Part of a set. See all set records
(Italian, 15th century)
Engraving, hand-colored with gold
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.28
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I.28a
This engraving is part of the group “C” named Liberal Arts. Conceptually, the liberal arts descended from classical antiquity, and were divided into the Trivium (Grammar, Rhetoric, and Dialectic or Logic) and the Quadrivium (Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy). In the Tarocchi set the total number was risen to ten, with the addition of the three disciplines (Poetry, Philosophy, and Theology). The liberal arts denoted knowledge or skills considered necessary to participate in a free society. By the late Middle Ages, they began to be represented in the visual arts as womanlike allegories.
Here, Philosofia (Philosophy) is personified as Athena, goddess of war and wisdom. She holds up a lance in her right hand, while with her left hand firmly grasps her aegis, a shield bearing Medusa’s head. This was believed to have the power of turning any opponent into stone.
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