|After ordering this deck by an Italian artist, I began to wonder if my
deck buying was out of control. I confess that I bought this deck sight unseen, for only
one reason - the box
was just too intriguing! I could not find any info or pictures on the deck, but decided to
risk my money anyway. So I awaited with curiosity for my deck to arrive from Italy.
Well I was pleasantly surprised. I really find the artwork attractive, although I will say right off that I'd consider this deck strictly an art deck. But more on that in a moment.
This deck is a limited and numbered edition (of 1100) 78 card tarot, and printed beautifully by Il Meneghello in Milan, Italy in 1999. Besides a top-card which displays the deck name, artist and edition info, there is a folded sheet which has (in Italian) a very brief history on the artist, Anna Maria DOnofrio, and the galleries she has displayed in.
These tarots are printed on a medium toned, very thick card stock; in fact so thick that the height of the stacked deck is slightly over 1 and 3/4 inches. I tried to shuffle them out of curiosity, but with a half deck in each hand I could hardly bend them to riffle together - so I didn't try! Besides, I can barely get my hands around the tops and bottoms of a half stack in a shuffle position because these things are pretty big: each card is 2 1/16 inches wide and 5 1/4 inches high. Mixing them together flat on a table is probably the only way that they could be easily shuffled. The cards, by the way, are not coated by any kind of plastic.
But their odd shape is definitely part of their charm. One of the things I like about her art is how she worked her compositions into such a vertical shape. Her figures are long and slender, yet none of the cards look like anything was forced to fit. I noticed this right away because, though the designs are not busy, she has added several fun details into the backgrounds of some of the cards, such as buildings, trees, and birds. Also, on her pip cards, she has painted at the top different motifs such as crests, ornamentations, creatures and patterns, which are unique to that card. In other words, all 40 numbered cards each have their own extra design at the top.
The 22 trumps are fairly traditional, though highly stylized, imagery. One nice exception is 'Il Mondo' which apparently shows the city of Florence from a bird's eye view. I also like the soft and muted colors of the paintings, and all the textures in her painting style. The only thing that I'm not crazy about is that the faces on some of her figures look a bit on the 'cute' side. The Sun card is a good example of this. On the other hand her figures are innocent and simple, which help give this deck it's 'old world' charm. Considering this deck came out in 1999, it surprisingly makes me feel as if I've taken a step back in time.
This is a high quality deck in every way, from it's art through to it's production. The box is cool, too.
Review by Mark Filipas, 10/1/99