Deck collectors have three versions of the fifteenth-century Sola Busca deck to choose from: decks published by Lo Scarabeo, Il Meneghello, and Wolfgang Mayer. My hands-down favorite is the Mayer deck, currently sold by Giordano Berti, so I’ll describe it first, then compare it to the others. Read more
The Sola Busca Tarocchi was created about 1490 in Northern Italy, and is named for the family who owned the deck until 2009, when they sold it to the Italian government and it was placed in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.
There are two theories about the deck’s creator: either he was an artist named Nicola who had connections to Florence and Ancona; or he was an unknown Ferrarese artist living in Venice; or perhaps it was printed in Ferrara and colored in Venice. We don’t know if the artist created the deck himself, or if it was a commission. A small number of decks were printed from the plates, and a handful of unpainted examples from four different decks are scattered about in museums and private collections. The 78-card Sola Busca in the Pinacoteca di Brera, which was painted a decade or so after it was printed, is the deck that Mayer and Il Meneghello used as the basis for their recent facsimile publications. Read more