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Enrico Prometti Arcani Maggiori
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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 09:28 pm
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papoon
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After five years of kicking myself (metaphorically speaking, of course) for not picking up a copy of the Enrico Prometti Arcani Maggiori back when it was readily available from Alida, I finally managed to score a copy, which arrived a few days ago. Normally I wouldn't post about a deck that is already well-covered at TG, but I'm so delighted by it, I couldn't resist.

Since TG makes a point of scanning cards close to their actual size, it wasn't until I actually had the cards in my hand that I realized just how wonderfully detailed the art is. (The cards are relatively small (the actual image area is about 2 1/8" x 4"), and at that size, the TG scans just don't have the resolution to really show the detail.)

Anyway, here are a few of the cards scanned at much larger than actual size to give some idea of what they're about (my apologies to anyone on dial-up for the file size):



I realize this isn't an art style that will appeal to everyone, but if you're one to whom it does, it's definitely a deck worth looking out for.

Last edited on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 01:13 am by papoon

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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 09:42 pm
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OnePotato
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:ro  WOW! I LOVE THIS DECK!

It's been in my top 10 wishlist from the start.
Congrats on finding a copy, and thanks for posting some decent scans of it!

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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 05:23 pm
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goldenweb
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Simply stunning - lucky you - any chance of a scan or two more...?

Last edited on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 05:26 pm by goldenweb

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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 07:04 am
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papoon
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goldenweb wrote:
...any chance of a scan or two more...?
Sure:

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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 07:07 am
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debra
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Wow.  These are wonderful.

Here's a question.  If we cover the titles, can we identify the cards?

So far I can't.  What am I doing wrong?  They seem like they should be...something other.  Like that Devil for example. 

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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 07:25 am
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papoon
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debra wrote:
What am I doing wrong?

I don't think you're doing anything wrong. Looking at the entire set, I'd say about half of them might reasonably be identified solely from the figurative content (like the Pope, Chariot, and Emperor among the ones I've posted). For the rest, it's an interesting exercise to try to "reverse engineer" what might have been the inspiration (if any) from the traditional imagery.

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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 10:22 am
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goldenweb
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Thanks for the extra scans papoon, those images are truly amazing - so complex and different from anything else I can think of. And like Debra, I'm wondering how the artist arrived at some of the images, but wondering's an interesting exercise in itself - a little mystery's no bad thing. Does anyone know when the edition became OOP? I know everything turns up on ebay eventually, the trouble is that there's always lots of competition for these special OOP tarots. Note to self: buy when they're easily available and don't wait too long...!

Pen

Re. the Devil card, I'd have thought it was the Empress - that little womanly shape in the middle etc. And the Sun card reminds me of the Thoth.

Last edited on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 10:29 am by goldenweb

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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2008 08:06 am
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papoon
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goldenweb wrote:
Does anyone know when the edition became OOP?
A little visit to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine showed that it was still listed as available at Alida in early October 2003 and had disappeared from their listings by late October 2003 (so someone got the last one in mid-October).

 Note to self: buy when they're easily available and don't wait too long...!
A lesson that I learned (more or less) from my procrastination over this very deck.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2008 03:54 pm
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AdamMcLean
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I have this tarot in a little book. I think it is the catalogue of his exhibition.

 

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 12:47 am
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Quarkling
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This is one of my favorites. I don't speak Italian, but the title card mentions Oswald Wirth, and the date 1924.Perhaps there is a connection there - somehow.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 06:12 am
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goldenweb
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papoon wrote:
A little visit to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine...

 

Why should I be surprised that such a thing exists...?! ...I learn something new here every day!

Thanks papoon...  

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 09:13 am
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AdamMcLean
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papoon wrote:

 Note to self: buy when they're easily available and don't wait too long...!
A lesson that I learned (more or less) from my procrastination over this very deck.


That is what I try to do. I hate it when I miss collecting a deck because I held back. One certainly does regret at ones leisure.

From the other side of the transaction - recently I sold the last of the Alchemical Emblems Tarot (the first one I produced). Now there are no more copies left to sell, I get two or three people writing to me each week pleading for a copy. People always seem to want something that they cannot have.

Prometti also made the Porco Tarot, though in a different style. I wonder if that is close to selling out ? Luckily I already have a copy.

 

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 09:52 am
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gregory
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That's the approach I have always adopted (when I had the money.....) - the only time I didn't was over the Priapo. I regretted it bitterly the day I finally got one.... which cost me 10 times what I could have had it for.....

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 11:54 am
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BlueToy
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Of course the forms and colours are very wonderful, but what really fascinates me here's the "dirty" texture-y look. Would you know what medium was used?

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2008 11:55 am by BlueToy

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 03:38 pm
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goldenweb
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BlueToy wrote: Of course the forms and colours are very wonderful, but what really fascinates me here's the "dirty" texture-y look. Would you know what medium was used?

It looks like dry-brush (maybe with thick acrylic straight from the tube?) on a roughish card surface to me, but of course I could well be wrong. He could have scratched it when it was dry too. Yet if that surface was applied first, it doesn't seem to interfere with the extremely fine detail of the images. Hmmm.........

