The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#1
Oh, how I love the Mitelli Tarocchini.

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I think it really might be the most beautiful deck in the world. Ever time I look through it I'm simply astonished by its delicacy and grace. I also love the mix of simplicity in presentation and incredible detail.

I can understand why this deck isn't more popular. It's "non-traditional". To begin with it is a "Tarocchino", a deck that has the 2-5 pips removed. Also, being a deck from Bologna, the "Popes" are different than the more common tarot decks. Instead of a Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope, we have a Bearded Emperor, Emperor, Seated Pope, and Standing Pope.

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Other subjects are non-traditional as well.

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The Bateleur is a street performer; The Lovers is shown with just Cupid, or "Love"; The Chariot has a seated Venus; "The Hermit" here is the older subject of "Time"; rather than a Hanged Man, we have a very scary Traitor; The Devil has no minions; "The Tower" goes by it's old subject of The Lightening; a rag picker searches (with lantern!) under The Star; Diana is The Moon; Apollo The Sun; Atlas The World; and finally, instead of "Judgement" we have the older subject of "The Angel".

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For me, these unusual subjects have a very natural feeling to them. I really like the "classical" feel of this deck. I like the elegance and nobility of the characters. Somehow, I feel less distracted when looking at the subjects than I do with any other deck that comes to mind.

Yet, the deck is very detailed. Every card is so lovingly crafted, there is an abundance of detail to savor. This is true for the pips as well.

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There is so much to explore in this deck, I think it's very worthy of a good discussion. I've placed the entire deck here for you to view:
http://www.tarothistory.com/mitelli.html

This is the version by Dal Negro, http://www.dalnegro.com/catalogc.do?idc ... 4=&idp=100 which I highly recommend. It is available from Tarot Garden,House of Tarot, and Alida

Please join me in exploring the iconography of this treasure. What do you like? How do your thoughts when viewing these images differ from when viewing more traditional tarots? What details do you find interesting? What do you think of some of the choices Mitelli made?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#2
You may well be right!
In fact, I am regrouping my thoughts as to Tarot been like the original depiction - not of the states of man, but of War and Peace - personal, political and religious. More on that later!
Anyway where did you get your wonderful deck Robert? Was it hard to come by? I like the gentle colouring as well. It is somewhat like a Mr Place deck lol.
True there is lots of detail- so I will gaze for a while and then come back with a myriad of questions....
I am not yet unpacked from my journey, which has left me still addicted to these images....
~Lorredan.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#4
It is a beautiful deck, I agree....but the most beautiful?


Not so sure about that. The minors remind me of the Naibi di Vachetta (spelling?) which I actually think is more beautiful than this one. :o
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#5
prudence wrote:It is a beautiful deck, I agree....but the most beautiful?


Not so sure about that. The minors remind me of the Naibi di Vachetta (spelling?) which I actually think is more beautiful than this one. :o
Well, that's why I put the question mark. :) ;) :) Of course there are other decks up for that title, I know many would suggest the Soprafino, for instance. I'd also add the NeoClassico to the list. But boy, this one just really gets me. The more I look, the more I love.

I didn't mention this deck is probably from around 1665, so pretty darn close to the Noblet and Vieville timewise.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#6
You read my mind! I was going to ask you what its date was....

Pretty old.

A lot of those cards I do not even recognize....like the lightening one? I'd be lost trying to use it I think...though, it is not really something one needs to use for readings. NIce enough to just have it and look at it.
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#7
R.A. Hendley wrote:I'm surprised Lo Scarbeo or US Games has not released this with the "missing" cards recreated by an artist. I guess the lack of 'feminine papi' would make it difficult to market.
You're right RaH, I think it would.

Personally, I think this is a deck that really wants you to toss out preconceptions and just "read" it. This ISN'T the Star you know, or the Sun or the Moon or most any of the cards you are familiar with. I'd never try to force a number/element on top of a pip, when the pips themselves have so much to tell us of what they mean in this deck. Just look at the Queen of Coins... with her open bag and coins spilling... surely that tells us something!? It's similar to Fortune herself.

I thought you'd like the Valet of Cups as well. He seems to have the cup and the cloth. I wonder if rather than a "covering for the grail" so to speak, it could be as mundane as "Just because I'm a Valet doesn't mean I dreamed of doing nothing but cleaning cups all of my life!"?

