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Tarot Art Nouveau Deluxe

LS Tarot Art Nouveau Deluxe by Antonello Castelli Tarot Deck – 78 cards, instruction booklet and embroidered velvet bag, Llewellyn Worldwide

I love this deck. I hate this deck.

Let me explain. I love this deck because the artwork is absolutely breathtaking. Highly detailed color plates grace the face side of each card. True to the Art Nouveau style, there are patterns of swirls, flowing garments and luxurious hair. The artist used a palette of jewel tones and pastels throughout the deck. Flowers and leaves adorn many of the cards in an abundance of nature images that also include animals as well as geometric shapes. The title of each card is written at the top in four different languages, one of which is English. There is also a card title on the bottom of each in another language. The back of each card is done in a tasteful lilac colored monotone that can be viewed in either direction. All the art is highly detailed and intricate. I could look at each individual card for an extended period of time to soak in all the nuances.

I hate this deck because the artwork is absolutely breathtaking. When I tried to use this deck for a simple reading I discovered that it was extremely difficult to tell the suits apart from each other. The Major Arcana is so similar to the minor ones that they also are easily confused during a reading. Minor Arcana cards two through ten have a column of a symbol for that suit on each card, but the columns look as if they were an afterthought because they are not integrated into the art in the same style as each card. The Knave, Knight Queen and King cards do have the symbol of their suit integrated into the art but the symbol isn’t always consistent throughout the suit making the reader spend time deciphering the card itself before being able to concentrate on the meaning behind the card’s reading.

The instructional booklet did have a nice brief history lesson on the appearance of Art Nouveau as an art form. The meanings of the cards are simple and brief. Reverse meanings are not included. Of the 63-page booklet only 14 pages were in English. The meanings given are those typical to many other decks. There is a sample layout on the first page of the booklet, but it was not one I was familiar with, so I didn’t attempt to use it.

If you are looking at this deck as a first foray into tarot use, look elsewhere. However, if you are a collector of the beautiful and unusual in tarot decks, this one makes a worthy addition to an established collection.