We are creating a very special Tarot deck, something precious and unique, that would only be possible thanks to Kickstarter. Thank you for all the care you will give to this project, thank you for sharing it with others, thank you for your pledge, if you decide to be part of this project.
The Visconti Modrone Tarot is an ancient deck from the XVth Century, fully restored, composed of 80 cards of a very large size (90x189 mm/3.5x7.4 inches) and printed in lavish gold foil.
The deck is one of three created for the noble Visconti family of Milan (the other two are the Visconti Sforza and the Visconti Brambilla decks). The Visconti Modrone Tarot is the most precious of these three decks.
Our restored edition will keep the original large size of the cards and will simulate the engraved gold leaves with the modern technique of hot foil printing.
The deck will be packaged in a beautiful box and accompanied with a book explaining the history of the deck and the challenges of the restoration process.
Six Additional Cards The original XVth century deck was most likely composed of 80 cards divided into five suits of 16 cards each. In order to make the deck easier to use by modern Tarot readers, the six additional cards will bring the total number of Major Arcana to 22, as in modern decks.
Hardcover Book The companion book will be printed as a hardcover edition with gold foil decorations on the cover.
Deluxe card quality The already excellent quality of the cardstock will be improved even more so.
Three Additional Cards In the original deck, Faith, Hope and Charity replaced the traditional High Priestess, Star and Hierophant cards. We will recreate also these three Arcana bringing the total number of cards to 89.
Deck Protective Cloth: a protective cloth to wrap the deck and protect the foil shine against any kind of wear.
Treasure Chest Box: the box will have a more precious hinge-like closure, rather than just lid and bottom.
Silver Foil: the cards will be printed not with just simple foil, but with a double layer of Silver and Gold foils, integrating with each other.
Color Book: the companion book will be printed in full color.
Visconti Florin Coin: a 4 cm diameter quality reproduction of the gold florin minted by Filippo Maria Visconti since 1442, whose front and back are portrayed in the Coin suit.
Gilded Edges: the sides of the deck will be gilded with full gold.
Visconti Seal: a 17 mm diameter metal seal with the Visconti coat of arms.
Seal Wax: a 100% natural wax stick designed to give exceptional detail precision of Visconti seal.
Visconti Print: a faithful reproduction of an antique Visconti print.
The cards of the Visconti Modrone deck are slightly different from modern decks. For instance, alongside the Cardinal Virtues of modern decks (Prudence/The Hanged Man, Courage/Strength, Temperance and Justice) we find cards referring to the Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity).
All the cards were originally made by layers of tempera color, overexposed by very thin hand engraved layers of gold or silver. Thanks to foil printing, the cards will look as they did when they were created, over 500 years ago. Here you can see three restored cards:
We know that graphic simulation on a screen cannot give justice to the luxurious visual feeling of the foil. In order to understand how the foil will appear, we made a few production samples to create the best simulation with modern technology.
The deck will be printed in the original size: 90x189 mm (3.5x7.4"). Below you can see the actual size of the Visconti Modrone Arcana, compared with a standard Tarot deck.
In Tarot decks before the XX century (with the exception of the Sola Busca deck) the Minor Arcana were not illustrated by scenes, but by pips, decorated with floral or heraldic motives. The Visconti Modrone deck is unique in the world for the presence of two additional Court Cards named "La Fantesca” and “La Cavallerizza” that represented the female counterparts of the Page and the Knight.
In all decks of that era, the cards had no number, and the sequence of the Arcana represented a philosophical journey.
In the suit of coins both the front and the back of the gold florin minted by the Duke Filippo Maria Visconti are portrayed.
In order to produce this deck, we used digital restoration.
This means that we didn't actually restore the physical cards conserved at Yale University. However, digital restoration had its own challanges.
It was a painstaking effort of accuracy, attention to detail and historical research, which lasted more than a year and was edited by Mattia D'Auge.
The intervention on the cards can be divided into two different operations: restoration and reconstruction.
During the restoration process, damages to the card were carefully repaired and, at the same time, the pigmentation and colors of the original cards were researched and restored.
You can see below the details of the Death and World Arcana, and how they were restored.
Some cards did not survive time, and we have no certain proof how they looked in the XV century. For these cards, speculations were made based on other decks of the same time period, such as the Visconti-Sforza deck. Other works and documents of that era were also consulted, for instance the frescos made by the young Bonifacio Bembo in the Cavalcabò chapel, located in the Saint Augustine church in Cremona.
Only 67 cards of the deck survived to the current day. 11 of those were Major Arcana, 17 were Court Cards and the remaining 39 were numerals.
Scholars suggested different names as the author of the deck, most notably those of Francesco Zavattari, Bonifacio Bembo and Michelino da Besozzo. The deck could have been created between 1447 and 1463.
The most recent theories consider this deck originally to be composed of 80 cards (by 5 suits of 16 cards each), but it is unclear which Arcana were present and which were not. The most likely theory suggests that the 5 Major Arcana that did not survive time could have been Justice, the Hanged Man (as a representation of the virtue Prudence), Temperance, Moon and Sun.
The Arcana of the High Priestess, the Star and the Hierophant were likely to not be present as they had been replaced by the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.
The many theories and historical facts about the Visconti Modrone Tarot will be explained in the companion book.
In order to make it easier to support this project, we have chosen to keep the possible pledges very simple.
For all pledge levels, the deck will always be the same and it will include all the stretch goals that will have been reached.
Please understand that this edition of the Visconti Modrone Tarot is ONLY for Kickstarter: we will not sell it directly to any distributor or retailers, and every request to sell the deck outside Kickstarter will be denied. As long the campaign is live, retailers will be able to purchase the deck normally on Kickstarter at the same conditions of any other backer.
We have made our best in order to reduce shipping costs for our backers. However, we have no control over shipping costs, especially outside the EU and North American region. If you are outside these regions, please check the shipping cost before confirming the pledge. Joining together with friends to purchase 2 or 5 decks pledge may help to significantly reduce the overall shipping cost.
This pledge includes BOTH the Visconti Modrone Tarot (as the other pledges) and the Etteilla deck.
We created this limited edition Etteilla deck last year, for the Tarot Compendium Kickstarter campaign. It was a huge success. There are only 130 copies left for the Tarot, and we decided to give the opportunity to our backers to get them. Choose this pledge if you are interested in the deck, and if you don't have it already from last year. The number is limited and once finished, there won't be any more.
Signed Visconti Modrone Pledge
We will have 25 special copies that will be signed by Mattia D'Auge, the restorer of the deck. They will be also placed into a special commemorative handmade wooden box. They will also be personally dedicated - with heartfelt thanks - to the backer.
We created this pledge level for those who really want to be part of the project and desire a special and unique item.
Risks and challenges
Lo Scarabeo has a long track record of Tarot publishing. Moreover, we
learnt a lot from the first projects successfully founded with Kickstarter and we intend to build on that experience.
This doesn't mean we won't be facing challenges. What we can foresee now is the following:
- International Shipping is always complicated. We'll do our best to avoid delays, but of course there can always be surprises.
- Printing schedule: there is always something going not according to plan when printing. We've added extra time in our planning. Hopefully the "unexpected" won't delay the project for more than a couple of weeks.
- (30 days)