Like most amateur tarot historians, I’ve often fantasized about entering the inner sanctum of a museum to see, and perhaps even handle, those magnificent gold-embossed cards from the 15th century. So you can imagine how magical and mind-blowing it was to find myself quite unexpectedly face-to-face with the Morgan Library’s portion of the Visconti-Sforza deck.
It happened in 2006 during a trip to New York City where I hoped to immerse myself in abstract art at the Guggenheim, the Whitney and MOMA. A musty old institution like the Morgan Library wasn’t even on my radar until a friend of my traveling companion offered to get us in for free. Off the main lobby, in a large, very dim room, I discovered a special exhibit of illuminated manuscripts. Quite by accident, I stumbled over two very long glass cases running the width of the room where the Visconti-Sforza cards from the Library’s collection emitted a heavenly glow in the room’s dim light. Read more