Iassen Ghiuselev, Atanas Atanassov, Mark McElroy collaborated to present the Great artistic Renaissance Master and overall genius' prolific and classic masterpieces to illustrate the 78 tarot cards. Ghiuselev was responsible for selecting and editing the Major Arcana cards, while Atanassov worked on the Minor Arcana versions. McElroy scripted the concise thin book that accompanies the deck, offering interpretrations of the selected illustrations and a brief meaning for each card. Although all three of these contributors must be acknowledged, the real creative force behind this deck is Leonardo himself.
The images on each card are awe-inspiring, to say the least. Interestingly, the three authors chose female artwork to provide the backbone and front image interface of the deck. The first piece that greets our eye is the infamous Mona Lisa (wearing papal headgear!), who demurely smiles from the front of the boxed set and on the accompaning book. Mona personifies the stately High Priestess, representing secrecy, mystery, intuition, reflection, and engaging in studious pursuits. The deck box itself is also graced with two other images of women. Some cards feature a complete art piece by Da Vinci while others include sections or elements from more complex paintings, carefully chosen to illustrate the essence and persona of each of the cards. The back of every card sports the image of the Queen of Wands illustration. The painting used for this illustration is apparently of Cecilia Gallerani in Lady with the Ermine, painted around 1491.
This deck uses fairly standard language to distinguish the four suits: Swords, Wands, Pentacles and Chalices, and the four Court Cards, King, Queen, Knight, and one exception Knaves (in place of Pages or Princesses). The paintings portray classically beautiful people, boasting health and vibrancy but painted in subtle muted colors and tones. For instance da Vinci's infamous painting Bacchus (hangs in the Louvre in Paris) was used for Number I Major Arcana card, The Magician.
This deck would make the perfect gift for loved ones who were enthralled with the Da Vinci Code or for artists or those who appreciate fine art, who also are drawn to the tarot.
Published in 2005, the deck includes 78 cards, with 22 Major and 56 Minor Arcana cards in a compact size to fit easily in an adult's hand.
Images: The Da Vinci Tarot by Iassen Ghiuselev, Atanas Atanassov, Mark McElroy and LoScarabeo.Llewellyn Publishing. © 2005. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. PO Box 64383, St. Paul, MN 55164. All rights reserved.
Buy from the Llewellyn site: http://www.llewellyn.com/bookstore/book.php?pn=J894