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The masterworks of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, designed by hand in Gold and Silver Edition Playing Cards.
The masterworks of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, designed by hand in Gold and Silver Edition Playing Cards.
The masterworks of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, designed by hand in Gold and Silver Edition Playing Cards.
1,568 backers pledged $81,204 to help bring this project to life.

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Leonardo | Art Playing Cards

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The campaign has ended. Leonardo is available at Art Playing Cards

My interest in the art of Leonardo is lifelong. Realizing his work into modern playing card design has completely absorbed me this last year. Weaving elements of his paintings and drawings together and carefully integrating them has deepened my appreciation for Leonardo's sublime talent.

I'm sure you can see in every detail my passionate dedication to my work. Please note the handwork on each suit and value - every card is unique, a real labor of love.

To compliment the quality of the artwork, Leonardo will be printed by USPCC, the United States Playing Card Company.

I hope you enjoy my project. This is Leonardo!

Leonardo Edition Gold | Jack of Spades

Known to players and collectors alike as the One-Eyed Jack, this card is based on The Bust of a Warrior in Profile, in The British Museum, a work expertly done in silverpoint, a favorite medium of Renaissance artists. The large crossbow machines, an unrealized invention, are from a separate drawing of Leonardo's, from his sketchbook The Atlantic Codex (ca. 1488). Compositing this card together, from the single head to the crossbow elements, and sharing it with my colleagues, initiated the idea of designing playing cards based on the works of Leonardo.

Leonardo Edition Gold | Queen of Clubs

Some vintage decks portray this Queen as The Flower Queen, and this drawing of an unknown woman's head from The Galleria degli Uffizi in Firenze combined with a selection of his original sketchbook renderings of nature truly bring the forests of his native Toscana to life. Note the lovely pen and ink sketch of a small Italian town on the river Arno, which is the first dated drawing (1473) we have from the master. 

By request, I have included this image below illuminating the process in my creation of the Queen of Clubs, one of the most popular Leonardo cards.

Leonardo Edition Silver | Ace of Spades

This anatomical study of a human skull from The Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, was a natural match for the Ace of Spades, known in the world of playing cards as The Death Card. I interpolated one of Leonardo's Polyhedra ominously into the center. He drew these geometrical illustrations for his friend Luca Pacioli's book The Divine Proportion. They are believed to be the first of their kind. This powerful card is one of my favorites, especially in Edition Silver

Leonardo Edition Silver | King of Hearts

This is The Suicide King, one of the most fascinating face cards. I chose to feature one of the warriors from The Battle of Anghiari, although the original is lost to us. Luckily, the Peter Paul Rubens copy (itself based on an engraving by Lorenzo Zacchia) provides a glimpse into the power of the Leonardo original. Careful manipulation of the sword arm yielded the ferocity I was looking for. Leonardo was unsurpassed in his ability to render movement within a composition.

Leonardo Edition Gold | Jack of Diamonds

The world of invention and the development of innovative mechanical devices occupied Leonardo for most of his life. I discovered this little known drawing of a young man's head which proved a perfect fit for the Jack of Diamonds. Two of his inventions are depicted on this card, and also an example of his lettering, done in his inimitable mirrored style. 

Leonardo Edition Gold | Queen of Hearts

The original drawing is in charcoal, there is no painting extant based on this work. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist (ca. 1508) hangs in The National Gallery in London. I found her beauty perfectly represents the Queen of Hearts, and I felt she belonged amid a natural outdoor setting. The cats are from a delightful sketch of Leonardo's depicting many felines at play. I lost my beloved Tigerbear, dear cat companion of 16 years last year... I still miss him everyday... so this card is for him.

Leonardo Edition Silver | Five of Diamonds

One of the pips, featuring a fine example of Leonardo's secretive handwriting. Values and symbols on every card are scaled, distorted and distressed to respect both the tone and the weight of the overall design. One of the most interesting aspects of the project was the creation of the suits and the interpretation of them in relation to Leonardo's life and work. I was especially guided by his own thoughts and words. There are a fair number of excellent biographies and monographs available about him, I have shared a selection in the sources section of this page.

