Scans from each card can be found at www.marytcusack.com/maryc/decks/html/Cards/Leonardo.html
Designed by Dent-de-Lion du Midi for Art Playing Cards, Switzerland.
Our first expression of Leonardo was presented here on Kickstarter three years ago, and became one of the most successful playing card projects of all time.
Today we are delighted to announce Leonardo MMXVIII - An impassioned re-imagining of a classic, yours to treasure in a set of Edition Gold and Edition Silver art playing cards!
Careful study of this card reveals the Rhombicuboctahedron at the centre. Leonardo drew this geometrical illustration for his friend Luca Pacioli's book The Divine Proportion. It is believed to be the first of it’s kind. The anatomical study of a human skull is from The Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. All together they conspire to form The Death Card, the Ace of Spades.
This empathetic view of a prisoner begging, set within the front left section of the drawing for The Adoration of the Magi, forms the basis for one of the two Jokers. The other is from a whimsical costume drawing for a masked ball, done for one of Leonardo's wealthy patrons.
A most royal couple indeed! The King of Spades, shown in Edition Gold, is sourced from four different works in graphite by Leonardo. The Queen, also rendered from a variety of folio work, is portrayed amid the timeless Tuscan landscape.
Leonardo's lifelong interest in anatomy was profound. He utilised these anatomical studies across the entire spectrum of his work. Our Ace of Hearts, with it's unborn child in the womb, conjures up a symbol of life, which stands in bold contrast to the Ace of Spades, the chilling icon of Death.
The Heart Queen is from The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist, at the National Gallery in London, a work of exceptional light and shadow. Notice the integration of the background imagery on the Jack, a blend of four different folio drawings, primarily from the Codex Atlanticus.
Leonardo was keenly interested in the hidden patterns of nature. He found great delight in rendering subtle details. The back of the cards feature the beloved L'Uomo Vitruviano, surrounded by numerous small drawings of the master.
Leonardo was unsurpassed in his ability to render movement within a composition. Depicted above in Edition Silver, this is The Suicide King, the King of Hearts. This dramatic and ferocious figure comes to us from The Battle of Anghiari, the original of which is lost.
The Leonardo cards are designed with great respect for Leonardo's work, and his constant, yet daunting, strive for perfection. The two tens shown above aptly illustrate this. Every card in Leonardo MMXVIII is unique, from the pips, to the famous Leonardo mirror script, to the background parchment, to the distressing of the ink.
This iconic work of Leonardo, The Bust of a Warrior in Profile, initiated our idea of designing art playing cards based on his Renaissance masterworks. Compositing this card, The One Eyed Jack, from the soldier’s head to the crossbow elements demonstrated that the concept, though dauntingly difficult, had great potential. Leonardo’s original silverpoint drawing can be found today in The British Museum.