Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tarot in Art | Vanitas | Sebastien Bonnecroy

St James of Morrison once said, 'No one gets out of here alive,*' and he was quite right, of course.  Since 17th century Dutch painters didn't have The Doors as a reference point, they created Vanitas paintings - the purpose of which was to remind us, basically, that no one gets out of here alive.

This particular painting, attributed to Flanders-based French artist Sebastien Bonnecroy, features the usuals suspects - a hollow-eyed skull (to remind us of our mortality) surrounded by temporary things - the cupboard decorated by a skeleton holding an hour glass, the candle that burns down, the pipe that breaks, the clock that ticks out the hours of our lives (I actually typed 'cock'), and a whole load of other symbols that trumpet the painting's purpose:  YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

Holding the thought that your end was looming at the end of any given sneeze... or pustulant boil, people would then gaze blearily upon their Vanitas paintings and rush out into the world to do good works and lead spiritual lives.  Also, infect people.

In this particular oil painting,  nestled in the middle of the arrangement of symbols is a set of Tarot cards.  The inclusion of Tarot cards may show the fleeting pleasure of gaming, alongside the fleeting pleasure of music (as shown by the musical instruments)...or does it indicate that by the time this painting was produced, 1663-ish people WERE using Tarot for divination and the exploration of our fates?

The painting was in auction at Christies in 2009 for an estimate of £10,000 - £15,000, but I'll be danged if I can see what it actually DID sell for.

What do you think - gaming or divination?!

* Five To One, Waiting for the Sun (1968)

Update - appears to have been sold for $58,941

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Prince George | Queen of Cups | King of Wands

You would need to be living beneath a rock not to realise that the Magnificently Coiffured Duchess of Cambridge and the slightly less magnificently styled Duke of Cambridge have had a BABY!!!! Yes, I know Prince George was born last July, but hey, I like to be UNPREDICTABLE and fashionably late to parties.

Of course,  I'm very pleased that the Little Prince is here, healthy and breaking hearts all over the world - he did an outstanding job in Australia - but I'm more interested in him from a purely Tarot Court Card point of view.

 Tragic and worryingly obsessive, I know.

Monday, 30 June 2014

How to interpret | The Page of Pentacles

From my earlier post on Pages, we know that they can stand for:


Minor (as in relatively unimportant)




Child at heart



Thursday, 26 June 2014

AniaM | Tarot Bags | Alexander Daniloff

So this technically isn't a court card blog post, but I HAD to share the beautiful gift that arrived for me in the post this morning: a magnificent custom-made Tarot bag from AniaM.

You may have twigged, dear reader, that one of my very most favourite decks is Alexander Daniloff's Tarot.  It has been in a bag, of course, to keep it safe, but I REALLY wanted a custom-made bag to store it in the regal glory that it deserves!

And here it is - ivory velvet, lined with gold.....

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tarot in Art | Visconti Sforza

Has your biro just burst in your handbag?

What about splashing out on this as a replacement?

This is a fountain pen from the pen people at Visconti.

To mark the creation of Lo Scarabeo's Visconti Sforza Tarot deck, they created four designs from the Visconti Tarot for very limited edition pens (each has a run of 78 - what else?!)

Visconti commissioned artist, Soukou Oshita, who is an expert in Maki-e artwork (where images are created from sprinkled precious metals, no less!) to turn some of the Major Arcana images into artwork for the pens.

It has an 18 kt pen nib and a double resevoir.  If you're thinking of replacing that Biro.

These Visconti folks undoubtedly create magnificent artworks. Visit their site and FEAST YOUR EYES, people!

Their pens have been used, for example, to sign the NATO-Russia Summit in 2002, which marked the end of the Cold War and Visconti pens were also presented to the 25 signatories of the European Constitution in 2005.  See? Classy.

But you will STILL absent-mindedly leave it lying on the counter in the bank........

Soukou Oshita at work

The topmost image depicts the Chariot and Wheel,  but you can check out the others here.

Fancy it? Well, just mortgage the children for £9,800 and one of these really gorgeous pens can be yours!  *wonders whether she should ask for one to use as a promotional item and decides that the answer will be hysterical laughter*


You could just buy a copy of the Visconti Sforza deck and a packet of Bic Crystals and spend the rest on a luffly holiday!