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(Italian, 15th century)
Engraving hand-colored with gold
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.11
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I.11a
This engraving is part of the Tarocchi group marked with the letter “D,” and named Apollo and the Muses. In Greek mythology, the nine Muses (Calliope, Urania, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Thalia, Melpomene, Euterpe, and Clio) were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the Titaness of memory. The Muses were goddesses presiding over different branches of the arts and sciences. Their leader and supervisor was Apollo, the god of light, music, prophecy, and poetry.
Here, Caliope (Calliope) is personified as a full-length female figure, playing a long horn. Next to her is a fountain. This symbolizes the Greek Castalian font at Mount Parnassus, sacred to the Muses and believed by poets to be a source of inspiration. Calliope was regarded as the foremost of the Muses and the one prompting epic poetry.
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