The Visconti-Sforza Tarot in 3-D

Hello Everyone!

Due to SteveM's request I thought I should give the "research" forum a try - with good reason and after some efforts I made.

I could really need some help here and because you have been around here and on the research road so much longer than I it could very well be that you have a solution to the problem this request is about.

Before I came here to the R-section I asked a friend to write an e-mail to Mr. William M. Voelkle who serves as Senior Research Curator in the Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts section of The MORGAN ( on my behalf because I'm not so good with words.

Those who visited the "Tarotée - The Back-Door To The Secret" thread


already know that.

Now I know of course that my request should be one of many - but while I'm still waiting patiently for an expert's response I thought I might give it a try around here since many of you seem to know these very special cards quite well.

So here goes my research...
















Every well thought-out "shuffling concept" shall be taken very seriously by me and would be an appreciated help in this precarious situation. For some stimuli you could have a look here:



Re: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot in 3-D

Welcome Huck! It's so good to see you!

You're not totally correct with your calculation Huck and when you look at file "The TASK - The 6th Step" I delivered the "yardstick" right there WITH the model: the gray & white "stripes" are supposed to be 1 mm due to the scale of the "cards" there depicted and you can follow the process of building this model from the e-mail to The Morgan (with the SAME measurements quoted here with the above JPGs) due to scale.

Only THAT makes this experience sooo interesting - you can "feel" it forthright in your brain how absurd the supposed purpose of those "entities" to serve as playing cards was from the beginning of "research" on onward through ALL these years.

Your calculation was:

>> 20 x 3,8mm = 76 mm and 54 x 3,3mm = 178,2 mm, makes the 74 cards together more than 26 cm thick. <<

I said (through the mouth of a friend in the e-mail):

>> ...My estimation is that the cards with "people" depicted on them - the great secrets (20) and court (16) - should be around 3,8 mm "thick" and the "pip" cards (4 x 10 - 2 = 38) should be around 3,3 mm "thick" (due to the different working of the golden layer which seems to be only partially engraved from the front with some lines to "catch" the light). ... <<

As a written calculation this would be:

(20 + 16) x 3,8 (mm) = 136,8 (mm) & 38 x 3,3 (mm) = 125,4 (mm)


136,8 mm + 125,4 mm = 262,2 mm

Because I'm NOT nitpicking (like I already mentioned above) let's round this frightening number down to 26 cm (and for those who think in inches: 10.236220472440944

Granted that 1 inch is converted to 2.54 cm like here:

But the REALLY frightening part is: WHY does NO ONE know that?

WHY aren't those measurements published by the museums and houses who care for them?

Even if you would only work with strong cradboard and a pencil it would make 78 of them "cards" a LOT "thicker" than the red rectangle in the JPGs from the Bible quote onward that serves as a model for the thereat mentioned "Dal Negro" version of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot exactly due to scale to the 74 WONDERful Creatures right left to them.

And you did not know about this too? Why? HOW?

You care for them deeply - I know that from your trionfi site - and you never thought about them this way?
And Ross? And mikeh? And Mr. K? And the authors? ALL of them?


Thanks a lot for your reply Huck


P.S. And the recipient of the letter should be very glad to get up from his chair and measure those lovelies because they live right there in his hood so there should be no room for (your) doubts or speculations.

Re: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot in 3-D

Yes - the confirmation should be fun and well worth the wait!

But what will we do when Mr. Voelkle never writes back and confirms?

With e-mails to employees of "institutions" this happens sometimes and I personally witnessed such totally unexpected occurrences time and time again.
I'm still trying to figure out the "why" of such superior force (or would be farce the c :D rrect term here?)

What will we do... ?

Would you still stick with the proclaimed "playing cards theory"?

OR would you try to gather information on the real built and true measurements of the cards in all 3 directions and the applied working methods and materials of the supposedly involved artists? All that should be available for research.

There is a field called "science of art" (Kunstwissenschaft) that is concerned with such matters and an "art historian" who publishes a book about them and their curator should be concerned too - just like Mr. K should have been right from the beginning.

These matters apply to the "Goldschmidt Cards" and obviously the other even more intricate Visconti (-Sforza) Tarots too. All cards with that "kilim-pattern" in their backgrounds should be too HUGE or too FRAGILE to serve as "playing cards" - even when they were NOT hung on a wall like the Goldschmidts.


Re: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot in 3-D

What Do you mean by "high extensions" Huck?
I'm not familiar with that term in this context.

What would YOU consider to be "a little thicker" than usual?
The red rectangle bottom right on the last 3 JPGs is the true to the scale (of the model I made here) representation of the WHOLE pack of the Dal Negro version of this Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck. 70-EIGHT cards in total.

Even at The Morgan I found the scarce "description" "painted strong cardboard" somewhere.
What would YOU consider to BE "strong cardboard"?

1 mm? Not very "strong" and prone to bending a lot - even with our modern technology of paper fabrication.
Still 74 mm in "thickness" - just the cardboard - compared to the 78 cards with their 25 mm of the Dal Negro pack. What "thickness" could the gold-layer have with it's artwork from both sides which makes the layer 3-dimensional what you can clearly see by the occurring shadows when you use the "Zoomify" feature at The Morgan.

