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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 08:46 am
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papoon
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So, ever since encountering the entry for the Iona Tarot on the Tarot Garden site about 5 years ago, it's been pretty much at the top of my wishlist. I found the imagery of TG's six sample prints quite striking and I absolutely love intaglio printing. Unfortunately, for years, all of my attempts to find out any more about it and, especially, find images of the rest of the prints, were for naught. Given its apparent rarity (and obscurity), I was becoming resigned to never encountering a copy.

Then, about three months ago, I stumbled across a link that lead me to more information and, amazingly, an available set. After months of back and forth communication, I got confirmation today that it will be on its way to me from Italy Monday. To say I'm stoked is an understatement.

I'll post more when it arrives, but in the meantime, for those interested, here are pictures of all 22 prints (some mildly NSFW):

il mago
la papessa
l'imperatrice
l'imperatore
il sacerdote
gli amanti
il trionfo
la giustizia
l'eremita
la rota della fortuna
la forza
la penduta
la morte
la temperanza
il diavolo
la torre
la stella
la luna
il sole
la ressurezione
il mondo
il folle

(BTW, it appears much of the info about it on the TG site is wrong.)

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 11:45 am
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AdamMcLean
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That is a great find.  I remember seeing that in Kaplan IV.

I wonder what the 'IONA' stands for. I notice these letters are made into a kind of logo on many of cards (on the World it is inexplicably in Greek), so perhaps it refers to someones name.

It is certainly a major piece of Italian art tarot. Thanks for sharing the images.

 

 

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 12:39 pm
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gregory
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I only ever heard of it by its name and assumed it was something to do with Scotland.....

 Do we have a blush smiley ????

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 12:48 pm
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AdamMcLean
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Iona is that wee island off Mull on the West Coast of Scotland, famous as the place where St  Columba came to evangelise in the late 6th century.  Nowadays one would expect something incorporating the name 'Iona'  to be reflecting Celtic  or early Christian symbolism. It seems unlikely that one can see such conventional associations in the images of the Iona Tarot.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 01:44 pm
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gregory
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Blushes some more (That was indeed the Iona I meant.)

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 03:38 pm
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OnePotato
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Wow!! Now THAT's something!!
I've always thought this was one of the best decks out there.

Congrats to Papoon, the Big Game hunter....

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 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 02:06 am
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mythos
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Wow!  Weeps in her soup again over a wonder so rare.  Congratulations Papoon.  You have a find indeed.  The art is extraordinary.  Oh to be able to Intaglio.  Apart from extraordinary talent and a mountain of practice, one would need such a steady hand and excellent eye sight.  Just to gaze on the images is magnificient.

mythos:D

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 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 04:42 pm
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truelighth
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Congratulations on such a wonderful find! Especially if this is your dream deck! And thanks for sharing the images.. they are wonderful.

Ok, I will admit, I am a bit green with envy :v, but I still hope you will enjoy this wonderful deck for a long time! :ro

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 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 10:32 pm
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papoon
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AdamMcLean wrote:
I wonder what the 'IONA' stands for. I notice these letters are made into a kind of logo on many of cards (on the World it is inexplicably in Greek), so perhaps it refers to someones name

I think the only reason we all know it as the Iona Tarot is because that is what the Tarot Garden decided to call it, probably based on the IONA characters appearing on most of the cards.

The artist, Giona Fiocchi, also refers to himself as "Yonah," and, in my communications, it was always referred to as the Yonah Tarots. As you can see on this exhibition brochure from a presentation of his work in Vienna in 1995, he is called Giona as well as
ידנח

which, if my hazy memory of Hebrew is accurate, almost, but not quite, transliterates to something approximating Yonah. However, the second letter from the right is dalet, which is typically pronounced as a "d" and therefore wouldn't seem to have a place in "Yonah." (Any Hebrew speakers here who can help?) Is "IONA" somehow another variation of "Yonah?"

Also, according to what I have been told, there were only five sets ever printed for sale. The first three were printed with sepia ink and sold as individual pieces, most in Italy. Two more sets were printed in blue ink for exhibits in Milan and Vienna and were again sold as individual pieces. The examples on TG obviously come from these sets. The set I was lucky enough to acquire is the artist's personal proof set in sepia and, according to him, the only currently complete set. (Although I will breathe much easier when it has safely arrived.)

