Tarot Cards collectors, historians and playing cards enthusiasts visiting Milan, maybe because of EXPO 2015, make time to travel through the hidden wonders of Osvaldo’s atelier.
If you’re interested in tarots, a visit at Osvaldo’s atelier in Milan is a must. Check our Italian Stories website, book a visit and discover the art and history of playing cards and tarots.
Meet Osvaldo, master painter of Tarots.
“Maestro”, as we say in Italy. An accomplished artist, tarots designer and publisher. Osvaldo’s insight into the art, essence and history of tarots has made him renown worldwide.
In early ’70s, he gave up his painter career to cultivate his interest into tarots. While becoming tarot collector and researcher, Osvaldo started designing new tarots and publishing accurate reproduction of ancient decks.
Over the decades his work of art became authoritative. Just to give you an example, in 2013 the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has him granted the right to reproduce the 22 major arcana cards of 15th century Sola Busca deck, the oldest complete tarot deck in the world, now housed at Pinacoteca of Brera -Milan.
Back to the atelier. Let’s enter with us.
Well. Where do we begin to tell you what it holds?
Visiting a tarot treasure atelier in downtown Milan is kind of magic.
As tarot newbies, we felt as kids dropped in a timeless Wunderkammer. Osvaldo welcomed us with an open smile and perceived our wonder.
Amid several kind of tarot decks on sale, glass and wooden divination tools, books and catalogues – the list can go on and on , we could browse every shelf for long time, explore the walls inch by inch, and always discover new details.
Here in his shop, Osvaldo shields his own valuable tarot collection and meets international collectors, tarot historians, and researchers.
We loved to watch him at his workbench, turning each card deck into something really special.
Handmade tarot card: an authentic experience, visually and tactually.
Since our encounter with Osvaldo, we haven’t inspected a playing card so thoroughly. Probably all of us at Italian Stories haven’t seen an handmade collectible card before.
Of course, we store in our camping-games-box one mass market playing cards set – with chance of peanut butter and jelly stains.
But here we’re traveling in another galaxy.
Osvaldo explained us the process of his handmade high-quality tarot cards, both designed by him and historical reproductions.
The quality of the card stock, the finishing texture are key, as well as the quality of Osvaldo’s hand painting and a lot of other elements that make the difference.
Some of the tarot decks have their own box, handcrafted by Osvaldo, often tied with ribbons and always finished with his signature wax seal. Inside the box, there is also an account of the tarot deck’s history, a booklet written by Osvaldo’s niece and art historian Cristina.
The Tarots History disclosed to us by Cristina
Cristina let us travel back to the XV century, explaining the origin of tarots, when dames and cavaliers used to entertain themselves playing with trionfi – that’s the ancient name of tarots: triumphs, trumps. An expression of art, literature, philosophy and alchemy.
Her historical notes booklets are the perfect complement to Osvaldo handrafted tarot decks.
There is a world of knowledge embedded into a single card, not to mention in the whole deck: its complex iconography, the quality of the drawings and the historical context within the cards were commissioned and conceived.
Pick one card of the Visconti-Sforza deck or a Sola-Busca’s major aracana. Listen Cristina commenting it. And be prepared to be amazed.
If you’re interested in tarots, visit Osvaldo’s atelier in Milan. Check Italian Stories website, book a visit and discover the art and history of playing cards and tarots.
Credits: photo, courtesy od Denise Liguori