I’ve already written a couple of entries about the Bolognese graphic artist Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634-1718), but wanted to add a third to highlight one specific aspect of his work: that of game-design. Mitelli designed and published dozens of card-games, dice-games and board-games…
I mentioned previously that Mitelli had produced a deck of tarot cards, Il gioco di Tarocchini (‘The game of Tarocchini;’ see the first of the two images above). Besides this tarot, Mitelli designed at least one other card-game, Il gioco di Passatempo (where passatempo simply means ‘pastime’) The second of the details above shows two of the forty cards from this game, where half the cards are Trionfi (‘trumps’) representing the virtues, and other positive traits; and the other half Cartazze, (‘bad cards,’ I think) representing the vices, etc., which are of lesser value in the game.
The preceding image is a detail from a board-game: Il gioco delle Monete—‘the Game of Coins.’ Click on the detail to see the game-board in full. The rules of play are printed at the bottom of the page: sadly, my Italian isn’t good enough to venture a translation. While the coin-game is played with two dice, Mitelli designed a number of games to be played with three, such as the two that follow, Il Gioco Importantissimo del Fornaro (‘The Very Important Game of the Baker’), and Il Gioco dei Mestieri (‘The Game of Trades’).
Of particular historical interest is Mitelli’s 1712 Il Gioco Nuovo di Tutte le Osterie (‘The New Game of All the Hostelries’), a board game where each square represents one of Bologna’s inns or eating-houses. Every osteria is represented by its sign, under which Mitelli has noted a particular speciality of the establishment. For example, in the details that follow below, we see that L’Orso was known for its Buon Vin Dolce ‘good sweet wine,’ whereas L’Angelo was noted for Buone Sfoglie ‘good pastries.’
As before, my source for these images was my copy of Le Collezioni d’Arte della Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna: Le Incisioni; Vol. I., edited by Franca Varignana. Click on the details above to see the images in full.Posted by misteraitch at March 29, 2005 07:30 PM