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 Posted: Mon Apr 14th, 2008 12:05 am
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OnePotato
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Did you get any further explanation on why so few were printed?

Is that legal dispute story true?

Any chance of a full edition being pulled?

Hmmm....
A new edition with some hand coloring might be nice...

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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:33 am
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debra
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Wow. Dude!

I'm applauding your acquisition--what work that must have involved for you! and looking at the images and hyperventilating.

But as I am also blushing my whole cardio-vascular-respiratory system teeters on the verge of... oh no... I fear I'm about to land face down in Fortuna's soup.



OnePotato wrote:


Hmmm....
A new edition with some hand coloring might be nice...
 
Troublemaker.

:cl

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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:36 am
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debra
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PS:  I bet Tarot Garden will be grateful for better and up-to-date information....helps establish the history of the deck, too, so mutually beneficial.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 04:10 am
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mythos
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I've been pondering intaglio.  Given the cost of copper, and the dandergousness nessness (yes ... I repeat - dangerous) of lead, I have been wondering about polyurethane and etching tools for intaglio work.

Never in my wildest fantasies could I produce anything of such extraordinary talent and artistic interpretation as the Iona Tarot, but the idea is taking hold.  Yeah, yeah ... finish first deck first ... but I wonder.  Anyone had any experience doing this work on softish plastics?

mythos:D

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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 06:34 pm
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papoon
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mythos wrote:
I've been pondering intaglio.  Given the cost of copper, and the dandergousness nessness (yes ... I repeat - dangerous) of lead, I have been wondering about polyurethane and etching tools for intaglio work.

Anyone had any experience doing this work on softish plastics?

The Iona is actually printed from zinc plate etchings (which I believe is somewhat less expensive than copper). Lead is virtually never used anymore.

But there is definitely both intaglio and relief work done in plastic. You can find the official FISAE technique categorizations here. Note C8 and X6.

As an example of the quality of work those techniques are capable of, you might check out the work of Gennady Pugachevsky using plastic engraving. (Note that the scans are two to three times larger than the actual printed pieces. The level of detail is amazing.)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 02:22 am
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mythos
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Gadzooks Dudley ... what amazing work.  I think I'd better just crawl back into my burrow.  I'm not much good at detail.  I am impatient and 'near-enough-is-good-enough'.  I have poor eyesight and shaky hands.  Still ........ very tempting.  One needs to be exceedingly talented and a perfectionist.  I am minimally talented and have only perfected the art of slothfulness.  Still ..... oh, so very tempting.  Yes .... I will give it a try.:ok

mythos:wwintaglio-ing.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 02:29 am
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papoon
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mythos:wwintaglio-ing.

Hmm... I've never seen plastic, um, spurt quite like that before.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 02:01 am
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mythos
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The creative juices must be flowing like a flash flood.  The muse must be absent.  Oh, and it takes great skill and .... oh alright ... so I'm fibbing.:gi

mythos:D 

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 Posted: Tue Apr 22nd, 2008 05:52 am
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papoon
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It's here!

And it's absolutely stunning. Scans can not begin to do justice to the astonishing detail. If anything, it's exceeded my expectations (which were high to begin with).

Here're a couple of pics.

In its folio:



A close-up of the signature and embossed Iona logo. (Each print is individually signed.):



(The "EdA" stands for Épreuve d'Artiste, i.e., Artist's Proof))

I have asked a number of additional questions about the work's history and current status and will report the answers when I receive them.

In the meantime, Whoo Hoo!

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 Posted: Tue Apr 22nd, 2008 06:46 am
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debra
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Oh man.

More, please.

:kt

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 06:06 am
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papoon
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Back up the thread, OnePotato asked:

Is that legal dispute story true?
I wasn't aware of the legal dispute story and OnePotato was kind enough to provide this quote from Kaplan Volume IV:

The Iona Tarot, by Italian artist Giona Fiocchi, comprises zinc-plate etchings in sepia or blue. The etchings were executed in the 1990s by Roberto Giudici in Varese. The etchings were intended to be a signed, limited edition of 49 sets of Majot Arcana. However, according to the prospective art dealer, the plates were seized in a legal action and the edition was never issued
I forwarded this quote to Giona's contact in Italy and received this reply today:

We were (again) very surprised of what else wrong is written in The Encyclopedia of Tarots:

Mr Giudici in Varese actually helped Giona in doing some test printing during the making of etchings but he never did any final printing, since he didn't have the appropriate press. So Giona contacted the great master Giorgio Upiglio in Milan and he followed Giona during all the main phase of the work. Your copy comes from Upiglio's Atelier.

