Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo (Visconti-Sforza)
The “Visconti-Sforza” decks are a family of approximately 15 trionfi decks created in the 15th century, none of which retain a complete set of cards. Probably painted by Bonifacio Bembo, an Italian painter and miniaturist of the early-Renaissance period, their symbolism is influenced by his interest in neoplatonism. The decks are particularly admired for their beauty and the incorporation of precious materials. The cards often depict members of the Sforza and Visconti families, notably Bianca Maria Visconti and her husband Francesco I Sforza, the fourth duke of Milan.
The Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo deck (also known as Colleoni-Baglioni and Francesco Sforza), produced around 1452, is one of the most complete decks to survive from its time period. Several cards — the Devil, the Tower, the Three of Swords and the Knight of Coins — are lost to history. The deck is divided among three collections: 35 cards are at the The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, 26 are at the Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti di Bergamo, and 13 are in a private collection.
For more information, see the following articles.
- Early Tarot Cards
- Wikipedia — Visconti-Sforza tarot deck — Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo
- Andy’s Playing Cards — The Tarot and other Early Cards — The Visconti Tarots
- Tarot Heritage — From Milan to New York: The Adventures of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot Deck
- Tarot Heritage — A Personal Visit with the Visconti-Sforza Deck
See also the Cary-Yale (Visconti di Modrone) deck, to read about the related deck.
Please note that the images of this particular deck on this site are of varying quality because they were combined from several sources. Some images were of extremely poor quality or murky, possibly due to poor lighting; Photoshop was used to adjust color balance and contrast to bring out details, at the risk of giving an inaccurate impression of the actual condition of the physical cards.