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 04:06 pm
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papoon
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Of course the forms and colours are very wonderful, but what really fascinates me here's the "dirty" texture-y look. Would you know what medium was used?
If Adam's book is in fact a catalog of the original exhibition, perhaps there might be info there? (Although I suppose, if so, it would be in Italian.) Adam?

Prometti also made the Porco Tarot, though in a different style. I wonder if that is close to selling out ?
I got my copy of the Porco from Alida back in 2003 (pretty much in reaction to having missed the Prometti Arcani Maggiori). It also disappeared from Alida shortly after, so I may have gotten one of their last copies. It's not clear to me if it is still available from Bigio L’Oster (who commissioned it). It's mentioned on the web site, but there doesn't seem to be an indication of whether one can still buy one.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 04:22 pm
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AdamMcLean
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The outer frames of each card are the same apart from the titles so they could have been put in using Photoshop or some other graphics program. The background scuffing, I suppose is to emulate a worn etching or stone litho plate.  All the backgrounds could be layers  in Photoshop, on which  are  imposed a transparent layer with the foreground drawings, possibly created in pen and tinctured with watercolours. Certainly the background scuffs and rust like stains penetrate through the foreground images. I suppose the frame it is to some extent trompe l'oeil, emulating plates with rough rusty and worn edges inserted in little boxes.

I cannot immediately locate my copy of the catalogue which could well explain the technique.  I will try and find it after the weekend.

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2008 04:26 pm by AdamMcLean

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 04:39 pm
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AdamMcLean
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Here is the text from the catalogue. It seems to have  been created pre-Photoshop !

Tra il 1976 e il 1977 i Tarocchi della seconda serie subirono solo piccoli interventi: nel 1978 ne ricavai delle fotolitografie, per poter modificare la serie con il colore, mantenendo la versione in bianco e nero, che mi sembrava in sé conclusa. Una serie a colori è andata in dono alla mia famiglia, dalla quale mi sono separato nel 1978. 
Durante gli anni Ottanta ho compiuto diverse variazioni sulle fotolito colorate, riprendendo anche la seconda serie originale, con velature a cera e successivamente con piccoli interventi di colore ali acquarello. Data all'inverno 1993-94 una terza serie di arcani maggiori, realizzata con colore e collage, secondo criteri compositivi diversi rispetto alle esperienze precedenti. Ultimamente sono impegnato nella ulteriore rielaborazione delle fotolito della seconda serie, mediante colore, penna, collage, per creare un nuovo mazzo completo, e nella realizzazione di una serie degli arcani maggiori all'acquaforte.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2008 04:59 pm
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BlueToy
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I was idiotic enough to Babelfish Adam's recent post:

Between 1976 and the 1977 the Tarocchi of the second series endured only little ones participations: in 1978 I gained some of the photolitographs, for being able to modify the series with the color, maintaining the version in black and white, than me it seemed concluded in itself. A series to colors has gone in gift to my family, from which they are separated to me in 1978. During years Eighty I have completed various variations on the fotolito one colorful, resuming also the second series originates them, with airframes to wax and successively with little ones participations of color it tows acquarello. Date all' winter a 1993-94 third mysterious series of greater, realized with color and collage, according to various compositivi criteria regarding the experiences precedence. Lately they are engaged in the ulterior rework of the fotolito one of the second series, by means of color, pen, collage, in order to create a new complete bunch, and in the realization of a mysterious series of the greater ones all' etching.

I'm not sure if that made sense to me. Even after reading it 5 times over. Oh well...

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2008 05:04 pm by BlueToy

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2008 06:20 am
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debra
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LOL just like the images themselves...fascinating and confusing both :D

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2008 08:52 am
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AdamMcLean
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It says somethig like this (in summary)

Between 1976-77 he did little work on the second version of his Tarocchi. But in 1978 he made photolithographic prints of the black and white version as he felt it was then complete. He also made a coloured version as a gift to his family, from whom he separated in 1978. During the 1980’s he made a number of variations on the photolitho prints using the second version, using wax resists and small amounts of applied colour. In the winter of 1993-94 he made a third version of the Major arcana,  based on his experience with the previous version, and using colour and collage. He was recently (1994) engaged in a final reworking of the photolithos of the second version, using colour, pen, collage to create a new deck, and in the creation of a series of the Major Arcana as etchings.

 

I am a bit unsure to what he is referring in the last sentence. Is his tarocchi as published this final reworking of the photolithos, or a new version created as etchings ? The tarot looks on the surface like etchings, but the standard frame around them suggests otherwise. Etching printing leaves a depression in the paper which would make it impossible to print  the frame around it. So it seems to be this final collaged second version.  So one wonders if he ever completed the etched version as a third tarot.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2008 12:05 pm
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BlueToy
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I'm not too familiar with lithography, at least the hands-on part, but I'm really fascinated by the graininess of the images. Do you think they were the result of the printmaking process itself, or were they from in the surface of the paper itself? Actually, the first thing I thought of was that the backgrounds resembled plywood in some way.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2008 08:21 pm
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papoon
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BlueToy wrote:
Actually, the first thing I thought of was that the backgrounds resembled plywood in some way.
Me too. My first time though the cards I was convinced they had been painted on wooden panels.

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