Leonardo Silver Edition

19.95 usd

Deck of cards by Art of Playing Cards Company ($19.95)

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Leonardo Silver Edition - magic

Please note the handwork on each suit and value - every card is unique, a real labor of love.To compliment the quality of the artwork, the Leonardo deck is printed by Legends Playing Card Company

Jack of Spades
Known to players and collectors alike as the One-Eyed Jack, this card is based on The Bust of a Warrior in Profile, in The British Museum, a work expertly done in silverpoint, a favorite medium of Renaissance artists. The large crossbow machines, an unrealized invention, are from a separate drawing of Leonardo's, from his sketchbook The Atlantic Codex (ca. 1488). Compositing this card together, from the single head to the crossbow elements, and sharing it with my colleagues, initiated the idea of designing playing cards based on the works of Leonardo.

Queen of Clubs
Some vintage decks portray this Queen as The Flower Queen, and this drawing of an unknown woman's head from The Galleria degli Uffizi in Firenze combined with a selection of his original sketchbook renderings of nature truly bring the forests of his native Toscana to life. Note the lovely pen and ink sketch of a small Italian town on the river Arno, which is the first dated drawing (1473) we have from the master.

Ace of Spades
This anatomical study of a human skull from The Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, was a natural match for the Ace of Spades, known in the world of playing cards as The Death Card. One of Leonardo's Polyhedra was interpolated ominously into the center. He drew these geometrical illustrations for his friend Luca Pacioli's book The Divine Proportion. They are believed to be the first of their kind.

King of Hearts
This is The Suicide King, one of the most fascinating face cards. It features one of the warriors from The Battle of Anghiari, although the original is lost to us. Luckily, the Peter Paul Rubens copy (itself based on an engraving by Lorenzo Zacchia) provides a glimpse into the power of the Leonardo original. Careful manipulation of the sword arm yields the ferocity. Leonardo was unsurpassed in his ability to render movement within a composition.

Jack of Diamonds
The world of invention and the development of innovative mechanical devices occupied Leonardo for most of his life. This little known drawing of a young man's head has proved to be a perfect fit for the Jack of Diamonds. Two of his inventions are depicted on this card, and also an example of his lettering, done in his inimitable mirrored style.

Queen of Hearts
The original drawing is in charcoal, there is no painting extant based on this work. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist (ca. 1508) hangs in The National Gallery in London. Her beauty perfectly represents the Queen of Hearts, and she belonged amid a natural outdoor setting. The cats are from a delightful sketch of Leonardo's depicting many felines at play.

The Pips
The pips, are a fine example of Leonardo's secretive handwriting. Values and symbols on every card are scaled, distorted and distressed to respect both the tone and the weight of the overall design. One of the most interesting aspects of the project was the creation of the suits and the interpretation of them in relation to Leonardo's life and work.

Card Back
Many elements come seamlessly together to form the card back. They include one of Leonardo's most popular works The Vitruvian Man from the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venezia, who famously displays the ideal proportions of man. Other items depicted on the back include an equine head, blossoming flowers, and two deft examples of geometrical polyhedra. Leonardo was keenly interested in the hidden patterns of nature. He found great delight in rendering subtle details. Above, a spiral card fan reveals the intricate kaleidoscopic pattern formed by the highly detailed back.

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.

Four Aces
Here are the four Aces encompassing the four suits, and an interpretation of them in accordance with the philosophies of Leonardo, all in his own words. 

Spades The Invention of War
"Every divided kingdom falls."
Hearts The Art of Love
"To enjoy - to love a thing for its own sake and for no other reason."
Clubs The Beauty of Nature
"Nature never breaks her own laws."
Diamonds The Power of Wealth
"He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year."

