot came to be, was deeply influenced by Georgius Gemistus Pletho (Pletone), a Byzantine philosopher. And Marsilio Ficino who translated Plato’s work in Latin.
Mantegna Tarot Links
The Mantegna Tarot is the protagonist of many articles available online. It is surprising it has not gone mainstream yet, as a key Tarot deck. Useful and reliable resources about the Mantegna Tarot include:
– Video reviews of the Mantegna Tarot Deck by Lo Scarabeo:
Frank is the co-author of “EXSTATICA Self-Help Essentials Unleash the Transformative Sparkles of the Renaissance Mantegna Tarot”. It brings a fresh perspective to the psychological use of the Tarot for Self-Help. It presents Four Spheres: Meaning, Cognition, Emotion, Behavior. When they are nested into each others, with Meaning being the outer/wider of the spheres, we are in harmony. If they are out of balance, our life suffers as well.
You can connect with him on https://www.exstatica.org/