Playing Cards: History of the Pack and Explanations of its Many Secrets

analytical Essay
942 words
942 words

The “Nine of Beasts of Prey” by the Master of the Playing Cards is another example of a number card, like the “Three of Birds”, and was printed from multiple copper plates. The “beasts” appear to be mostly lions and bears in varying positions. Much like the case with the birds, the Master E.S. seems to have used two of these images as inspiration for the beast featured in his own engraving. Two lions on “Nine,” the first in the lower left hand corner and the second just to its right, share staggering similarities with the beast in “King.” The Master E.S.’s lion is shown with his body in slightly propped up position off of the helmet, his tail chaotically waving in the wind behind his head, and with his mouth open and tongue exposed.
Additionally, the courtly figure of “King” is also placed centrally like the figure in “Queen”, and they are each shown draped in flowing robes and placed on a cushioned bench. Even the crown on the king’s head shares similar ornamental spires to the one that encircles the head of the Queen of Flowers.
While it is true that a considerable amount of the shading in this image is still completed using a parallel line technique like that of the Master of Playing Cards, there is also the appearance of cross hatching detail. The upper edges of the pillow that rests behind the king very distinctly reveals some cross hatching that allows for a much darker shadow, and therefore, and greater sense of depth to this impression. Cross-hatching was a technique that the Master E.S. utilized which set him apart from the Master of the Playing Cards; however, by using cross-hatching, the Master E.S. accomplishes a more modeled appearance, a visual effect that link his work back to that of the elder Master. ...

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...artha. "Manuscript Sources for the Playing-Card Master's Number Cards." The Art Bulletin 64, no. 4 (1982): 587-600. (accessed April 13, 2014).
Wright, Harold J.L.. "Some Masters of Engraving: Lecture II: German and Netherlands Engravers (Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century)." Journal of the Royal Society of the Arts 85, no. 4529 (1939): 1079-1095. . (accessed May 9, 2014).
Wynne, Marjorie G., and A. Hyatt Mayor. "The Art of the Playing Card." The Yale University Library Gazette 47, no. 3 (1973): 137-184. (accessed April 14, 2014). van Buren, Anne H. , and Sheila Edmunds. "Playing Cards and Manuscripts: Some Widely Disseminated Fifteenth-Century Model Sheets." The Art Bulletin 56, no. 1 (1974): 12-30. (accessed April 13, 2014).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the master e.s. used cross-hatching to achieve a more modeled appearance, which lent itself to creating more printed impressions.
  • Concludes that the early printmakers master of the playing cards and master e.s. of 1466 acted as influential pieces in the field through their subject matter and rendering.
  • Analyzes how the "nine of beasts of prey" by the master of the playing cards is another example of a number card, like "three of birds".
  • Analyzes how "the sudarium" depicts two lavishly dressed men with halos, determined to be st peter and st. paul, standing on either side of a piece of cloth.
  • Cites clanchy, m.t., clayton, muriel, and hargrave, catherine perry.

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