1,5 mm? A little stronger but prone to bending still. The gold which is very soft won't be of ANY help for stability - but when IT should bend the colors would flake and you couldn't bend the card back once it got bend. The "card" would be destroyed - once and for all.

Your last assumption of how a pack of cards is measured best I wouldn't buy because when you want to shuffle the cards - what should be essential to card play - the cards should be of very similar appearance (especially the "thickness" and width and height) AND an even surface of their "faces" should be required too.
Otherwise you or me or anyone else would have a very hard time shuffling them sons of bitches.

Anyways: at The Morgan ARE 35 at visual display - enough for any "estimation" - even following your method.

The Accademia Carrara has 26 of them and the Colleoni family in Bergamo has 13 in their care.
Enough for an "Italian estimation" too.

If Mr. Voelkle doesn't respond to my well meant request - wouldn't it be possible for YOU through your Italian contacts (about which I read on to acquire those data?

Even when they should apply only to the "pip cards" it would be great to compare such REAL data to my model here!

What do you think? Would you be interested to set that in motion?


Re: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot in 3-D

Well - thank you Huck!

>> Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo ... the height is about that of two packs of normal cigarettes. <<

This is Mr. K's quote I suppose - and it seems to be a very rough and unreliable information from someone who has NEVER seen all 74 of them in ONE solid pack.

A "pack(s) of normal cigarettes" should be around 30 mm (I'm guessing here right now because I have none at hand reach) what would make 60 mm in total compared to the 25 mm of the Dal Negro product with it's 78 cards.

60 (mm) : 74 would give ONE card in that concerned never seen pack an allowance of 0,8918918918918919 mm.

Since I promised I won't be nitpicking here let's make this 0,9 mm - for STRONG cardboard - a 3-dimensional golden layer and a lot of other work (you can find in the bottom qoute).

Even when someone considers all 74 to be of the same "thickness" - which they are NOT!

I would assume that he flatout (I won't say lied) made an assumption that fit right into his "gaming agenda (KIDDING!)".

Anyway with his background >> Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo ... the height is about that of two packs of normal cigarettes. << is a totally ridiculous information for a scientific "report" because the math I did here could have been done easily by him too - even when there were no calculators back than. :-B

By the way: here is an interesting account referring to BOOK production during Renaissance.

Medieval and Renaissance Book Production: Manuscript Books 7/6/09 11:25 ... t=lib_pubs

Page 11/12

>> (11) ...Gilding was always carried out before painting, as the paint could cover any rough edges.
There were several methods of applying gold, both burnished and unburnished, in leaf or powder form within the same area, giving varieties of texture and color to the metal. Powdered gold or silver was made by grinding the metal with honey or salt; it was then mixed with glair, a common medium made from egg whites, or gum, and was applied with a brush, or could even be used with a pen. To ensure a smoother flow and coverage, yellow pigments were often mixed in, and the surface could be burnished to some extent with a tooth. This method was used more often for lines and rarely for the coverage of large areas, where gold leaf was required.

(12) Gold leaf was attached directly to the surface by means of glair, glue, or gum which acted as an adhesive.
Pigments such as terre verte, saffron, yellow ochre, or red brazil dye could be added to the adhesive so that the gilder would know exactly where to apply it. If the gold leaf was to be highly burnished it required a support. The support was built up with layers of gesso (powdered gypsum mixed with glue) applied with a brush.
When the appropriate height was reached, the surface of the gesso was burnished until it was perfectly smooth. Bole, a waxy clay ranging in color from white to red, was painted on the surface so that the gilder would know which area to gild. Finally the gold leaf was applied with glair or gum, and then it was burnished, giving it the appearance of a solid piece of metal.

Now the scribe or artist was ready to apply paint. Each color was applied in turn and allowed to dry, with the final stage being the application of the stipple or white highlighting. The paint consisted of two elements, media and pigment. The medium, which turned the dry powdered pigments into a liquid paint, varied according to the choice of pigment. The foremost medium was glair, a mixture of egg whites and water. Gum arabic, vinegar, or honey might be added to vary the consistency, and water was used to dilute it. Glair could be used with almost any pigment. Another common medium was gum arabic (from the acacia tree) which came in solid lumps, called tears, which were powdered and then dissolved in water. After about a day the solution was strained and it was ready to use. Glue was made from horn or parchment and was mainly used for green pigments. Cheese glue was used almost exclusively with folium, and egg yolk was only used with a few pigments (orpiment, carmine, indigo, and azurite). These pigments were ground in egg yolk, which was subsequently washed out and the powdered pigment was then mixed with glair or gum arabic. ... <<

Now these techniques apply to BOOKs no one would hope to shuffle sometimes. And GOLD LEAF is NOT used on the on the Great Secrets & Court. There is a layer of gold so strong that it could be worked from both sides - but you would have to WORK the "card" most probably in a similar way to fasten the gold to the STRONG cardboard. Then again glue dries out in hundreds of years and gold has no really adhesive surface but it should be thin enough to SEW it to the "card" - what would leave us with the problem of an additional uneven "card back" what COULD have been covered wit another layer of paper.

After all the "cards" were meant to be shuffled to arrive in the gamer's hands for a workout - no matter how "thick" they were. :ymparty:


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