Europe

Cards from far off lands and bygone days!

Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:19 am  

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The set of coloured cards in the possession of the Vienna Museum of Applied Art shows clearly that it is the colouring which makes the cards truly attractive. The colours have been applied with special care in the case of the theatre caracters, though with the flowers too, they provide considerably more charm and plasticity than is to be found in the plain engravings. The care with which the colours have been applied to the flower illustrations varies so considerably as to suggest that a number of different craftsmen were at work. The delicate, skilfully differentiated colouring of such designs as the daffodil (10 of Spades), the meadow-crocus (2 of Clubs) or the carnation (9 of Hearts) provide a marked contrast to the auricula (7 of Hearts), the evening primrose( 4 of Spades) or the violet (7 of Spades) where the clumsy brush-work only serves to obscure the delicate lines of the basic engraving.
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Considered as a group, The court figures are more consistent in design and colouring than the flower illustrations.
From 1802, the German publishing house of L.W. Wittich had issued a journal entitled "Kostume auf dem Koniglichen National-theater zu Berlin"(Costumes from the Royal National Theatre in Berlin) and the first Eight issues, published as a single volume in 1805, seems to have provided the models which Loschenkohl used, with only minor changes, for the figures in his card pack.
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Spades - Valet : A page from the coronation procession from Schiller`s trajedy "Die jungfrau von Orleans"
Dame : Iphigenie from Goethe`s "Iphigenie auf Tauris"
Roi : William Tell & Son Walter from Schiller`s "Willhelm Tell"
Hearts - Valet : Ruodi the fisherman from Schiller`s "Wilhelm Tell"
Dame : Mary Stuart from the last act of Schiller`s tragedy " Maria stuart"
Roi : Procopius, the Hussite General from Kotzebue`s drama "Die Hussiten vor Naumburg"
Clubs - Valet : Kuoni the heardsman from Schiller`s "Wilhelm Tell"
Dame : Athalia from Racine`s tragedy "Athalia"
Roi : Thoas, King of the Taurians from Goethe`s "Iphigenie auf Tauris"
Diamonds - Valet : Pedrillo from Holberg`s comedy "Don Ranudo de Colibrados"
Dame : Rodogune from Corneille`s tragedy "Rodogune"
Roi : Duke of Alba from Goethe`s tragedy "Egmont"
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Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:24 am  

AMBRASER HOFJAGDSPIEL Piatnik Edition No. 2896
The Ambras Court Hunting Deck, attributed to the workshop of Konrad Witz c.1440-1445

