Review by Tom LeBlanc, CTC
After recreating the missing cards from the 15th
century Tarocchi decks to form the U.S. Games'
reproduction of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, Luigi Scapini was
apparently inspired to create his own version of the Tarot in
a similar genre.
The resulting Medieval Scapini
Tarot appears to be a very
interesting blend of 15th century imagery and contemporary
artwork. The dark, gold-and-bronze colors and realistic
representations of the Visconti Sforza Tarot appear to juxtapose
in stark, yet pleasant, contrast with the vivid
colors and near-caricature additions of the artist.
is interesting to note that Scapini admits that,
while painting the images for this deck, he had no
knowledge of the "standard" interpretations of the
individual cards. As such, a person who reads within a given
system (such as the Rider-Waite-Smith), he or she is
likely to have some initial difficulty in maintaining
those interpretations with the symbols of this deck.
Nonetheless, Scapini manages to maintain a degree of
consistency throughout the deck and, with a little patience,
such divergence seems to be easily overcome. Indeed,
the fact that symbolic artwork is present anywhere
within the Minor Arcana may be deemed a considerable
improvement over the inspiring Visconti-Sforza cards.
on strong, plastic coated board, these cards are
somewhat longer than many decks, which make it slightly
harder to shuffle. However, when considered in contrast
with the very large and difficult to handle
Visconti-Sforza deck, the Scapini Tarot again stands in a place of
The accompanying LWB is, for this
deck, indispensable. Once the historic and artistic
inspirations of these cards are understood, they then become
infinitely easier for the new reader to utilize. Interesting
details (such as the artistís cameo appearance as, among
other things, a severed head in the Death card) yield
considerable insights that will aid the reader in interpreting
this unique deck. In all, it is well-written and
provides the artistís version of each cardís meanings as
well as a brief description of the Celtic Cross
In sum, the Medieval Scapini Tarot is a fascinating
deck that will stretch the interpretive repertoire of
any reader. Based on a historic Tarot, these cards
are ideal for someone who desires the feel of
antiquity combined with modern utility.
While learning to read Tarot as a young child, Tom LeBlanc had no idea what role Tarot would one day play in his life. Having grown up providing readings to family and friends, he took his trusty deck to college and discovered that he could partially support himself by reading for others. Now a Certified Tarot Consultant with over 25 years experience, a Ph.D. in Psychology, Tom enjoys providing occasional readings in addition to writing. Tom is currently involved in designing a Tarot Certification course for the College of the Sacred Mists.
Review by Christina
A beautifully printed deck, in the traditionally
long shaped cards which would have likely been used in
the medieval period. Lavish detail in all the cards,
beautifully finished, and smooth to handle. Very emotional
cards, the mood of them is like a slipping dream, the
style of art is neither ultra realistic, or comical, or
symbolic, its more like a mix of all. It clearly embodies
the artist's own interpretation, it feels like his
mind that we travel through, the cards are the medium
to our own psyche whilst the ride is like a journey
through his (Scapini's) mind.
In a previous review of the
deck, the author mentioned that there was no book with
the deck. That is true, but you get a mini-booklet
inside the deck, which is great help to any beginner in
Tarot, with meaningful step-by-step instruction on how to
read the cards, and a full analysis of what each card
could mean, and it provides background on the cards. A
lot of the cards have meaningful symbolism of the
artist, ie. a picture of his wife and child, self-portrait
This deck suits people who are really inspired by art,
and the renaissance, and a traditional style of deck,
while the actual imagery is more cryptic and
self-styled, while still feeling medieval.
A word of
caution: As I mentioned, the cards are very slippery so
work in a area where you have a clear open space and
will not likely let the cards slip into some narrow
space (which nearly happened just then! :) ).
than that, all i have to say is that it is a great
deck, and something you will treasure for years to
Review by Sonia Reid
The Medieval Scapini deck is a stunning visual
feast.† It is one of the most beautifully illustrated
decks I have ever seen.†
Luigi Scapini has embellished
the entire deck with lavish detail - both the Major
and Minor Arcana cards are equally adorned and
fascinating to look at.† Every card is a bibelot, a little
masterpiece rich in eclectic imagery, making them ideal for
both divination and meditation.
The cards transport
you to the Middle Ages of Europe through both costume
and settings and you find yourself submerged in the
atmosphere of medieval/Renaissance times.† Many of the cards
depict historical figures eg.† Rasputin the Mad Monk of
Russia represents the Knight of Cups, the 6 of Swords
depicts St. Paul's moment of revelation on the Road to
Damascus, and the murderers of Julis Caesar display bloody
daggers on the 10 of Swords!† I loved the paintings of the
Mona Lisa which formed the carpet under the King of
Pentacles throne!† Scapini has also drawn inspiration from
modern life - the flushed fanatic speaker haranguing a
crowd from a podiumin in the 7 of Wands was inspired
from daily scenes in Hyde Park, London.
All the cards
depict universal situations revealing the dilemmas,
problems, joys and sorrows of daily life in both city and
Many clues are embedded in the
intricate designs, and careful examination is needed to
discern all of them.† Taking the time to study each card
is well worthwhile, as you are rewarded by delightful
touches of humour as well as evocative and inspirational
food for thought.
I found it a fabulous deck.The
only negative comment I can make is that unfortunately
there is no book to accompany the Medieval Scapini
tarot.† Because it is so rich with symbolism and detail,
I feel that a book giving indepth background to each
card would be invaluable.† There is† a small tract
written by Luigi Scapini enclosed in the box of cards,
giving brief explanations in point forms, but this left
me yearning for more.
Sonia Reid has been a tarot reader and teacher for 15 years. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Proficiency from the Brunswick
Spiritual Church. She is also a numerologist, inspirational writer and artist.