Again, the "legal action" is absolutely a fairy story, Giona doesn't know anything about that.

The only real thing is that the plates have been damaged now because they were stored for long time in a dusty cellar, I would say forgotten instead of stored...

This last reference is to the fact that, tragically, the original zinc plates have deteriorated as a result of exposure to moisture. A new edition of 10 complete sets had been planned, but the damage was discovered in the preliminary phases of planning. Giorgio Upiglio worked on cleaning and restoring them, but the damage was too extensive to completely repair. There is still the possibility of a new edition printed with the damaged plates, but it appears that new copies with pristine impressions are no longer possible. Profoundly sad.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 06:48 am
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OnePotato
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Oh shit, that's a real shame.

Zinc oxidizes very easily when exposed to air.
If you have to store plates for a length of time, you can stick contact paper to the face, or put on a coat of varnish to prevent problems. But when you're standing there with a piece of shiney metal in your hands, it seems so sturdy....

With such fine linework, it seems to me it will be pretty tough to rub out any pitting without killing the image.

So papoon has a really magnificent thing.
He'd best take very good care of it!


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 Posted: Thu Apr 24th, 2008 01:55 am
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mythos
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drool:b... I want one.  If I hadn't already sold my soul to the Devil heaps of times (he really is easily fooled, but only for just so long), I'd do it again, just to get my hands on such a beauty.

Joy to you Papoon. You have a treasure indeed.

mythos:D

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 Posted: Mon Sep 14th, 2009 12:00 pm
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AdamMcLean
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A copy of the Iona Tarot is currently  (14th Sep 2009) on sale on Ebay for Euro2000 (about 1750 pounds $2900).

Too much for me I afraid, so I am happy to to pass on the details.

It is being sold by an Italian dealer and the item number is 160362493768

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 Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2010 10:27 pm
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forkissima
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I'm happy to share that I have the Yonah and now it's difficult to say with what I'm in love with more, this tarot or Udovichenko's. :cl

It's absolutely gorgeous, I'll hope to have a friend over this weekend to take quality pictures with a quality camera and post them here.
Really, this deck, or actually etchings give me the goosebumps any time I open the folder, just plain wonderful, the quality of the artwork, the technique, the ideas. We've discovered a few hidden and less hidden details that would be great to share. The gallery representing Yonah has the plan to print the originally planned 49 copies. I'd say even if you have to negotiate a payment plan, it's well worth it, breathtaking artwork, a lot of depth, pictures really cannot do justice. There was a plan to have an exhibition in Milan this May but things fell through with the location and now it's postponed. I hope to exhibit my copy in Brussels some time in the future.

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 Posted: Sun May 9th, 2010 11:46 pm
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CastleCrest
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papoon wrote: AdamMcLean wrote:
I wonder what the 'IONA' stands for. I notice these letters are made into a kind of logo on many of cards (on the World it is inexplicably in Greek), so perhaps it refers to someones name

I think the only reason we all know it as the Iona Tarot is because that is what the Tarot Garden decided to call it, probably based on the IONA characters appearing on most of the cards.

The artist, Giona Fiocchi, also refers to himself as "Yonah," and, in my communications, it was always referred to as the Yonah Tarots. As you can see on this exhibition brochure from a presentation of his work in Vienna in 1995, he is called Giona as well as
ידנח

which, if my hazy memory of Hebrew is accurate, almost, but not quite, transliterates to something approximating Yonah. However, the second letter from the right is dalet, which is typically pronounced as a "d" and therefore wouldn't seem to have a place in "Yonah." (Any Hebrew speakers here who can help?) Is "IONA" somehow another variation of "Yonah?"




You are correct in the being a dalet?

The l'imperatore card has a reish instead of a dalet -
it might of been ment as a Vav which holds the right sound.
The dalet is a "D" sound
the Reish is an "R" sound where the Vav is a "V" sound.
I don't speak hebrew, but  I can get a friend to translate this just not today.
He's Mom-ing today.

I can see how someone can go from IONA to Yonah -

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