But surely, the general market would most likely be very upset at the idea of no Popess and no Empress, they seem like two of the most beloved cards among tarot readers, (yet, if you lost the Pope and Emperor, I'd bet you wouldn't get the same reaction!). To add insult to injury, here we have two Popes and two Emperors! The outrage!

Of course, I'm rather delighted to have them. I tend to favor the Bologna ordering, and I do wonder, (as I've surely stated enough times to be annoying by now), if "originally" there were two popes and two emperors in the tarot.

I really love the Devil and the Angel, they make such a natural pair. I love that the Angel is shown without the Judgement scene.

As also recently mentioned by Ross and you, the Fool and the Bagatto seem like a very good "pair" here.

I love the pairing of Diana and Apollo too. Apollo reminds me as well of the Sun card in the Renaissance Folk Tarot with the beams of light emanating from his head.

Cupid and Venus also make an interesting pair in this set. The Love card with Cupid on it is just fantastic, I love the flaming heart. Venus' Chariout reminds me of the Belgian tarot.

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How cool is it that death has a pyramid behind him?

I love The Lightening, I'm coming more and more to think of this card as "The Thunderbolt".

I have a bit of a hard time with Atlas as the World, I guess I just think of Atlas as being punished with the weight of the world on his shoulders, which is contrary to how I usually think of the World card as being extremely positive.

The Knight of Cups is so odd with the horse walking away from the card. I know I've seen that before but can't remember now where. Is that Spanish? Anyone know of other patterns where the knight rides away like that?

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The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#8
Lorredan wrote:You may well be right!
In fact, I am regrouping my thoughts as to Tarot been like the original depiction - not of the states of man, but of War and Peace - personal, political and religious. More on that later!
Anyway where did you get your wonderful deck Robert? Was it hard to come by? I like the gentle colouring as well. It is somewhat like a Mr Place deck lol.
True there is lots of detail- so I will gaze for a while and then come back with a myriad of questions....
I am not yet unpacked from my journey, which has left me still addicted to these images....
~Lorredan.
Welcome Back Lorredan!!!
I'm very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts on tarot after your trip to Italy and so many important locations in tarot's history!!! Please do take the time once you're rested to tell us everything and share all your photos. I'm very, very curious to hear all about it.

I bought this deck from Tarot Garden or House of Tarot. This is the Dal Negro version, which has been colored. A more authentic version is from Il Meneghello where it is just the line drawings, and on that nice paper Il Meneghello uses (I don't have that version, but would very much like to get it one day). Both versions are large, not as big as the Visconti decks, but getting there. The Dal Negro, like the Visconti decks by US Games, has a plain back.

The deck was expensive, about $60, but I am very, very glad I bought it, and when finances allow, I will buy the Il Meneghello if it is still available. I simply adore this deck.

I'm looking forward to your participation on this thread. I really want to explore this deck as it is one of the least talked about, but I think it deserves more attention and, hopefully, appreciation.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

#10
I have the Il Meneghello version, bought in Bologna. The quality is very high (of course), but they are uncoloured (you have to learn to write ENGLISH-English now, Robert!), so I think I will have to get the Dal Negro as well. The colouring adds a lot of life to the pictures.

Is it the most beautiful? I don't know. It has a purity of line and elegance that makes it irresistable... but perhaps its uniqueness makes it stand in a class by itself. I think it teaches us a lot about Tarot by being so free, however, and coming from one of the homes of Tarot.

RaH, the 2-5s for a Tarocchino can be easily supplied from those of Bologna's other favourite card game, Primiera. This pack has forty cards - pips 1-7 and Jack, Knight, King. The patterns for the Tarocchino and Primiera packs are identical, although now the Primiera has a more polished and detailed design. Dal Negro makes both kinds of packs, and the size, colouring and back designs are identical. It is very easy to slip the Tarocchino's missing pips in there if you want a "complete" 78 card tarot - I got confused and mixed the packs up just now comparing them.

Of course the double-headed modern Tarocchinos, with Moors instead of Popes and Emperors, will not attract a lot of the Tarot market. What might do so is a pre-1725 Bolognese pack, with Popess, Pope, Empress and Emperor. Some 17th century Primieras survive too (in the late Sylvia Mann's collection, I believe), so the pips 2-5 could be borrowed from those - although they might as well just be recreated from any Primiera, as the designs haven't changed essentially, ever.

Ross
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