The Michelangelo Tarot makes spectacular use of Michelangelo’s techniques and body of work to create a stunning deck faithful to the Rider-Waite-Smith model. It is a beautiful and readable deck for anyone who loves the works of this artistic master.
Michelangelo’s style is complex and philosophical. It is intellectual and celebrates the “idea” of whatever is portrayed, like gesture drawings that spontaneously capture the truth or essence of something. Thtat is, the work focuses on the moment between immobility and movement, illuminating a spiritual energy that is purely essence and is not yet spent by the actual gesture. It is in this moment that the energy is captured in stone (or paint) and is exhilaratingly palpable. Unlike a gesture drawing, Michelangelo’s work is extremely polished and sophisticatedly finished.
Guido Zibordi strove to capture Michelangelo’s style by using recognizable images from the Master’s body of work as well as by utilizing his methods. Tarot is a dance of the balancing of opposing forces, much like Michelangelo’s work. Guido does an excellent job of capturing the feel and style of Michelangelo’s art. In this deck, there is a nice use of recognizable images. Some are clearly copies, for example the Oracle of Delphi for Justice. Others are more of an inspiration than a copy, such as the use of the Lybian Oracle for the High Priestess and his sculpture, the Pieta, as Death.
While this is a typical Lo Scarabeo art deck (which means very lovely images and high quality art), it is also a wonderful Rider-Waite-Smith style deck and anyone familiar with the RWS images will easily recognize which card is which. This makes it easy to use and allows the art to inspire and extend interpretations.
The images are clear and usually show a single figure. For example, the 6 of Wands shows a man holding six wands. One wand is topped with a laurel wreath, representing victory, and his feet have wings, reminiscent of Nike, also representing victory. Many of the women in the deck are reveal their inner strength and indepence through their beautiful muscularity.
The court cards have familiar emblems, such as salamanders on the Wands. The Queen of Wands has her sunflower and her familiar cat is etched onto her throne. The kings have astrological symbols: Leo for Wands, Taurus for Pentacles, and Pisces for Cups.
Because of Guido’s application of Michelangelo’s capturing the moment in between, there is a yearning in the Lovers that is usually absent from most decks. The Chariot is filled with determination and movement surprising features in a card that is usually filled with immobility. The Moon will intrigue you, showing a woman clutching a crescent moon.
Name of deck: Michelangelo Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator's name: Guido Zibordi Marchesi
Artist's name: Guido Zibordi Marchesi (and Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni)
Name of accompanying booklet: Michelangelo Tarot
Number of pages of booklet: Booklet is 63 pages; 14 in English
Author of booklet: Guido Zibordi Marchesi
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: In the style of Michelangelo
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards?: No