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Posts from the ‘Tarot History’ Category

Gerard Bodet Tarot Restored by Sullivan Hismans

Devil card Gerard Bodet Tarot

The Gerard Bodet Tarot restored by Sullivan Hismans (Tarot Sheet Revival) may be the oldest complete Rouen-Brussels deck we have. Around the year 1500, tarot migrated from Italy to France and entered a new phase of development. Milanese tarot swept across Europe, becoming the standard gaming deck and evolving into the Tarot de Marseille pattern. An alternate style migrated from Florence and Ferrara, then lurked underground until surfacing in Paris in the mid-seventeenth century as the Jacques Vieville deck, a hybrid of the Tarot de Marseille and Rouen-Brussels patterns. Let’s look at what’s distinctive about this style and where Bodet’s deck fits in with its development. (All cards in this article are Gerard Bodet unless stated otherwise.)

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Reading Minchiate Cards with Brian Williams

This is turning out to be Minchiate Month! Marco Benedetti just published a restored and recolored Fiorentine Minchiate which I reviewed here last week. A few recent videos feature this deck. Links to everything are at the bottom.

What if you want to read with this expanded tarot deck? What resources will help with card interpretations, especially those unfamiliar cards like Charity, Prudence, or the Eastern Emperor? Two books by the late art historian Brian Williams are indispensable for studying the iconography of both Tarot and Minchiate.

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A Fiorentine Minchiate Restored by Marco Benedetti

Announcing a Fiorentine Minchiate deck produced by Marco Cesare Benedetti of Rome, Italy. The strong lines, rich colors and expressive faces make this limited edition deck very readable. Before I get into specifics of Benedetti’s deck, let’s get clear on what a Minchiate deck is and how it differs from tarot.

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Tarot and Divination Cards: A Visual Archive by Laetitia Barbier

Turning the pages of this book is like wandering the corridors of an enchanted castle where the walls are lined with over-sized images of tarot and fortune-telling cards, art from previous centuries, and the occasional surprise from contemporary popular culture. Barbier’s infectious joy and delight in all things cartomantic shines on every page of this wondrous book with the same energy and creativity she brings to her tarot classes on the Morbid Anatomy platform.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

If fifteenth-century aristocrats hadn’t tried to impress their friends with hand painted, golden tarot decks, and if those decks hadn’t been preserved in museums, our knowledge of tarot’s origins would be very limited. The most complete deck of this type, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, is one of the most frequently published historic decks. We can’t overestimate its importance. Below are links to deck and book reviews as well as articles on historic background related to this deck.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: The Soprafino Style

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

Today I’m listing everything I’ve written about the soprafino style. Originating in Milan in the 1830s, it has been reproduced by many publishers down to Lo Scarabeo’s current mass market version. Printers have borrowed random details from the style, especially in Piedmont. See reviews of those decks listed in last week’s blog post on Piedmont decks.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Piedmont Decks

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

The Piedmont region has one of the oldest tarot traditions in Italy. Its geographic location made it the crossroads where the playing card traditions of Italy and eastern France mingled. Below are articles on the Piedmont tradition and reviews of individual decks.

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Tarot History on Youtube

Marco Benedetti and myself in a conversation moderated by Justin Michael. We talk about tarot’s Italian origins and show off lots of decks from our collections. Here’s a chance to see historic deck facsimiles, as well as Marco’s recreations of rare Italian decks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGNCOS2zQQk

This is a kick-off video to Justin’s Tarot Through the Ages series.  He’s got some interesting things coming up that will introduce a new audience to tarot’s roots. Be sure to check out Justin’s Titans of Tarot series where he interviews luminaries like Robert Place, Vincent Pitisci, and Rachel Pollack.

Budapest Bounty: Three Recreations of an Ancient Tarot

I’ve always been intrigued by the few remnants of fifteenth-century block-printed decks that still exist. They hold tantalizing clues to the early days of tarot, so I’m thrilled that there are three versions of the block-printed Budapest deck on the market. Shown here from left to right are the Fool and Judgment cards by Robert Place, Sullivan Hismans and Marco Benedetti.

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Interview: Sherryl Smith and Justin Michael

Here’s a Youtube video of Justin Michael and myself in conversation a few months ago. In the first 30 minutes, I talk about my 50+ years involvement with tarot and how our understanding of tarot history has evolved. This is interspersed with personal experiences that led to my somewhat irrational antipathy toward esoteric and kabbalistic tarot.

In the second half, I show off my deck collection, especially decks by artisans who have revived obscure historic decks, like Yves Reynaud, Marco Benedetti, Sullivan Hismans, Pablo Robledo, Giordano Berti, and Il Meneghello (Osvaldo Menegazzi). In some cases, these decks only existed as printed sheets or photos in magazines.

Be sure to check out the rest of Justin’s channel. He has interviews with tarot luminaries like Robert Place and Rachel Pollock as well as reviews of TdM and other historic decks.

Link to the Interview