The World of Playing Cards Logo The World of Playing Cards Logo

Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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9 Articles
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History of Playing Cards - 8

Imagery on many early playing cards resembles the stock repertory of animals, plants, birds and flowers which recurs almost identically in the marginal drollery, miniature illustrations and trompe l'oeil of widely divergent manuscripts, and in sculpture. • Jan 01, 1970

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History of Playing Cards - 9

With the onset of the Renaissance in Italy, the new spirit of Humanism was spreading through Europe bringing a change of form and direction. The design of playing cards reflected these changes, in their style and thematic content. • Jan 01, 1970

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New Figures by A. I. Charlemagne, 1862

“Renaissance” playing card designs by A I Charlemagne, 1862. • Jan 09, 2020

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Oliver Mundy tarot

Original Tarot designs in Italian Renaissance style by Oliver Mundy • Apr 29, 2014

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Renaissance Playing Cards

Renaissance Playing Cards by Maxim Hurwicz, showing 54 different drawings spanning the years 1066 to 1400. • Jan 01, 1970

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Sola-Busca Tarocchi

The Sola-Busca Tarocchi, c.1491 • Feb 07, 2017

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Tarocchi di Mantegna, c.1465

The so-called Tarocchi di Mantegna (c.1465) reflect an ideological structure bringing to mind the soul's progress towards perfection. • Jun 05, 2017

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The Book of Trades by Jost Amman, 1588

The Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91). Suits are books, printers' pads, wine-pots and drinking cups. • Jan 01, 1970

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The Visconti-Sforza Tarot, c.1460

This pack of tarot cards appears to have have been made in the Bembo workshop in Cremona for Bianca Maria Visconti, c.1460 • Jan 01, 1970