Tarot Marco Benedetti: Visconti Homage Deck
Twenty-five years ago, Marco Benedetti painted a heavenly homage to the Visconti-Sforza deck in tempera on gold leaf. A few years ago, he offered his deck to the public on Gamecrafter, and as a custom printed gold-leaf deck. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his original deck, he is offering both the original deck and an updated 25th anniversary edition on Gamecrafter and as a custom printed gold deck. Both Gamecraafter decks come with additional cards, so you really get two decks in one. There are several options for customizing the gold deck., which I discuss toward the bottom. First, let’s compare the two Gamecrafter versions.
The biggest update to the 25th Anniversary edition: names and numbers are removed from the trumps and court cards. This allows more space for a slightly enlarged image. The black border is a tiny bit thicker, making for better contrast. The updated cards have more presence and more visual impact.
Batons are redesigned to feel more medieval. The red and gold make a nice contrast with the other suits.
Having just a little more space makes a big difference to the swords. The hilts have been redesigned to feel more balanced.
In the original deck, several trump cards are very TdM-ish: Strength, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, and Sun. If you order the original deck from Gamecrafter, you get these six cards from the later version of the deck in addition to the original TdM cards, for a total of 84 cards. If you order the 25th anniversary deck, you get the TdM-type cards listed above plus six cards in Bolognese style: Emperor, Strength, Death, Star, Moon and Sun. Ninety cards in all, allowing you to switch them out and customize your deck.
Shown here are the three Moon cards: TdM-style with dogs and crayfish, the Bolognese astronomers, and Benedetti’s rendition of the Moon as Artemis.
Both versions of the deck are the same size (2.75 x 4.75 inches) with plain dark red backs (like the original Visconti-Sforza deck) and housed in a dark red tuck box.
The Gold Visconti Homage Deck
The most stunning deck in my collection is the updated Visconti Homage deck in gold and silver foil. Here’s a photo of the original and the updated versions in both sizes. Thanks to the heavier black border and the absence of numbers and titles, these sleek cards make a strong visual impact. Your name is inscribed on the Two of Cups and the inside of the wooden box.
You can work with Benedetti to customize your gold deck by choosing which version you want, the size, and by substituting some of the cards. The deck is based on the Visconti-Sforza, but if you prefer a more Tarot de Marseille flavor, several higher numbered cards can be substituted. You can also request extra cards in the Florentine style.
I’ve been reading with the mini size of the older version of the deck for nearly two years. The cards still look like new. No need to fear that shuffling will ruin the gold. I find the newer design so striking that I’m going to switch and make it my main reading deck. The tiny, light-weight mini deck is the one I’ll carry with me when I go out (whenever that becomes possible).
Gamecrafter – original deck
Gamecrafter – 25th anniversary deck
See all of Marco Benedetti’s decks on his Facebook page
Email Benedetti to arrange for a gold leaf deck in a choice of two sizes: tarot @ Marcobenedetti.it
My 2019 review of the Gamecrafter and the custom printed gold version of Benedetti’s deck