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Golden Tarot of Klimt - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $16.64

ProductID: alt0062

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About this item
  • The Golden Tarot of Klimt is inspired by the artistic style of early twentieth-century Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt. The art is vivid and sensual, interspersed with mosaic patterns and accented with gold metallic accents.

Name Golden Tarot of Klimt
Creators A. Atanassov
Publisher Lo Scarabeo 2005
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Mixed
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits Chalices, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Knave, Knight, Queen, King
Major Titles The Fool, The Magician, The Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Hermit, The Wheel, Strength, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Stars, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World
Strength is 11
Justice is 8
Card Size 2.60 x 4.72 in. = 6.60cm x 12.00cm
Card Language Spanish, Italian, German, French, English, Dutch
Card Back Reversible
Back Design Mirrored Klimt-style women on a brownish background.
Companion Material 64-page companion booklet in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German.


Gustav Klimt was an early twentieth-century Austrian artist who was known for the elegance, beauty and sensuality of his works. Klimt rejected tradition and the moralism of previous generations in his art, and is remembered because he “succeeded in perfectly expressing the spirit of the bourgeois and aristocratic world of his time, transforming it into a dream-like universe of magnificence and decadence”. He was also a Symbolist painter – which seems very appropriate for the adaptation of his art into Tarot cards.

Klimt’s art was influenced by diverse sources: medieval woodcuts by Durer, Japanese Ukiyoe paintings, Egyptian, Byzantine, Classical Greek and even Minoan influences. Photographical influences also seem apparent; the faces and often bodies have a photo-realistic quality in outline and expression. Klimt’s people are tall and spare, extremely elegant, and very pale. They aren’t restricted to the young and beautiful either; there are children, old people, pregnant women, fuller figured women, mothers, all in their pale humanity. Some of his images attracted accusations of pornography when they were first shown, because of the nude body and depictions of the natural human: the inclusion of bodies that didn’t fit what was thought of as ‘sensual’ at the time.

A.A. Atanassov was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s style and created the cards for the Golden Tarot of Klimt from artwork spanning the artist’s career from 1899 to 1917. Some cards are close copies of his original paintings -The Moon card is a version of ‘Danae’, the Ten of Cups is ‘Jungfrau’, Strength is ‘Judith II’ and the High Priestess in ‘Bildnis Frieda Reidler’ - while others are of a similar feel but don’t directly match with a piece of Klimt’s.

The card art is rich and luxurious yet elegant and poised, offset by dramatic black borders. Gold and mosaics were common parts of Klimt’s works, and have been used in the Tarot deck to great effect - clothing and swathes of backgrounds are transformed by sensual reds, multi-coloured tiled mosaics, and glinting metallic gold highlights. The major arcana seem have a stronger connection with Klimt’s works, while the minor arcana are more Tarot illustrations in his style.

Of all the cards, my own favourites are the Sun, the Lovers, the Chariot and the Four of Wands. The Sun has a couple standing in a tight embrace, golden light streaming down behind them. The Lovers is an illustration from one of Klimt’s most famous paintings – The Kiss – a man bending over to kiss his lover’s face, their robes are a glittering gold mosaic. The Chariot pictures a naked woman with flowing brown hair atop a golden chariot, left arm raised with whip in hand, reins over her right arm, eyes closed. The Four of Wands has a strong feeling of peace and love: a woman stands, resting her head on the sleeping child in her arms.

The companion booklet is a standard one from Lo Scarabeo - it introduces Klimt and the concept for the Tarot cards, offers a few pages of keywords meanings (upright and reversed) and a unique spread. The meanings are somewhat disappointing – they explain nothing about the art choices or links between the card and art, they’re just bare divinatory keywords. For example:

XI – Strength – Spiritual energy, moral strength, clear thinking, determination. Dangerous confrontation, cruelty, uneven struggles, sacrifice.

The suits used in the deck are Chalices, Wands, Swords and Pentacles, while the court cards are Knave, Knight, Queen, and King. The major arcana have the more traditional ordering of Strength at 11 and Justice at 8, and the minors are fully illustrated. Each numbered suit card shows the relevant number of suit elements, eg. the Ten of Cups shows ten cups, the Four of Swords four swords. The backs have a reversible busy Klimt-style design of an ornately-dressed woman.

The Golden Tarot of Klimt is a stunning deck of human beauty contrasted with luxurious costumes and surroundings. It’s definitely one for the art-lovers and deck collectors, but it could also be working reading deck. Novice readers might find the changed imagery and bare-bones companion material a challenge to work with, but readers with some experience could use it - once they have stopped drooling over the golden images.

Combine shipping is possible.

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