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Golden Tarot of Klimt Cards (Lo Scarabeo Decks) [Cards]

Lo Scarabeo , A. A. Atanassov
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Cards
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Box Tcr Cr edition (Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738707902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738707907
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 7 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,573,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good art, useful deck 19 Mar 2007
I love Klimt's work, and I have quite a few Tarot packs, so when I heard that Lo Scarabeo were bringing out a Golden Tarot of Klimt, I was delighted. And also, I must admit, a bit anxious too-what if the deck didn't do justice to Klimt's work ?

I need not have worried. This is a lovely deck. Of course, Gustav Klimt never designed a Tarot pack himself, but some of his great works are here : "The Kiss" is The Lovers card, unsurprsingly. The Hierophant card is an adaptation of a photograph of Klimt himself, a big benevolent-looking man. The majority of the cards are not adaptations of Klimt paintings but rather designs done in the Klimt style. Very well done, in my opinion. The characteristic swirls and flowers are here, the golden triangles and, of course, the goldwork, the OPULENCE. All of which goes to make this a very aesthetically-pleasing deck to work with.

Does it work as Tarot ? Yes, definitely yes. The deck has been modelled more or less on the Rider-Waite tradition, and each card marries well with those interpretations. I think a beginner at tarot could use these cards with great benefit and enjoyment.

The (only) drawback, as with most Lo Scarabeo decks, is the Little White Book which purports to provide interpretations but which often provides ones at odds with the cards themselves. I just discarded it.

If you are into Tarot and looking for something very arty, look no further. If you love Art Nouveau, this is a much better deck than the two tarot decks actually named Art Nouveau. And you may just want these cards if you are a Klimt fan, regardless of their possible use as a Tarot pack.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Art Deck 10 Nov 2005
By Janet Boyer - Published on
"The symbolism inherent in the Tarot is perfectly coherent with that symbolist culture that also gave origin to Klimt's work. The pictorial images of the Viennese artist are, in fact, full of hermeticism: his works seem to be depictions of a mystery and even more so an expression of emotions and drives." - From the L(ittle) W(hite) B(ook) to the Golden Tarot of Klimt

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was a Viennese artist arguably most known for his mosaic-like paintings, especially "The Kiss". Klimt combined pictorial and graphical techniques and history considers him as one of the initiators of modern design. Once a member of the collective studio "School of Arts and Crafts", Klimt and several contemporaries left the studio to form the Vienna Secession. What united this group was a rejection of tradition and moral aesthetics of the day. In fact, individuals often accused Klimt of pornography for depicting the nude body, especially ones that were full-figured, pregnant, or old.

Inspired by Klimt's allegorical subjects, A.A. Atanassov has designed a Tarot deck based on the paintings of this famed artist. The Golden Tarot of Klimt not only re-works Klimt's paintings for each card but also adorns them with stunning golden embossing. Unfortunately, web scans of the cards don't reflect these shining ornamentations.

The Golden Tarot of Klimt, published by Lo Scarabeo, follows traditional Tarot assignments: Chalices, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords for the suits, standard card names and court depictions (with Knave replacing the more common Page). A brief bio of Klimt is included in the LWB, as are the upright and reversed meanings of each card; these are provided in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German as is customary with Lo Scarabeo companion booklets.

Black bordering provides beautiful framing for the colorful artwork; tucked near the corners of each card are four golden squares. The reversible card backings display an intricate Egyptian theme of in subdued colors.

Compared to the originals, the reproductions in this deck vary on several counts: the human complexions often appear washed out, even ashen, as does the hair. Klimt's pieces often featured bright swathes of ruby red on the cheeks of females as well as on the lips. The hair is usually vibrant and lush. However, the figures in the Golden Tarot of Klimt are often pale and many brunets look to be sporting over-used brillo pads.

For example, the Ace of Wands (based on the painting Hope II) adds a pillar, human-size wand but removes the gray "halo" over the central figure, as well as the women at her feet. Her breasts are now small and perky as opposed to the voluptuous depiction in the original. The Wheel (based on the painting Portrait of Adele Block Bauer) removes the bright red makeup of the original while sharpening the facial features.