Leonardo Edition Silver | Card Back

Many elements come seamlessly together to form the card back. They include one of Leonardo's most popular works The Vitruvian Man from the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venezia, who famously displays the ideal proportions of man. Other items depicted on the back include an equine head, blossoming flowers, and two deft examples of geometrical polyhedra. 

Leonardo Edition Gold | Card Back

Leonardo was keenly interested in the hidden patterns of nature. He found great delight in rendering subtle details. Above, a spiral card fan reveals the intricate kaleidoscopic pattern formed by the highly detailed back.

Leonardo Edition Gold | Joker

This empathetic view of a prisoner begging, set within the front left section of the drawing for The Adoration of the Magi, forms the basis for one of the two Jokers. 

Leonardo Edition Gold | Tuck

The tucks will be expertly foil stamped with gold or silver, and precision embossed. This dimensionality will lend the collection a modern luxury feel, while retaining the provenance of a precious item from the past. I want the tucks to feel as good in the hand as they appear to the eye.

Leonardo Edition Silver | Tuck

The silver tuck, like it's brother the gold, showcase the ethereal imagery of Leonardo's most enigmatic landscapes. The roman date MMXV is stamped on the front, and my atelier Meisterwerke Altstadt on the back. 

Leonardo | Edition Platinum

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo died in the year 1519, long before the discovery of platinum, his was a time of royal gold and noble silver. Platinum’s sleek surface speaks a refined contemporary language. With this edition, we usher Leonardo into a modern world of simple sophistication. 

Leonardo | Edition Platinum delights the curious eye. The tuck strikes midnight with rich black-on-black inks. Leonardo’s words dance backwards across the surface. A polished Jack of Spades glimmers under the light of a solitary star. The luxurious tuck is sealed with a perforated stamp bearing mysterious signs and markings. 

Break the seal if you dare! Suddenly, a rush of suits escape, floating out into the night. The cards, revealed, have an iridescent sheen, otherworldly, their edges glinting jewel-like from within the darkened tuck. You ease Platinum from it’s sheath. The deck has a delightful weight in your hands. A hint of the Mona Lisa smile becomes yours.

Leonardo | Edition Platinum will be a deck to bring out and admire again and again. With it’s understated elegance, Platinum is a work of Art embodying the highest standards of modern playing card design and manufacturing. 

Specifications: Midnight black tuck with black-on-black inks, foil Jack, embossed details. Sealed with a custom designed, perforated stamp. The cards will be printed on ultra-smooth paper stock, gilded, coated with an iridescent finish.

Leonardo Edition Gold | Four Aces

Here are the four Aces encompassing the four suits, and my interpretation of them in accordance with the philosophies of Leonardo, all in his own words.

Spades | The Invention of War

     "Every divided kingdom falls."

♥ Hearts | The Art of Love

    "To enjoy - to love a thing for its own sake and for no other reason."

Clubs | The Beauty of Nature

    "Nature never breaks her own laws."

Diamonds | The Power of Wealth

     "He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year."

Leonardo Edition Gold | Uncut Sheet

Shown above is a mockup of what the uncut sheet, straight from the printers, will look like. This layout is based on the card arrangement of the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC).

Leonardo Edition Silver | Uncut Sheet

Shown above is a mockup of the uncut sheet from Edition Silver, it's beautiful to see all the cards together!

Leonardo Edition Silver | Giclée Art Print

The Jack of Spades in Edition Silver or Edition Gold, offered at 16" x 20" (ca. 40cm x 51cm), in a signed and numbered limited edition.

Leonardo Edition Gold | Giclée Art Print

The Queen of Clubs in Edition Gold or Edition Silver, offered at 16" x 20" (ca. 40cm x 51cm), in a signed and numbered limited edition.

Leonardo Editions | Commemorative Gold and Silver Coins

The Gold and Silver 2” Engraved Commemorative Coins can be used as dealer buttons, beautiful display pieces, or as card guards & decision makers. 

Expertly minted and finished, they are the perfect complement to your Leonardo Editions Gold and Silver decks. The front side features the Leonardo iconic Jack of Spades in full relief. The back displays the Ace of Spades symbol and the name of my studio - Meisterwerke Altstadt.

