What to expect in the land of Tarot de Marseille
Modern Marseille decks and reproductions for 2016/2017 + one big reveal at the bottom!
Tarot Decoratif (2016/2017)
Some time ago I mentioned Ciro Marchetti’s newest tarot project on my Facebook page. Back then the name wasn’t certain yet, only that this deck project started after a lecture from Russel Sturgess on TarotCon about the Tarot de Marseille. After some discussions in TdM-groups the deck soon became known as ‘inspired by’ or a ‘hommage to’ Tdm. The name: Tarot Decoratif. The deck is printed and can be ordered from his website. While not even the designer himself calls it a TdM, the symbolism and pattern (though not the *style*) is definitely there in the Majors – as well as the research into the traditional deck. In my book that makes this one a modern take on the Tarot de Marseille. Tarot Decoratif is absolutely recognisable as a ‘Ciro’ and it’ll probably attract many ‘hesitators’ who are interested in TdM but don’t like the style of the original woodcut decks. The only ‘negative’ I can (so far) see with it is the fact the pips have Waite-Smith elements. I would have loved seeing only suit symbols in the Marchetti style.
New Choice Tarot TdM
A sneak preview in May already showed you this TdM inspired deck by artist Rosario Salerno. I am currently following his progress on Instagram and am a fan of especially his pip cards. The deck follows the Tarot de Marseille pattern very closely. Although Salerno did make the choice (hello: New Choice Tarot, anyone?) to bring the TdM into the 21st century by freshening up the coloring and by making the characters both prettier and giving them a little bit of spunk and attitude. I could do without the hypersexualisation at times, but it is still promising to be a beautiful deck. Again: the pip cards seem to become gorgeous and very, very close to the traditional versions. I can’t wait to review this deck and to see how it reads.
Trionfi della luna TdM Minors
Remember that review on the Majors Only Trionfi della Luna by Patrick Valenza? If you don’t you better read that Trionfi review first before you come back here. If you do, you might also remember that ‘maybe-promise’ of Valenza to turn this Deviant-Moon-variant of the TdM and other traditional decks into a full 78 card version. Well, he came through and started to design pip cards. While you can definitely see they are made by the Della Luna artist, they are also reminiscent of the old patterns. Very elegant and wicked in their own way. The fully extended pack, including bonus Tower cards, called the Tarocchi della Luna will be available on November 18th on his website. I’m not sure if I am able to get to complete my Majors Only decks (I have the Italian and the Blue Paradoxal) just yet, but I can understand if you will try to snatch them away right in front of me! The possibility of just offering the minor pack for those who already have the Majors Only is currently worked on.
Tarot de Besançon, a 18th century TdM
Some call it a Marseille, others don’t because it was made in another city and has some adjustments. Perhaps by now you’ve realised there is some discussion going on, as to what qualifies as a TdM. But the History of Playing Cards Museum does add the Tarot de Besançon to its TdM archive and calls it a Type IT-1.4. Evalyne Hall, tarot reader and researcher, started on a journey to figure out why and how Antoine Court De Gebelin wrote his Monde Primitif and during that time came in contact with several TdM decks. One she will reproduce: a genuine remake of a Tarot de Besançon, the 18th century variant of the TdM. The deck (and her book) will be available in October. Evalyne gave me a look behind the scenes and answered the question “Why do a historical deck reproduction” in her own words. For that ‘through the designer’s eyes’ article and more images, click here.
Pablo Robledo Dodal TdM
It has been only 4 months on the market, but Robledo has firmly put his stamp on the TdM world with his latest gorgeous remake of an ‘aged’ Tarot de Marseille deck. Coloring makes it look older, worn and I am guessing a lot of tarot budgets have gone to Argentina already. After I posted the Top 9 decks – where he had the respectable 5th place – a little birdie told me Pablo is currently working on two new TdM’s! First of all a new, revised and polished Dodal. The designer says he’s learnt from his mistakes and has cleaned up his style. You can follow his progression on Facebook. Basically it is waiting on the publisher and then the project gets a go. Somewhere in 2017!
Pablo Robledo Flemish TdM
And the Robledo news wasn’t over yet. The Argentinian artist is currently working on the Tarot Belgian Vandenborre, which will accompany his studies of the various manifestations that the Tarot has had throughout history. Sure, it wasn’t made in Marseille, but the Flemish Tarots are also woodcut and very close to their French cousins. Perhaps a little ‘friendlier’ in looks, with a few deviations. I don’t know…the characters look ‘healthier’. Perhaps the diet in Belgium at that time was better than in France? Just kidding. With Robledo’s touch they’re bound to be beautiful remakes. Here Facebook shows you progress as well, if you’re ‘friends’ with the master. From the looks of it, 2017 will also be the birth year of this Flemish prettiness.
New edition TdM Pierre Madenie 1709
I for one did a little dance…or was it a jump? Can’t remember. What is important though is the reason of my happiness. Tarot Heritage is printing a second edition of their Pierre Madenie fascimile, according to Wilfried Houdouin. This is by far one of the most attractive Tarot de Marseille’s if you ask me – especially due to the soft facial expressions.This tarot is – besides the oldest Marseilles tarot known for its category – considered as benchmark model all over the world. You can own a reproduction if you have just a little more patience. Release is expected for fall 2016 – which is basically now – but just keep your eye on their web boutique and you can have your own copy by 2017.
I also heard through the grapevine there will be a Reynaud/Houdouin restoration of the 1713 Jean Payen TdM, together with the Madenie (Update: coming on November 24th 2016. Both of them. Up for pre-order now).
Tarot de Maria Celia TdM reborn
This deck is currently on The Game Crafter, but soon you won’t be able to buy it via this webshop anymore. I am talking about a modern Marseille designed by Paraluman Studio’s (Lynyrd-Jym Narciso) called Tarot de Maria Celia. If you have something with first editons, better hurry, but otherwise 2017 will see a new and perhaps improved version of this deck. US Games picked it up and from what I understand it might see the light of day as early as next year. Smart fella’s over there in The States. The Maria Celia is a tribute to the Tarot de Marseille and follows form with looser and bolder interpretations to the figures, especially in the pips. The deck has this aged and worn look to give it a vintage feel. Of course I can’t say what USGS will do with their release, but I think it is a cool Modern variant. I am hoping to review it then, but you’ll otherwise see different work by Lynyrd-Jym’s on these pages, since we’ve been in contact ;-).
Arcanum X TdM: Big reveal
It is truly amazing to be part of someone’s creative secret. When I found out about this one, I had a little ‘squeeee’ moment. Knowing this designer, the deck is going to be respectful of symbology and system. It will honor ‘its core’ so to speak. But I am also quite sure it won’t be an exact copy. Rather something innovative – he’s known for that. I’ve seen some work already and it is looking good. Okay…are you curious enough now? Good, because here’s the BIG REVEAL: Michael Bridge-Dickinson, designer of the Orbifold (also reviewed on these pages during my Winter Wonderland of Tarot Extraordinaire) is ‘doing a Tarot de Marseille!’ I don’t have enough room here to give it the proper attention, so if you’re interested, click on this extensive Arcanum X sneak peek for more, more, more. You’re welcome ;-).