What is it about the Marseilles art that you like?


When I first became aware of the existence of the TdM, at least 15 years ago, I thought it was ugly because the garish, red-white-blue Grimaud deck was the only one I knew. Now my favorites are facsimiles, so I can pretend I've inherited the deck from a distant ancestor who read cards by candlelight on a side street in a European town.

I'm with Le Fanu that the Pierre Madenie has everything. The lines are sharp, and the colors don't slop over the lines. The colors are deep and restful to look at. The faces are extraordinary. The eyes are bright, the features well-delineated, and they all seem to have a slightly amused look about them.

At first, the TdM was just an historical artifact that I collected while doing research for my website. Once I started reading with them, my reading style was transformed, and the change washed over into how I read with fully illustrated decks.

My favorites for reading: The Madenie - when I first opened the box it jumped out and smacked me in the face. My workhorse deck for over a decade has been the Avondo Brothers 1880 knock-off of the Soprafino, which Lo Scarabeo as renamed the Ancient Italian Tarot. It's rather ornate, so there's lots of imagery to work with.


My earliest tarot decks were mass market reproductions of older decks, because they were all i could afford with my school allowance back then. I found them odd and, being a kid back then, a bit unattractive. And yet they also had this air of mystery about them - like a pull or tug you get when you encounter a place or an object full of age and history. Years later, i realizedthat those seemingly bare pips actually helped me get more familiar with the minors' meanings, albeit via school type rote memorization. i have become more appreciative of the deck as i grew older, though i still prefer those with less bold colors.

I also find it funny that, as a kid, i tried so hard to stick close to the lines when coloring. Now i appreciate the charm of misregistration (as least in some works!).