The Ambras Court Hunting Cards originally consisted of fifty-six cards in four suits: Heron (reiher), Falcon (Falken), Hounds (Hunde) and Lure (Luder/Federspiel). The number cards go from one (Ace) to nine, with the Banner as ten. Banner cards were used throughout Southern Germany (mainly in areas adjacent to the Alps) in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and are still in use today in Switzerland. The court cards are made up of Konig (King), Konigin (Queen), Ober (ranking between Queen and Knave), and Unter (Knave). All of these figures are mounted on horseback. Each suit thus comprises fourteen cards. Only two cards are lost, the Eight of Falcons and the Two of Hounds, so that fifty-four of the original fifty-six cards are extant.
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The cards are executed in water colours and paints over black ink drawings on paper. There are visible traces of charcoal sketching, particularly in the animals. Several layers of paper have been glued together to lend the cards the requisite thickness. As was customary with printed cards in Italy, the back layer of paper has been cut slightly larger and then folded forwards to form a border on the front. In several cases this border obscures sections of the illustration. This mainly affects depictions of animals, in some cases the depiction has been completed again on the gold border (King of Hounds, Knave of Hounds, Queen of Herons, King of Lures).The border and the background of the Kings and Queens are in brushed gold (real gold bronze or painter`s gold).
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The cards are unfinished : in some cases the painting is incomplete and the very detailed sketching has been left to stand. In the case of the court cards, this is true of all the faces and hands, of parts of the clothing and of two of the horses. In the case of the number cards, only the suit of Lures is finished. The Falcons, Herons and Hounds have been left as ink drawings. On the other, the background to the suit symbols has been painted.
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The reverse of the cards is painted red throughout, although here again the artist did not complete the task. In the case of six cards the reverse has not been painted at all; curiously enough, all six cards concerned are court cards: Queen of Herons, King of Lures, Knave of Lures, King of Falcons, Queen of Falcons and King of Hounds. It would appear that red reverses were not uncommon at the time; they are features of both the "Stuttgart Cards" and "Visconti Sforza Tarot Cards".
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Three of the cards have a watermark (Knave of Falcons, Six of Falcons and Five of Hounds): a crown, an ox head,and a circle with two deep lateral indentations. It is unfortunately not possible to identify this watermark. The dimensions of the cards are around 157 mm x 95 mm. The Ambras cards are thus the second largest set made North of the Alps. The Stuttgart card set is substantially larger (190mm x 120mm). Of the German copper engraved cards, the closest in size to the Ambrs set is the larger card set by Maste E.S (142mm x 92mm). The painted North Italian tarocchi (178 to 186mm x 90 to 93mm) and the engraved Mantegna Tarocchi (180mm x100mm) are slightly larger than the Ambras set. Painted cards tend to be the largest, followed by engraved cards, while the smallest are popular cards.
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:54 am  

Amongst the card sets produced North of the Alps, the Ambras Court Hunting Cards are unique in their hierarchy, with their four suits consisting of four court cards and ten number cards,totalling fifty-six cards. This hierarchy is, however, similar to that found in the Italian tarocchi, which likewise consists of fifty-six cards (not counting the twenty-two trumps). Three such tarocchi have survived, all three originated in or around Milan in about 1445 and were painted by Bonifacio Bembo for thr family of the Dukes of Visconti Sforza.
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Four court cards are not a common feature of playing cards made North of the Alps, but they do occur on the Upper Rhine (Where the Ambras set originated), in two card sets by Upper Rhenish engraver Master E.S (the smallest card set dating from around 1460 and the larger set dating from 1463). Most card sets had only three court cards (without the Queen). The number cards in the Ambras set are arranged in the same way as in the Stuttgart cards: One to nine and Banner (Ten).
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There are two cogent reasons for assuming that the Ambras Court Hunting Cards were made for an aristocratic clientle, First, it is a valuable, hand-painted card set produced by the workshop of Konrad Witz, a prominent Basle artist. Second, the underlying idea of the illustrations, the hunt, alludes to a way of life which was the prerogative of the nobility. The Ambras cards can hardly have been used for playing with, the cards show no sign of wear (as do the Stuttgart cards, for instance), and they are unfinished. The fact that the artist did not complete his task does not appear to have diminished their value: the card set was evidently looked after with great care and has thus come down to us.
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We know that from the late sixtenth century onwards the Ambras cards were kept in the Art and Curiosities collection of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Count of Tyrol, the great-grandson of Emperor Maximillian I. The inventory of his estate at Ambras Palace near Innsbruck contains an entry dated May 30th, 1596 (Page 465), which refers to "a wooden box painted grey containing a cards set of hounds, lures, cranes, hawks and men seated on horseback". The "Wooden box" is not extant. In the Archdukes collection, the card set was found in one of the i=eighteen large cabinets containing mechanical devices, clocks, silverware and small objects of value - more precisely, in the "Variokasten", whose contents include small items like playing cards.
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Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby dazzleguts » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:56 pm  

Great entries Jase!

The BOTANISCHES court figures really remind me of the courts in the German Almanach decks of the same time period.

