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Renaissance Tarot Set [Cards]

Brian Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Cards: 197 pages
  • Publisher: U.S. Games; Gmc Crds edition (Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572810335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572810334
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 18.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,098,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trionfetti 16 Dec 2007
By Selene
The book is superb - scholarly and beautiful. Williams connects the Tarot with Greek mythology, so exciting to the first users of the cards in the princely courts of Renaissance Italy; his writing is lucid and elegant and his use of literary and visual sources, from Homer to Shakespeare, ancient funereal stelae to Michelangelo, inspirational. He is deeply responsive to the Tarot without being silly or fake-Egyptian. He writes in the tradition of Edgar Wind, not A.E. Waite.
Mrs. Glenister's anxiety about the cards' gayness seems very odd to me. Williams makes the four suits of the minor arcana into four allegorized mythological narratives, such as Ficino might have admired: Achilles for the Swords, Heracles for the Staves, Psyche for the Cups, Persephone for the Coins. Most of the figures, male and female, are nude, except for the court cards. If this bothers you, much Classical art will probably do so too ...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renaissance Tarot Deck is beautiful 3 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This beautiful deck is simply lovely. The images are homoerotic in the classical style, very much in the spirit of the rennaissance period. It has been nicknamed a "gay deck" by some, but I feel that is a bit narrow of thought.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I loved the quality of the overall artwork and colour scheme, but I'm afraid the prevalance of naked male genitalia really put me off. I simply could not work with this deck and had to dispose of it. Many of the pictures are indeed homo-erotic...but that, in itself, does not bother me as I am not homophobic; it is simply the naked genitles everywhere - I would feel as put off by it if they were heterosexual images.
If you are looking for a serious deck to work with whose imagery truly focuses on the meanings of the cards, steer clear of this one. Personally, I don't think you can beat the fabulous Ride-Waite.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I loved the quality of the overall artwork and colour scheme, but I'm afraid the prevalance of naked male genitalia really put me off. I simply could not work with this deck and had to dispose of it. Many of the pictures are indeed homo-erotic (as a previous reviewer mentioned) but that, in itself, does not bother me as I am not homophobic; it is simply the naked genitles everywhere - I would feel as put off by it if they were heterosexual images.
If you are looking for a serious deck to work with whose imagery truly focuses on the meanings of the cards, steer clear of this one. Personally, I don't think you can beat the fabulous Ride-Waite.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent set: artistic, literary, and historically rich 5 Nov 1998
By Tom L. Waters - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Brian Williams returned to the historical roots of the tarot in renaissance Italy for his inspiration in designing this deck. The feel of the deck is warm, bright, and sensual. The delicately rendered figures of the major arcana are depicted against the backdrop of the Italian countryside. The minor arcana are illustrated with small vignettes drawn from classical mythology, and the court cards are associated with four major cities of the Italian renaissance.
The book accompanying the deck is a tour-de-force study of renaissance symbolism in art and literature as it applies to the tarot. The major arcana are related to mythology, Christianity, alchemy, astrology, and other cultural influences of the time. Much more than just a guide to this particular deck, the book is an essential resource for any serious student of the tarot.
Although the deck includes many variations from the more commonly encountered tarot imagery (being based on the Italian tradition rather than, like most decks, the Anglo-French traditon), it still manages to be very comfortable and easy to learn for those already familiar with other decks.
A superb set, highly recommended for beginner and experienced tarot user alike. There are few better ways to spend $30 on tarot.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This tarot deck provides powerful images to help your sight 8 Mar 1999
By Brad Bernstein-Reppen - Published on Amazon.com
I received this deck for Christmas and a better choice by my very intuitive friend could not have been made. I love the colors and symbols of this deck. When I first saw it I was amazed by the details of this lovely deck. The quality of the drawing and the evocative imagery made me want to use it as my primary deck. I have received many strong readings with this deck, and the questioners are happy afterward. Mr. Williams has a special way of drawing the male and female figure to capture the animus of their spirit. The archetypes are strongly engrained in our collective psyche and the words easily flow from the tableau.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Imagery 8 Aug 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I spent a great deal of time searching for a new tarot deck after wearing out my primary deck -- over 15 yrs... This deck is hauntingly beautiful with compelling imagery... Though its interpretation is different than the standard decks I'm used to, I purchased the deck with the book, so I could learn more... The book is also remarkable... I recommend the book and deck to anyone with an aesthetic sensibility and a desire to learn a different, romantic approach to the Arcanas.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all tarot students. 21 Sep 2005
By Richard K. Kostoff - Published on Amazon.com
This is hands down the best book on tarot history and the origin of the cards there is and more. Classical mythology, history and fine art are the key words here. I found a new appreciation for an already great tarot deck. His book A Renaissance Tarot is the best there is as far as a course in Western traditions are concerned.

Mr Williams was probably the greatest scholar of the tarot to come from the U.S. to date. He passed in 2002 and left this wonderful legacy for all to share for generations to come. There are few books that mean as much. He gave the best in the business as far as I am concerned.

If you are looking for mysterious links to Egypt, Atlantis or Gypsies, look elsewhere. This beautifully illustrated book is packed with historical facts and mythological references that take you back to the real origins of the Tarot-Italy. It is well reseached with many original drawings by Brian himself.

This may be a new perspective for some in the New Age world. Tarot is something that can be translted into many different themes and philosophies. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the most universal tool of its kind. I have seen Egyptian, Hebrew, Celtic, Norse, Chinese, Middle Eastern and various fantasy themes that are all launched from these not so humble origins-The Classical worlds of Greece and Rome snuggled within the Italian Renaissance!

Whether you prefer this deck or not, if you have any draw to study the Tarot, do yourself a favor and read this precious book! It is a complete course in valid Tarot history. Not bad, considering the price. Oh yes, I recommend this with a good Tuscan Chianti.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is informative, but visuals are lacking 11 May 2006
By Venus A. Rachal - Published on Amazon.com
As many have mentioned, this deck comes with a wonderful book which explores the history of the Tarot in Italy. The front cover photo is gorgeous and you would expect that the cards would contain similar elegant illustrations. While the major arcana cards do have the same lovely pictures adorned with gold, the minor arcana are not as detailed. There are pictures on many of them, but the pictures are tiny and you mainly only see a bundle of wands or swords or cups rather than a detailed illustration as you might find in decks that are inspired by the Waite deck.

I used this deck for a couple of years, but I let it go because I prefer to have detailed pictures when I do readings. If you are more of a clairvoyant reader using the pictures as a focal point for your intuition rather than giving very text-book style readings, then this probably isn't the best deck for you. If you are using the deck more for personal use and you don't need illustrations on the cards or you just want the deck for the book, then go ahead and buy this deck.

I will say that if you are a beginner, you might like the fact that it comes with a large fold out poster of the celtic cross spread so that you can easily place cards in the appropriate places and know what each position is for.

There are definate benefits to this deck, but as a reader, I don't find it as useful for doing client readings.
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