The Medieval Scapini Tarot – a deck review

July 3rd, 2024 Comments Off on The Medieval Scapini Tarot – a deck review

Today’s pull from Georgie’s Magic Card Collection is The Medieval Scapini Tarot by Luigi Scapini. Though it was published by US Games in 1985, it’s meant to embody the spirit of the 15th Century renaissance period, the time when Tarot first came upon the scene …

5 Points About This Deck

Artwork: Scapini’s work is gorgeous – rich, detailed, evocative of the old Italian decks. My deck has a faux gilt for the backgrounds of the Major Arcana and Court Cards, as well as on the card backs. Though this is nice, I can just imagine how beautiful it would be if the gilt wasn’t faux (I don’t mean real gold, but shiny paper gold). Even so though, the artwork on these cards is really beautiful.

Card Size: The Medieval Scapini Tarot is tall and slim, 13cm x 7cm (about 5X3” or so) – a little tall for smaller hands, but not too unwieldy, and quite elegant looking. But despite the fact that I sometimes have difficulty shuffling big cards, for this deck, I kind of wish the cards were a little bigger. The artwork has so many marvellous details, I’d love to see them all more clearly … but maybe that’s just an issue with my eyesight.

Major Arcana: The images on the Major cards follow the Visconti Tarot style for the most part, but with a few exceptions. For instance, The Star and the Moon cards definitely lean more towards the Rider-Waite-Smith concepts than otherwise.

Minor Arcana: Unlike the Visconti decks, The Medieval Scapini Tarot has fully illustrated Minor cards, or at least images that tell more of a straight ahead story than the Visconti-style decks do. And they’re as beautifully drawn as the Majors, just with less gilt. While the artwork is still very Visconti-like in the Minors, the images reflect the occult ideas of Papus, Oswald Wirth, and Arthur Waite.

Readability: Though the images on the cards allow for fairly clear interpretation, and one could read them without having knowledge of a particular Tarot system, the LWB (little white book that comes with the deck) gives you a complete description of each card, with suggested definitions. It’s a small book with tiny font, but it holds a lot of info, and I found it quite helpful.

All in all, I’d say The Medieval Scapini Tarot is a wonderful deck with a nice mix of medieval and modern imagery. I should use it more often. I do wish though, that the cards were bigger. They’re really beautiful.

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