The Ambras deck is such a beautiful work. :drool:
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:04 am  

Arnold Schoenberg Playing Cards, Piatnik Edition No.2852 dated 1981
Box size is 230mm x 160mm and card size is 106mm x 56mm.
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Arnold Schoenberg, the originator of twelve-tone music, was not only a composer: his artistic genius found a large number of outlets. Around the year 1910, for instance, he devoted a great deal of time to painting, and some 250 oil paintings, water-colours and drawings have come down to us - most of them today are in the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles.
The rich legacy which the Arnold Schoenberg Institute houses includes designs for playing cards in Schoenbergs own hand. These have never before been published and are now for the first time being made generally available.
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As it is presented here, the set constitutes a 52 card whist pack with Schoenberg`s signature. The present colour reproduction in modern offset printing technique does justice to the attracctiveness of the original designs. No reverse was made for these cards,or if there was it is no longer extant. But, at the suggestion of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, a coloured ornamental design which Schoenberg painted in one of his diaries has been selected for the purpose.
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The overall effect is that of an intriguing set of playing cards unmistakably betraying the influence of Jugendstil. This is hardly surprising: Schoenberg was, after all, a contemporary of Klimt, Schiele, Hoffmann and Moser. Here, in all probability, lies the clue to dating the cards. If most of Schoenbergs painting goes back to the years around 1910, this would explain the Jugendstil influence on his cards. It was in 1906 that Ditha Moser, wife of Kolo moser, had designed a jugendstil set of tarot cards followed by a pack of Whist cards in the same style.

Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby NineLives » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:39 pm  

I stumbled on this thread while browsing (am still finding my way around this place ;)) - Truly enjoyed seeing so many old European decks, many with beautiful, intricate artwork! I have a few decks that have travelled with me from time spent in Scandinavia, while they are less collectable than many shared here, I still cherish them :)
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:19 am  

Bjorn Winblad ,Produced by Piatnik (No.2436) from 1974 onwards.
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Bjorn Winblad (1918-2006),A danish artist who was best known for his ceramic works for the Rosenthal and Nymolle porcelain Company.
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My pack has Danish Indices (Es,B,D,K), There is also a version with English Indices (A,J,Q,K) The cards can be seen here at the World of Playing Cards site http://www.wopc.co.uk/denmark/bjorn-wiinblad
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Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby dazzleguts » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:52 am  

Cool Jase!
Those look rather cubist influenced. Is the signature printed on all the packs or is that an actual autograph?
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:09 am  

dazzleguts wrote:Is the signature printed on all the packs or is that an actually autograph


Hi Dazzelguts...i wish it were real :D ..but unfortunately the signature on the jokers and box are part of the design.
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:34 am  

