Also known as Arcani Maggiori by Roberto Viesi, Gli Arcani Maggiori dei Tarocchi
The Roberto Viesi Tarot (titled as Gli Arcani Maggiori dei Tarocchi in Italian) is a stunning 22-card set designed by graphic illustrator, Roberto Viesi. It re-imagines the Tarot de Marseille symbolism in subtle colour and fine line work.
This spectacular Major Arcana by Roberto Viesi is a reimagining of the Tarot de Marseilles’ Major Arcana. The artist has elected to maintain all the characteristics, shapes, symbols, and colours depicted in the classic Marseilles tarot - this preserves the integrity of the ‘expectations’ imbued in the cards.
The artwork is a unique style - a curious amalgam of quasi-Cubism, peasant art, and stained glass, which is nonetheless exquisite and deeply detailed. While the art is strongly influenced by the Marseilles deck it also less rustic, far more modern, smooth and deft. The colours in this Arcana are subtle and serene without being weak or wishy-washy. The fine line work clearly delineates the images, and is continued in the beautifully textured details – the grass, trees, stones, wood grains, clouds, fur and feathers are all carefully depicted. Believe me when I say that no computer scan or reproduction can do justice to the fine details and delicate colouring in these cards.
Each image has its own individual border, tiny symbols, relevant to the main image i.e. The High Priestess image is bordered by tiny crescent moons and solar crosses; The Devil – tiny pentagrams and pitchforks; The Lovers - tiny hearts and arrows, and so forth. The titles, hand written, in Italian, are located at the bottom of the image, randomly placed; and the card numbers, Roman numerals, are at the top of the image, again in no specific position.
This is a 22 card deck – Major Arcana only. The cards measure 90 x 150 mm. The larger size cards optimises fine details in the artwork, without sacrificing one's ability to handle the cards easily. The card stock is excellent – thin, flexible, low sheen – matte finish , smooth and satiny to the touch. Although the cards are oversized they are still relatively easy to handle, and shuffle smoothly. The print quality is outstanding – clear and crisp. The palette is broad – glowing, subtle colours in the foregrounds, and delicately blended pastels in the backgrounds. The print on the back which simply looks like old stucco or worn plaster framing a blank space, is fully reversible.
The cards come in a plastic pocket with a Title card and End card; there are no instructions or guidebook. A brief paragraph on the back of the Title card, by the artist, explains the guiding principles behind the art. The End card has a list of the titles of the cards, in Italian.
This is a stunningly beautiful Major Arcana. With its sound symbolism and traditional foundation it is an excellent Arcana for both students and masters. It is also an artwork in and of itself, suitable for framing and/or display. If you can get your hands on this gorgeous deck then add it to your collection… It is a thing of rare beauty.