Nevertheless, what the Golden Tarot of Klimt lacks by altering some elements, it more than makes up for with the intricate gold filigree. Artistically, this is the most striking deck I've ever seen. The gilded etchings embellish a multitude of geometric shapes, as well as the rounded pentacles, clothing accessories, pillars, backgrounds, boat sails, and more. For example, The Moon card depicts a dreaming woman surrounded by a myriad of gilt crescent moons. The pillar behind the King of Chalices is almost entirely solid gold. The Wheel card displays dozens of glittering triangles, circles, squares and spirals-even highlighting an eye of Horus.

However, I found a few of the cards in the Golden Tarot of Klimt confusing. A serious woman wearing a helmet portrays the Empress; she holds a nude human in her right hand, arms splayed at right angles. The subject appears to be a reference to Athena, which is usually associated with "airy" cards like The Queen of Swords or Justice-not the earthy, nurturing Empress. The Fool is an emaciated, nude, white-haired man holding his head in his hands as if he's just lost everything. How is this portrait of despair connected to the youthful recklessness or innocent trust of The Fool? The Strength cards shows a woman who *appears* to be holding a decapitated head by her hair. What kind of "strength" is this, exactly?

Being what LWB's are, there is no explanation for these unusual choices.

As for reading with the Golden Tarot of Klimt, I had no trouble receiving intuitive information from the evocative images. My husband and I played around doing readings based on real life (such as me trying to predict a "human interest" story from his workday and he performing a 3-card reading for me), but the accuracy seemed hit-and-miss. I'm unsure if it's the deck, the kind of questions I was asking, or if it was just an off night. (My husband's reading was accurate, but his is *always* accurate-which is frustrating since he's not even a Tarot reader!)

Regardless of any shortcomings, The Golden Tarot of Klimt is a dazzling art deck that is certainly readable. If you're anything like me, you'll open the box, "oooh!" and "ahhh!", and slowly savor each card as the light plays upon the golden accents. Its uniqueness demands a spot on the shelf of serious deck collectors as well as fans of Klimt.

(To see 9 images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surface and shadow 26 Mar 2007
By A. Frost - Published on
Verified Purchase
Due to the nature of the medium, onscreen tarot cards often look a bit brighter and more three-dimensional than the real thing but with the Klimt pack, it's the reverse. Each card is an embossed and gilded gem. The nudity is often deliberately confronting. The World depicts an enquiring female about to give birth and her belly has more surface than the rest of her body from head to toe. The nine of cups is either a eunuch or an utterly fearless middle-aged woman. Males are subjected to the same unflinching Klimt treatment of physicality; the Fool and the Hermit remind us that Klimt would have seen starvation and desperation on his doorstep. There's nothing in the LWB about Klimt and the interpretations are brief to the point of confusion. This is a pity because the images have vast narrative power. I suggest gradually record a LWB of your own associations as you work with the cards. Klimt's passion for including decorative art - textiles, tiles and lavish architectural ornament - is well exploited and the sharp swings between Klimt's era and mythological times are a thrill. The High Priestess could be Eleanor Roosevelt smiling enigmatically from the sofa. Creative angles and distortions make this deck a perfect tool for probing parallel identities and processes.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain! 21 Mar 2006
By bunnyrabbit4 - Published on
Verified Purchase
Many decks that feature gold printing are in the $40 range. Not only is this deck affordable but the Symbolist movement of which Klimt was a part contains a mythology that works extremely well with traditional Tarot meanings. I have over 80 decks and this one is treasured addition to my collection.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous golden deck 28 Sep 2007
By Maria E. B. Torii - Published on
Although I probably won't be using this deck "seriously", to actually lay cards, it is already a treasure that has added a new artistic dimension to my contact with tarot. Beautifully printed cards that depict paintings, or details of paintings by Klimt, they are impressive both because of the look and touch of the cards, and the very sensible selection of images to fit each of the Arcana. The accompanying booklet seems to suggest that designer Atanassov was sometimes inspired by Klimt's style rather than by an actual work of his, but although I'm not such an educated Klimt fan to know, I think he did great.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly beautiful tarot cards 31 July 2010
By PattyLu - Published on
Verified Purchase
Golden Tarot of Klimt Deluxe (English and Spanish Edition) After acquainting myself with this gorgeous deck, I am still catching my breath. The polished gold embellishments add to their beauty. All 78 cards have pictures, which helps in reading them and I have to say that Lo Scarabeo really produces beautiful cards of excellent quality. I am looking forward to doing some really great readings with these cards.
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