After two weeks with the Mucha Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2015) I must admit to still not being in love with it. While the idea is lovely – to honour Alphons Mucha, a prominent Art Nouveau artist – the execution leaves something to be desired. The ethos of the Art Nouveau was to make beautiful things, and the style tends to be dreamy and a little distant, to suggest mystery. However, to my eyes at least, many of these images aren’t all that beautiful. There is something lacking in the facial expressions, and many of the male figures seem a little lumpy.
The packaging, on the other hand, fits the Art Nouveau ethos to a T. The deck comes in a lovely, lift-top sturdy cardboard box. And the LWB is in full colour, though it still has multiple languages, so it’s not as detailed as it might look at first glance. It also includes three original spreads, based on Art Nouveau ideas around seasons and the theatre. The only downside to these is that they are all four cards…
As for the card stock, as Steve of Tiferet Tarot pointed out in his review, it is thicker than the previous Lo Scarabeo standard. This makes it a little tricky to shuffle, being just a bit too big a stack for me to hold comfortably. Still, nowhere near as thick as a Schiffer deck! I took these photos to show the difference in the height of the stack. On the left is an old LS deck, in the middle is another 2015 release, the Romantic Tarot, and on the right is the Mucha Tarot. When I wrote about the Romantic Tarot, Steve asked whether the card stock was thicker than in previous decks and I said it was. I now realise that may have been because I was comparing it to a favourite and much-shuffled LS deck, as there is no obvious difference between the old deck and the Romantic.
Turning to the cards, Strength certainly has that pretty, dreamy feel, and I love the colour palette of the deck overall. The lion looks like he is almost purring! And the girl’s plaits emphasise her youth and innocence.
As for the Queen of Wands, though, here is one of those faces that seems a little rough and unformed. The volcano in the background is quite a nice touch, as are the flowers around her. Her sumptuous robes are also very evocative. It’s a shame that the Queen herself disappoints.
Looking at the Aces, lacking a human figure is actually a benefit. It allows the delicate artwork to come to the fore. We see here a very traditional Ace of Cups, with a rather lovely dove descending to the huge cup. There is a real feeling of movement here, both from the dove and in the water flowing out of the cup. These emotional waters are definitely far from stagnant!
The Three of Wands, on the other hand, shows one of these slightly lumpy male figures. At least, with his back turned to us, there is no issue with the face. The image seems a little darker than might be expected, and it’s interesting how calm the waters he looks over are. Perhaps this suggests sunset, he has been waiting a while for these ships to come in, not helped by the lack of a breeze to move things forward…
Altogether, this is a very traditional and quite readable deck. However, despite the lovely colour palette it is not one I shall be drawing on often.