FLAMISCHES JAGDKARTENSPIEL , Piatnik Edition (1994)
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The Cloister playing cards constitutes the only known complete pack of fifteenth-century hand-painted playing cards. Attributed on the basis of style to the Burgundian territories in the lowlands and dated to about 1475 to 1480, the set comprises of fifty-two cards in all, with a king, queen ,knave and numeral cards from one through ten in each of the four suits. The suit designations, unknown in any other early playing cards, all pertain to hunting equipment: dog collars, tethers for the hounds, nooses for birds or small game and hunting horns to sound the signal of the hunt. The collars and horns are coloured red and the tethers and nooses blue, but their ranking in unknown. The values of the numeral cards are indicated not by numbers but by the repetition of the suit sign.The suit of the court cards is denoted by the appropriate symbol, which each figure wears, carries or has emblazoned on his or her costume.
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The Cloisters cards are constructed from four sheets of laid paper glued together to form a stiff pasteboard, the outline of each card was then traced onto the board probably with the aid of a template. The unpainted cards were then cut out with shears, as evidenced by the downward-pressed edges on the face side of each card and by the slight tangential cuts at the ovoid ends. Each blank was then overlaid with a slightly smaller template or a cutout and scored, seemingly with a metal stylus, resulting in an impressed line that extends neatly around each card about one-eighth of an inch from the edge.This order of fabrication is proven by the presence of a perfectly centered scored line in both the back and the front of the 8 of horns: it is virtually impossible that these lines could have been traced in perfect register before the card was cut out. A careful study of these score lines also reveal that two different templates were employed: one was used for all the cards in the horn, tether and noose suits (except the 1 of horns & 5 of tethers where the template seems to have slipped during tracing).A slightly longer and wider template was used for the suit of collars, the use of different templates suggests that two or more craftsmen worked simultaneously on the cards.
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Stencils were employed to provide uniformity in reproducing the suit signs, as evidenced, particularly in the horns and the collars. The many instances of the suit signs extending through the border lines, especially in the higher values, indicate that one stencil was used for each numeral card. If the suit symbols were drawn in by hand or reproduced by the multiple use of a single cutout of each suit sign, then these flaws would readily have been avoided. this means that forty different stencils were required to produce this pack of cards, an effort a workshop would have made only if the pack was intended to be produced in multiples, Therefore it is very unlikely that the cloisters cards were a unique commission. The court cards were produced entirely freehand, the outlines of the figures were sketched in with both score marks and charcoal underdrawings, some traces of which can still be detected. The figures were then filled in with pen and ink and coloured with typically medieval pigments bound in organic glue,glair or gum arabic. Glazes were used extensively to finish the figures, and gold and silver leaf applied over an organic adhesive also were employed liberally throughout.
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The border lines were clearly the final elements to be painted in, as they are interrupted wherever the principal design extends. Advantage was taken of the slight depression left by the stylus to facilitate the painting of the outer border line, which is red except in the numeral cards of the horns and the collars where it is blue (for no apparant reason, however, this pattern is reversed on the 10 of horns, where the outer border is red and the inner is blue). As a result, the outer line is always much more precise and even than the inner line, which was painted freehand. All known fifteenth-century hand-painted packs of cards have painted backs save for the cloisters cards, which are plain paper on the reverse.
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:28 am  

The earliest documentary reference to card makers in the lowlands records that two carteurs, Michel Noel and Philippe de Bos, both of Tournai, were admitted, in 1427, as masters in the painters guild. The registers indicate that apprentices known as Burnteurs or Licheurs en couleurs (mixers of colours)also were associated with the guilds. Masters, however, were prohibited from engaging these apprentices unless the apprentices had previously paid the proscribed fee to the guild corporation. The relatively large numbers of masters and apprentices recorded in these guild registers in the later fifteenth-century demonstrates that card making must have developed into a sizable local industry. The records also reveal that a considerable number of women were engaged in card making.
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A 1840 document sets forth numerous technical regulations governing the card makers of the Tournai guild. Of particular interest are the materials and techniques cited, which correspond very closely to those used for the cloisters playing cards.
"Item, in the same manner everone who resides within the town jurisdiction and who wants to make cards must first have been permitted to do so by the painters guild paying 40 sols tournois plus 10 sols tournois....these card makers will have to execute their cards in the usual manner, namely, stamped or stenciled on bleached and browned paper pasteboard and pinted with distemper of such colours as scarlt...vert de gris...white and ordinary black, but they are not permitted to use gold or silver nor azure or other fine colours, or they will be fined 10 sols tournois each time they use gold,silver or other fine colours. Thes card makers cannot be helped by assistants to stamp their paper or mix their colours unless the assistants pay 10 sols tournois to the painters guild "
According to these regulations, the card makers who produced the cloisters pack must have had to pay the luxury fees for the abundant use of gold, silver and azure.The techniques employed in the manufacture of the cloister cards suggest that they were the product of a workshop in which there was a division of labor and whose operations were governed by regulations very similar to those outlined in the Tournai document.
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While the numeral card were produced largely by mechanical means, the court cards are by a single hand. This artist worked in a sketchy but engaging style, and relied more on body colour and glazes rather than on descriptive modeling to bring volumetric presence to the figures. All of these figures stand in three-quarter profile with -in the case of the men at least- the left foot leading and often stepping on or out of the double-line border. Each of the kings and queens holds an object in one hand (generally the right) and raises the other, their fingers together and unflexed and the thumb pointing outward in a rather conspicuous gesture for an artist who does not excel at hands. Three of the knaves hold a weapon in one hand: the fouth knave, a jester, holds a jesters staff. The jester hooks the thumb of his other hand under his belt, one knave tips his cap, another holds a hunting horn to his lips, and the last drolly grasps the inner line of the border.
As the representation of court figures was not yet bound by convention, the uniformity of the poses and gestures suggest that the painter relied on a limited number of models and seemingly found a restricted range of stances suited to the format of the cards.
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The figures are all given full, rounded faces with nubby chins, small tight lips, arched brows and eyes consisting of a circle often centered on a dot for the pupil and set within abbreviated curved lines. The scant modeling is indicated with a few rather short parallel strokes and the volumes of the otherwise linear forms are defined by varying the density of the flesh tones. While not endowed with a large measure of expressiveness, these court figures do seem to project a certain quizzicalness through their superficial splendor. Indeed, the summary drawing and minimal modeling of the facial features add an air of bemused posturing to these wry characters. The visual effect nonetheless, is achieved more through the charming naivete than the accomplishment of the painter`s draftmanship.
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All information provided from the 96 page booklet included in the boxset.
Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:58 am  

