ILLUMINATED TAROT CARDS – MASTERPIECES OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE
The illuminated tarots of the XVth century are fascinating. Their high quality of execution, their rich colours, their stamped gold leaf back-grounds are deemed works of art, playing cards as well as miniatures. These luxury items have been better preserved than ordinary printed tarot cards. Dominated by the cards painted by Bonifacio Bembo and his workshop for the court of Milano in the mid XVth century, the illuminated tarot-cards were also made for other centers, such as Ferrara or Florence.
The appearance, on the art market, of a superb Chariot, one of the tarot trumps, entirely new, acquired by the Musée de la Carte à Jouer, upset the assignments established so far. This new vision is the intention of the exhibition displayed around the Chariot card and its « sisters », exceptionnally loaned by the Warsaw National Museum. Precious milanese and florentine tarots, from prestigious institutions such as the Louvre, the National Library of France, the Morgan Library, the New-York Museum and also Sicily museums, are presented alongside them. The illuminated tarots provide the essential light to the knowledge of the XVth century italian painting. « Triumph » by Petrarca, a birth platform, illustrated books, highlight the historical, artistic and intellectual context.
The exhibition presents over 70 masterpieces loaned from France and abroad.