Good morning Eugim,EUGIM wrote:* For example,regarding the walking stick of LE HERMIT,I can see that it is red in all the decks except Noblet.
- I don t believe that red was the realistic colour depiction.
So why it is red ?
- Red is also the walking stick of LE MAT
- Red in medieval mind was a positive colour,full of energy.
Was a depiction of Christ blood,a symbolism of salvation.
Also the colour one of the last stage of Alchemy work,the rubedo.
In the tarot’s palette, red is also the closest color to brown, and the most likely to be used to represent a wooden staff. Working with a reduced palette due to printing costs force printers to be ‘creative’ with color. Each color had to serve more than one purpose.
There is something worth praising in the way the colors in each card are perfectly balanced. They are very well used within the composition scheme so we never feel any color disturbing the sense of balance in the cards. It has been argued that the colors in the tarot speak directly to the unconscious mind. This is an exciting -if slightly anachronistic- comment, but very hard to prove if we think on each color as a separate unit of meaning. Not only we would have to determine the exact percentage of each color in each card, so we can understand if the emotions the card elicits are consistent to the alleged psychological effect of the dominant color in it, but the research done on the psychological effect each color has is very superficial and non-conclusive in itself. Now, here is the interesting thing: while it is hard to go beyond the classical “never paint a room red” kind of thing, some research suggests that we react positively to complex but well balanced color schemes. In other words, while the psychological effect each color has may be as debatable as its symbolic meaning, there seem to be some consistency on the positive effect a harmonious color scheme have in us. I find interesting to think on the tarot’s colors in these terms. There is a formal coherence in the tarot colors that makes it very attractive to the eye, as attractive as any commercial artwork should be.
We know that one trick used to balance colors in a mosaic, for example, was to include small bits of -lets say- earth colors, in the sky, and some bits of sky colors on earth. Although this may be imperceptible at first sight, the overall effect is one of balance. I wonder if the unusual choice of certain colors in certain details of the cards -as in half of a horse’s cheek colored flesh, for example- wouldn’t be closer to the same kind of formal color balancing than to a cryptic symbolical wink at us.
Along with colors, the character’s posture is also pretty constant among decks. They all feel like reproductions, second-hand copies of a previous deck. Even if we assume that lots of thought was put in that ‘previous’ -as in original- deck, we have no way of knowing, for certain, if the decks we are seeing aren’t just mindless reproductions of conventions previously set by an ‘original’ card-maker. These card-makers may have just been copying what they saw in a previous deck. Call me crazy, but maybe they just wanted for their cards to sell. I understand that the ‘wise engraver’ theory is very popular among us, but in truth, one doesn’t have to be a PHD in comparative religions to print playing cards. I wish all master card-makers -or printers for that matter- were as wise and interesting as Jean-Claude is. That would make the life of graphic designers way easier! But even today that’s not the case.
All my Best,