THE COPPERPLATE PACK OF CARDS BY VIRGIL SOLIS c.1544

The copperplate pack by Virgil Solis is one of the most valuable packs, artistically, of the 16th century in Germany. It is one of the relatively few examples where the engraver does not remain anonymous, where, in fact, we are really well informed about his life and works. This pack by no means plays a secondary role among the very extensive collected works. Rather, Virgil Solis dealt with the individual motifs of the pack very thoroughly and earnestly, the emphasized unity of conception speaks in favour of this. And also the fact that not the cheaper, and for utility articles usual wood-cut was used, as in the case of Jost Amman and Peter Flotner, but the more expensive and elegant copperplate.
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The liberty which the copperplate engravers and drawers of the 15th century had taken in selecting the suits has been retained by Virgil Solis by engraving Lion, Monkey, Parrot and Peacock on his pack. The Parrots sit on roses among their stems, the suit, Hearts, accordingly "red", the Peacocks are surrounded by vine shoots on which grapes hang, the suit, Spades, suitably "green": the Lions sit among scrollwork, their suit, Clubs and the Monkeys perform gymnastics an highly ingenious ornaments and on the two the time honoured letters SPQR are even inscribed. Kings and Queens are mounted, the Knave, a mercenary, is of course afoot. The animal of the corresponding suit keeps the riders and pedestrians company.
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Because of its magnificent colouring and beauty the parrot was counted as the animal escort of the god of love in Indian and Persian mythology. In christian symbolism this meaning is turned round into an emblem of the immaculate conception, although the original meaning obviously did not fall into oblivion. The sybolic meaning may be of no importance for the playing cards but the artistic presentation is.
The Parrot already occurs in 1463 in the pack of cards by Master E.S s a suit, as an animal among other animals, though, In contrast Mster PW discovers the parrot to be a motif of variety, full of charm and flexibility, yet included in an ornamental composition. Virgil Solis certainly knew this pack. His parrot three still appears to be based on the round format of the cards by Master PW. On the other cards Virgil Solis does preserve a certain symmetry but is very loose in that he shows the Parrots in varying movements and contortions.
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The elegant Peacock stimulated to no lesser degree than the Parrot the phantasy of the story-teller. According to ancient saga Hera put the hundred eyes of the guard, Argus, Killed by Mercury onto the tail feathers of the Peacock. In early christian art the Peacock was a symbol of immortality and was represented in conjunction with vine stems- as shown here-. The Peacock first became a symbol of vanity in the late gothic and renaissance period.
Virgil Solis was also able to find models in the graphic arts from Master E.S and Albrecht Durer. Depending on the space on the card the peacock spreads its plumage into a magnificent fan or leaves it folded, whereby Virgil Solis does not shrink from overlapping the edge of the picture. The stems sprouting symmetrically from a root stock or antique vases adapt themselves to the flowing lines of the birds bodies.
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:37 am  