Leonardo Editions | Royal Queen's Note Cards

These beautiful cards are printed on high quality stock with gold finishing. These come in a set of four. The set in available in Edition Gold or Edition Silver. The note cards are 5.82" x 4.13" (148mm x 105mm), perfect for use as gift cards, postcards, or greeting cards.

Leonardo Editions | The Ace of Spades 

The Ace of Spades, hauntingly known as The Death Card, is printed on signature paper stock, with museum quality archival inks. The paper is then transformed by fire… with one-of-a kind handmade flame-blackened edges. Every one of these prints is unique, signed and numbered. 

The final print is permanently mounted on a conservation grade anthracite matboard. The bordeaux wax stamp of the iconic Jack of Spades authenticates the work’s provenance. The Leonardo signature shines in gold. The familiar silhouette of my atelier, Meisterwerke Altstadt, completes the design. The complete piece is 11” x 17” print (A3). 

Offered in an extremely limited edition of 58 prints.

Leonardo Editions | Stretch Goals and Add-ons

Leonardo Editions | Handcrafted Hardwood Collector's Case

Collectors will want to add this exclusive custom box to hold both their Edition Gold and Edition Silver decks. Made with wood from ecologically sustainable forests.

Leonardo Editions | The Coin of Indescribably Delicious Chocolate

Backers of Leonardo who are chocolate lovers rejoice! Artisanal Chocolate of the highest quality, individually gold foil wrapped, scrumptious and delectable! A very sweet item indeed!

Leonardo Editions | The Leonardo Book

A fine art book that covers the entire Leonardo project. With every court card illustrated and it's historical background described in detail, this book serves as the ultimate companion to the collection. This title references all my work throughout the project. It will be simultaneously published as a coffee table book, as an iBook on the Apple iBooks Store, and in ePub format for Amazon Fire and other readers.

Leonardo Editions | Inside the Tuck Printing

Card tucks are generally white inside, in other words, they are plain unprinted paper. But I wanted to do something special here, both for Leonardo, and as a gift to all my wonderful backers.

Having reached the stretch goal of $35,000, I am pleased to announce that we will print the Edition Gold and Edition Silver tucks on both sides! A hidden detail... an unexpected surprise… waiting just for you to break the seal open on your exquisite Leonardo deck! 

As a lifelong inventor I’m always looking for ways to improve things. I’ve always felt that the white unprinted inside was just begging for a lively and playful expression of the Leonardo suit symbols gamboling out… and escaping into the world! et voilà!

Leonardo Editions | The Signet Ring

Crafted one-by-one in limited quantities, and hand finished in 18K Gold to the finest quality, this is the Leonardo Signet Ring. A must have for the avid collector. This exclusive reward will only be offered during the Kickstarter funding period.

 Please let me know your ring size when you order.

Leonardo Editions | Warrior Cufflinks

These will be custom made to a superb quality in gold and silver finishes. They come handsomely presented in a beautiful gift box... the perfect gift for your father or favorite uncle who is a Leonardo da Vinci fan!

We have reached our $50,000 goal and Leonardo will be printed by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC).

The United States Playing Card Co. is the most prestigious playing card manufacturer with close to 150 years of experience. They have the most famous brands in-house… names like Bicycle, Hoyle, Aviator & Bee… Leonardo will become part of their rich history of playing cards. Check out their factory here in this video. It's really worth a look… you’ll find out exactly how your Leonardo deck will be made!

                                                                                                    

Leonardo | Backer Badges

Let everyone know that you are a lover of Art and a Leonardo Backer! Get your Leonardo Backer Badge / Avatar here! Simply click on the image, you will be transported to imgur where you can pick your favorite avatar. Simply save the badge of your choice to your computer, and then use it on your Kickstarter page - or anywhere that your want to share your support for Leonardo!

I would like to thank my daughter Soleil, who successfully funded Glitch, a playing card deck on Kickstarter last year. After it was funded, I helped her get the cards printed and shipped. This was very inspiring and helped me tremendously with Leonardo. ♥

Risks and challenges

♠ I have a solid reputation for managing and delivering projects.

♣ I have proven ability to work my way through obstacles if they arise.

♥ Everything in the project is proceeding on schedule.

♦ I have the time, experience and resources available to succeed.

Thank you for your support and your interest in Leonardo!

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Funding period

- (35 days)