Visconti-Sforza Tarot Deck
The history of Tarot goes back thousands of years. After the first mention in Ancient Egypt, this system again makes itself felt, but in a different place and in later times. The Visconti-Sforza Tarot is something between the original and modern vision of the predictive system. It does not matter that the heroes are dressed in medieval armor or chic dresses. In fact, they remain the same people, with their sorrows and joys.
History of creation of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot Deck
The legend about the creation of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck takes you back to the distant Middle Ages. Italian artist Bonifacio Bembo made a chic gift to the Duke of Milan: he drew 78 cards based on ancient Egyptian images. The surprise was made in honor of the marriage of Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti. Further, these drawings were kept in different families and even in museums in different countries. As a result, 4 Arcana were lost from the collection: the Devil, the Tower, the Three of Swords and the Knight of Pentacles.
In 1988, AGMuller decided to give the Visconti-Sforza Tarot a new life. The missing cards were completed by the artist Luigi Scapini. For the prototype, he took the Tarot of Marseille. However, in 2001, the lost Arcana were recreated by the Bulgarian artist Atanas Atanasov. He was already guided by cards from the Rothschild collection. In any case, Visconti-Sforza at the moment is the collective name for a group of decks that refers to the 15th century model. They may differ in some details, but the main message remains the same.
The very idea for recreating the Visconti-Sforza deck was the idea to convey the atmosphere of the Renaissance. After all, the value of these cards lies in the images that immerse you in the distant 15th century. The people themselves, their appearance, clothing and environment are strikingly different from modern realities. However, the main ideas and archetypes are still prototypes for current decks.
Key features of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot
The Visconti-Sforza Tarot belongs to the French school. Strength is number 11 here, and Judgment is 8. There are no standard signatures, numbering, and any Kabbalistic or astrological correspondences on the cards. Often they are published in a fairly large size – 18 * 10 cm. Therefore, the cards are considered more collectible than a tool for permanent work. Arcana can be placed in a frame or placed vertically for meditation, feeding a certain energy. For those people who work with clients on a regular basis, the unusual size of the cards will help surprise the querents.
The Major Arcana of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck tell a story. It is possible that they refer to real events in the life of the married couple, after whom they were named. So on the Temperance Arcana is depicted a fair-haired girl pouring water from one jug to another. According to legend, Bianca Maria denied Bonifacio a wedding for about 10 years. The interpretation of the Lovers can also be attributed to the same theory. An unequal couple is depicted here, where the girl is much higher than her chosen one in class. They are blessed by a blindfolded angel. This is what happened in real life – Bianca was richer and more noble than her husband.
But the Minor Arcana of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot do not have a plot drawing. They show the symbols of the suits. A similar move is seen in Crowley’s Tarot. At the same time, in some editions there are signatures on the minor group, which greatly facilitates the interpretation of the cards. Often wands or swords will be tied with a ribbon here. It has an inscription in Latin, which translates as "on the side of the law". The background is a floral ornament.
The suits of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck are classic: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. In the group of court Arcana, the heroes themselves can be considered a distinctive feature. The fact is that all the characters are fair-haired, which may hint at their "God’s chosen", angelic nature. This directly refers to the idea that the nobles have "blue" blood, they were originally born to rule. In Italy, most people are dark-haired. Therefore, blondes are perceived as something exceptional.
Style and symbolism of the deck
All images in the Visconti-Sforza deck are made in muted colors. Ocher, brown, green, red, blue – the colors do not differ in brightness. On the minor group, the background is beige. Dark tapestries with ornaments are painted on the major and court Arcana. Bright spots that stand out from the overall picture can be elements of clothing. So the heroine of the Empress is wearing green gloves, and the character of the King of Cups is wearing pink leggings. But in general, most images are low-contrast.
A special role in the Visconti-Sforza Tarot is played by the heraldic symbols of the Italian family. They can be seen on coins and shields. Interesting clothes for the characters. She is very loose, without tight corsets. Heroes of the suit of Swords are dressed in metal armor. If we talk about the characters of the Major Arcana, then here you can see winged angels, characteristic of that era. But still, the central place in all groups is occupied by people.
Interpretation of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot cards
The interpretation of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck can be done by analogy with Waite. The English mystic gave those meanings that eventually became classical. And although there are no plots in the minor group, the fortuneteller can still focus on traditional ideas. With the Major Arcana, everything is much simpler. These archetypes are intuitive to those who have ever worked with Waite. At the same time, you can not study history, not delve into the specifics of the image. All the same, the final answer should be correlated with current realities.
And so that there are no problems with the current of Minor Arcana, you can choose a deck with signatures. It will not be superfluous to study the accompanying literature that comes with the cards. It describes the principles of working with this particular system, as well as special schemes. However, fortune-telling on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck can also be done intuitively. In the interpretation of the cards, the development of your own ideas, based on the experience gained, will help. The main thing is to interact with the mantic system as often as possible.
What questions is the deck suitable for?
In general, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot can hardly be called a universal deck. Yes, in fact, she is the progenitor of the same Waite. The questioner himself can draw analogies between the Major Arcana of two different systems. But still, the language of the deck is very specific. More or less simple spreads on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot involve working only with a major or court group. There are heroes here that you can build on. But interaction with minor cards can lead to a dead end.
Therefore, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot is often described only as a deck for a personal collection. Drawings, classic for the Renaissance, lamination, large format – all this is valuable in itself. So this predictive system can be used either "for beauty", or to work out issues related to human relationships. The deck perfectly shows the types of character, behavior. Some more specific or everyday topics can only be watched by professionals.
Who are the Visconti-Sforza Tarot cards for?
The Visconti-Sforza deck will appeal to collectors who collect unusual cards. Indeed, this Tarot is distinguished by its visual component. In addition, the predictor is invited to work with a system that has existed for many centuries. History lovers will also find a lot of interesting things in the old images. Professional tarot readers will love this mantic tool. They will easily get the correct prediction, even with the help of a non-story minor group.
But beginners are not recommended to work with Visconti-Sforza Tarot. Unfinished images of people, whitewashed gamma can confuse those who are just getting acquainted with the mantic world. It is better to interact with this deck only after the base has already been developed. But those who "mastered" Crowley can proceed to this predictive system. In general, the deck will be useful just to get acquainted with the origins. If you can’t understand its language, you can just admire the original images.