Leonardo DaVinci Tarot by Iassen Ghiselev and Atanas Atanassov

Review by Arielle Smith 

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.


Is there a soul alive who does not stand in awe of Leonardo da Vinci?  Scientist, inventor, artist, this Renaissance man was way ahead of his time and, yet also, timeless.


What do you suppose his favorite tarot card was?  That he was exposed to tarot cards is almost certain, for tarot cards were found in the historical records of Ludovico Sforza, one of Leonardo’s patrons. Was da Vinci thinking of the High Priestess when he painted the Mona Lisa?


Bulgarian artist, Iassen Ghiuselev, apparently thought he could have been when Ghiuselev created the Major Arcana for the da Vinci Tarot in 1992.  Ten years later, Atanas Atanassov (already noted for his work on the Mantegna and Visconti decks), finished this deck by completing the 56 Minor Arcana.  The cards are done in the softest-possible shades of green, gray, and pink.  They are elegantly peaceful, and the work of the two artists flows together seamlessly as if done by one person.


Many of the cards are the actual works of da Vinci.  It is said da Vinci made notes in the margins of his drawings and many of the cards reflect this.  Da Vinci’s famous sinews, muscles, and fascination with anatomy are evident, as are his enigmatic expressions.  But what strikes me most with this deck is how, even though the cards are “quiet” and serene, they feel so utterly alive.  It’s as if – if only you could climb inside the frame of the card – you would be caught up in a hailstorm of activity.  You would note the lines of architecture, you would feel the power of the horse, you would straighten your posture, and you would certainly marvel at the human body!


It would have been incredible to have a book with this deck…something that told us which cards were actual da Vinci works.  I found myself wondering if I’d really seen certain cards before or only thought I had.  Favorite cards include the Fool with it’s flying invention soaring over the land….the Moon with her face turned away so that we cannot see her mystery….Justice, holding the long, formidable sword in one hand and the hand mirror in the other (with da Vinci’s reflection showing)…and the Magician, calmly sitting there with his index finger pointing to….what?  The secret of life?  “There it is, can’t you see it?” he asks.           


Is this a great divination deck?  I don’t think so.  But it is worthy and a definite necessity for collectors.  It’s also a great way to own your very own Leonardo da Vinci art collection. 


Tarot de Leonardo Da Vinci by I. Ghiuselev and A. Atanassov

Publisher:  Lo Scarabeo

ISBN# 073870409-1

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

You can read other reviews of this deck here and here.

See a sample reading with this deck here.

Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and four cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also a part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot. You can visit her at her website, Mystik Moons.

Images © 2003 Lo Scarabeo
Review © 2003 Arielle Smith
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes