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The Da Vinci Tarot

by Mark McElroy, Iassen Ghiuslev & A. Atanas Atanassov

The Da Vinci Tarot
Price: $21.95

Number of cards in deck: 78

Measurements: 2.6 x 4.72 inches, or 66 x 120 mm.

Back of card: Based on the Queen of Wands, shown above. In the lower right corner, she is shown seated, in the upper left corner, she is shown inverted, so the deck may be inverted. The margins are similar to those on the front, the "frame" of the Vitruvian man is also present (as on the front), the color is light grayish-brown, so the backs of the cards do not contrast well with the fronts.

Book included: Yes, 64 pages, 4.9 x 7.8 inches, or 124 x 198 mm. Instructions, by McElroy, are in English only.

Publisher: The deck & book are published by Lo Scarabeo. The box they are in is published by Llewellyn. Printed in Italy, imported by Llewellyn Worldwide.

Comments: The notes with this deck are not very good, but they do give the history of this particular deck.

This deck started life as a set of 22 major arcana cards, by Iassen Ghiuselev, in 1992. As such, they were probably imported into the US by US Games. Ten years later, with Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code on the best seller lists, Lo Scarabeo scrambled to add minor arcana cards to this deck. As Mr. Ghiuselev was no longer available, A. Atanas Atanassov was brought in to complete the deck.

McElroy gives a brief sketch of Leonardo's life. He correctly notes the lack of evidence linking da Vinci to any secret order. He makes the pro forma statement that since da Vinci worked for the Sforzas of Milan, he could have seen some of the earliest known tarot decks, as the Sforzas commissioned them. He then speculates as to what da Vinci would have thought of them. This question has a fairly straight-forward answer: He would have seen the cards as the work of a very talented miniaturist, someone much further down the pay scale than himself. I don't know if da Vinci was a snob or not (one would hope not), but the life of artistic miniaturists, and the eyestrain they endured, was not anyone's desired career path.

This is one of a series of Lo Scarabeo decks based on ancient artists & their work. Lo Scarabeo does this sort of thing very well. Regrettably, the modern artists do not tell us what their intentions are, and Mark McElroy has no idea himself. He does identify da Vinci's original sources, but here he was assisted by Robert M. Place & Ricardo Minetti. McElroy's divinatory commentary is chatty & superficial. I would wish for a better book for this fine deck.

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207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

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