The Lion has been a symbol for power and strenght since the ancient orient. It has remained so up to the present day in art and literature. We meet him as gate-keeper, Heraldic animal, Fabulous creature throughout the centuries. He was the constant companion of Mark the Evangelist and St. Hieronymus until in the 16th century he became of interest to artists and simply an object of study, without any background.
Virgil Solis, therefore, did not have to search far in this case either. They were to be found in Master E.S., not only as secondary figures in holy scenes, but also among his playing cards. Several studies of lions obviously drawn from the living object by Durer are preserved. The Lions of Virgil Solis have nothing commanding respect or power, they are rather friendly and playful. In individual cases they still have heraldic symmetry and their intergration into the scrollwork is a proof of skill in design and experience in ornamental engraving.
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Of all the suits in this pack, however, it was the Monkeys which captured the greatest attention and were copied the most. Pleasure in the grotesque can really be unfolded in this theme. The Monkey which is the closest of all animals to mankind in historical development and whose imitative instinct is proverbial was used by fabulists and satirists constantly as a distorting mirror of man. In mediaeval art the monkey on capitals, gargoyles and misericords embodied evil, the devilish, now and then, however, it also appears here as a parody, for example, on the clergy.
Virgil Solis varied the motif towards the stylistic and the humourous but he did not discover it. Durer appears to have been a stimulus, Especially the monkey which bends down from the tree in the marginal drawings for Emperor Maximilian`s prayer book is repeated on the Monkey five at the top. Durers pen and ink drawing "Monkey Dance" might not be without influence also.
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The form of the King, Queen and Knave is similar in all suits. The Kings and Queens each in the saddle, the horse, seen approaching in profile, trotting or about to jump. The Mercenaries (afoot) carry various cutting and thrusting weapons and fire-arms. In each case the figure controls and fills the picture in front of a low-lying horizon. As a motif this is nothing new, artistically the cards are of uniform type. The predilection for opposite directions and diagonals is striking and especially stressed by the long weapons and sceptres. The pictures become diversified in details as a result of the fashionable finesse which includes even the horses.
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A piece of contemporary history is reflected cultural-historically in these playing cards.The re-feudalization which finds visual expression in the dress fashions is also expressed in the endeavour to achieve a beauty of line in the ornamental sense, which ia a reminder of the gothic. Whoever has an eye for the curvatures and refractions, for the flowing curves and arcs, in short for that which constitutes the appeal of graphic structures, will look at the cards of this pack with delight and pleasure. Moreover, the vividness of a new feeling for life and appreciation of the world makes itself felt and it is this which causes the greatest sensation and haas been imitated the moest.
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Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Sparkz » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:00 pm  

All I know is my "Look into" list of European decks keeps growing, there are some absolutely beautiful decks out there.
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Re: Europe

Unread postby Jock1971 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:59 am  

Two versions (52 & 32 cards) of a deck printed by GRAFIKA TEKNAI ASPIOTI ELKA of Greece from 1960 onwards.

Elleinikon Monopolion Paienioxarton Klasis A Koina (52 cards + 2 Jokers)
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Elleinikon Monopolion Paienioxarton Klasis B Koina (32 cards ,No Jokers)
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Ancient greek style court cards which depict ancient heroes of greece on french suited cards.Greek indices of B=King,K=Queen and 0=Jack with crowns above the Kings suit sign.
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Thanks for looking at my cards :D -jase-
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