Tarot: The Visconti-Sforza Cards Calendar from the Morgan Library
Review by Diane Wilkes

This has been a banner year for those who want a selection when choosing a tarot calendar.  The always-elegant Pierpont Morgan Library this year placed its calendar's focus on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot.

Published by Pomegranate, this is indeed a rich-looking calendar!  Everything about this production bespeaks luxury, from the dark wine background behind each card to the generously-sized card images on the page.  And the Visconti-Sforza Tarot is to the castle born, literally and artistically, so the entire creation is as aesthetically pleasurable as a finely-crafted truffle.

The cards that bedeck each month are, in order:

The King of Staves
The Sun
The Wheel of Fortune
Temperance
Judgment or Angel
The Hanged Man or Traitor
The Chariot
Time or The Old Man (also known as The Hermit)
The Pope
The Queen of Swords
The Queen of Coins
The Juggler

The calendar also includes a history of the cards, blessedly free of any allusions to Atlantis.  As noted, the Visconti-Sforza tarot cards are the most complete surviving hand-painted fifteenth century deck, with 74 cards in known existence.  The Morgan Library owns 35 of the cards.

Each card is placed handsomely to the left, with a description of said card written on rosy parchment to the right. The description ends with a brief modern interpretation of the card (ie., The Juggler..."means physical and verbal skill, creativity, and dexterity.").  While this calendar doesn't contain the multitudes of information of its Llewellyn counterpart, it does indicate the phases of the Moon and the solstices.  There is also a detachable insert that lists major holidays for many different countries. 

One attribute of this deck is that it would fit into the stodgiest bank or professional office, because of its link to the Pierpont Morgan Library.  Closet tarotists would be able to display their passion and remain in the closet indefinitely.

Since I neither work in a stodgy atmosphere nor am I in a tarot closet of any kind, this feature is somewhat immaterial to me.  But it is a lovely calendar and a welcome addition to my burgeoning collection of tarot-centered calendars. 

Also, since it's after New Year's, you can obtain this item for half-price or less.  I lucked into my copy at Atlantic Books (215-661-0450) for $3.99!

Tarot: The Visconti-Sforza Cards
The Morgan Library 2002 Calendar
Publisher: Pomegranate
ISBN#: 076491541X

Image 2001 Pomegranate Press
Review and page 2002 Diane Wilkes