Object Image

The Merchant (from the Tarocchi, series E: Conditions of Man, #4)

While differing greatly from traditional Tarocchi or tarot cards, this set earned its misleading name because of a few, unimportant similarities. Never a game, scholars generally agree that this set was an educational tool, used to visually describe a fifteenth-century philosophical model of the universe. It was believed that the universe was a ladder-like structure that began with the beggar and rose through the ranks of man, the muses, the liberal arts, the virtues, and the planets, until it finally reached the pinnacle, the dwelling place of God. Reflecting this order, these fifty engravings were divided into five groups of ten: the Conditions of Man; Apollo and the Muses; the Liberal Arts (...

before 1467
Engraving hand-colored with gold
Image and text: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2023

Where you'll find this

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Permanent collection