An excellent article Sympathy or the Devil, by Professor Wouter Hanegraaf, of the University of Amsterdam has  been posted at the Esoterica Website:

This article deals with Lodovico Lazzarelli  who is important to the history of the Tarot,  that is, the so-called Tarot of Mantegna, and with the ramifications of Renaissance magic.

Lodovico Lazzarelli, De gentilium deorum imaginibus
In Latin.    Parchment.     After 1471

Lodovico Lazzarelli, one of the many late fifteenth-century Italian intellectuals who were fascinated by the wisdom they thought to lie concealed in the myths of Greek (and Egyptian) pagans, here describes the cosmos, the planets and the arts in a lovely illuminated manuscript prepared for Federigo da Montefeltro. On display is the devouring image of Saturn, the melancholy planet feared by such astrologers as the Florentine Marsilio Ficino. The earth appears surrounded by angels, and Lazzarelli clearly sees no contradiction between his Christian faith and his fascination with ancient wisdom.

Also see:

Wouter Hanegraaf, Lodovico Lazzarelli: The Hermetic Writings (Gnostica 3), Louvain.

Kristelter. "Lodovico Lazzarelli e Giovanni da Correggio, due ermetici del Quattrocento, cit manoscritto II.D.1.4 delta Bibtioteca Comunate degti Ardenti di Viterbo," in Biblioteca degli Ardenti della citta di Viterbo, Viterbo, 1960: 3—25.

S. Sosti, "Il Crater Hermetis di Ludovico Lazzarelli," Quaderni dell’Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento Meridionale, 1(1984): 101—32.

 Hind, A.M. Early Italian Engravings, 1938, p. 239 for illustrations to De Gentil. deorum of Lazzarelli -

Lazzarelli, Crater Hermetis, Yates, Bruno, pp. 339, 171-173, 263, 264n., 401.

The Hermetic Prophet Giovanni 'Mercurio' da Correggio, dramatically converted Lazzarelli in 1484.

1484 - Mercurius walks through the streets of Rome, Yates, Bruno, p. 171.


" ...researchers deserve to see every card from works like the Lazzarelli Codices (from 1471) which are in the Vatican Library. These are an exquisite set of tarocchi images, artistically resembling and named after the Mantegna cards, but confined to twenty two prints like the Major Arcana of the Visconti-Sforza (see Kaplan's Encyclopedia, p. 27)."

History of Tarot by Christine Payne-Towler

1471 Ferrara, Italy.
A series of 27 poems by Ludovico Lazzarelli was assembled into a volume, illustrated with 23 images from the so-called Mantegna Tarocchi, and four other images in a similar style. (The information in Kaplan is not reliable on this, specifically the comment that there are "twenty-two tarocchi illustrations" in Lazzarelli’s work.) (K I:26-27.) Robert V. O'Neill described the work as a typical Renaissance Humanist poem: praising ancient mythology and moralizing pagan stories, assembling the collection into a Neoplatonic hierarchy. (O’Neill, "Requiem for Lazzarelli".) See The "Mantegna" Cosmograph.

2003 Michael J. Hurst