From the Masters of Triumphs illuminated 
to the Masters of Surrealism

The first historically documented display of the Tarot took place in Milan, at the Court of the Visconti, around 1440. 
The more ancient decks of cards, were meticulously painted by famous artists like Bonifacio Bembo and Francisco Zavattari. They were initially created to serve as a didactic tool containing the essence of the late-medieval culture. 
The Tarot were almost immediately adopted for Gambling and various Sets were printed in series. At the beginning of the 1500's, they were spotted, for the first time, in France, then in Germany and also during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Towards the end of the 1700's some esoteric-minded individuals initiated the idea that the Tarot were the legendary Book of Thoth. 
For this reason, they became a reference, a bible of sorts, for the occultists, a handbook that would contain all the secrets of the Universe. The extraordinary interest that developed around the Tarot pushed numerous contemporary painters to re-interpret the mysterious images. 
One need only recall Franco Gentilini, Renato Guttuso, Salvador Dal, Hans Ruedi Giger, to the most recent "The Tarot Garden" arranged by the sculptor Niki de Saint-Phalle at Orbetello.

Duration of Conference:
1 hour accompanied by a slide show (40 in total).

On this subject please see my articles:
I Tarocchi miniati, CHARTA n13 (nov.-dec. '94)
Phantastischen Tarocke, CHARTA n54 (sept.-oct. '01)
I Tarocchi nell'arte contemporanea, TERZO OCCHIO n102 (March '02

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