Printed by: Legends Playing Card Company
Box seal: Yes
Custom faces: Yes
Includes a blank facer: No
Includes a double-backer: No
Includes matching jokers: No

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Customer reviews for Leonardo Silver Edition

BGG Reviewer

SUMMARY: An amazing work of art, celebrating an amazing artist

The ground-breaking Leonardo deck of playing cards proved to be one of the most successful projects on Kickstarter at the time it was released for funding in 2015, with almost 1600 backers raising an enormous sum of more than $81,000, way above the original target. This deck is named in honour of Leonardo da Vinci, and captures various aspects of his artwork.

The tuck box of the standard Gold/Silver editions includes texture that simulates actual canvas. You can really feel this, and it fits beautifully with the overall theme! The art style of Leonardo's time period was further simulated by using matte hot-stamped foil topped with varnish, and egg whites. It also has interior printing, which is also in a silver foil style that looks very classy and eye-catching!

The card backs feature the Vitruvian Man, a classic Leonardo image that most people will be familiar with. Other elements also included on the card-backs are an equine head, blossoming flowers, and two examples of geometrical polyhedra - all of course artwork courtesy of Leonardo.

The overall design of the deck has given each suit an interpretation in line with Leonardo's philosophies, in Leonardo's own words:
Spades = The Invention of War: "Every divided kingdom falls."
Hearts = The Art of Love: "To enjoy - to love a thing for its own sake and for no other reason."
Clubs = The Beauty of Nature: "Nature never breaks her own laws."
Diamonds = The Power of Wealth: "He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year."
The red suits have a slightly different coloured background, which helps distinguish them visually from the black suits.

Each card has unique artwork, and the court cards in particular feature noteworthy artworks by Leonardo. For example the Queen of Hearts was taken from "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist" (ca. 1508), a piece which prsently hangs in The National Gallery in London. The Jack of Spades is based on "The Bust of a Warrior in Profile" which Leonardo did in silverpoint, a favorite medium of Renaissance artists. The Queen of Clubs is a composite of several images, including Leonardo's drawing of an unknown woman's head (The Galleria Degli Uffizi), combined with some of Leonardo's original sketchbook renderings of nature, including a lovely 1473 pen and ink sketch of a small Italian riverside town. The final result was subjected to a process called "age distressing", to give a vintage look.

There is also a very ornate and iconic Ace of Spades, which is derived from Leonardo's anatomical study of a human skull, the original which is presently in The Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. The number cards all include examples of Leonardo's secretive handwriting, which is unique to each card. This means that the background of every single number card is different; while they all have Leonardo's indecipherable script in the background, none is the same, and even the pips are individually unique. In other words, every single card in this deck has been totally created from scratch, from the numbers, to the pips, to the colours! Even the art from the court cards has been compiled from multiple artworks, carefully placed together and crafted into a single image for each card.

Who would undertake such an ambitious project, and who has the skills to make it a reality? The answer is Dent-de-Lion du Midi, who is the man behind this lovely deck. He explains his labour of love with the Illustrations and design as follows: "My interest in the art of Leonardo is lifelong. Realizing his work into modern playing card design has completely absorbed me this last year. Weaving elements of his paintings and drawings together and carefully integrating them has deepened my appreciation for Leonardo's sublime talent. I'm sure you can see in every detail my passionate dedication to my work. Please note the handwork on each suit and value - every card is unique, a real labor of love."

The original intent was to get the deck produced by USPCC, but the designer in the end opted to go with Legends Playing Card Company, and the outstanding results have justified this choice. This deck really is a work of art, and a quality printing from Legends has made this worthy creation a thing of beauty. Legends' Elite Finish paper-stock was chosen for this deck due to its more pronounced texture, which gives it a texture more like canvas.

The Leonardo deck will truly appeal to those who enjoy Renaissance style artwork, or those who are fans of Leonardo da Vinci. The designer has a life-long interest in the great artist, and has spent hours painstakingly weaving elements of his drawings and paintings together. The fact that it's jam-packed with Leonardo's artwork makes it a real gem. But Dent-de-Lion du Midi has done much more than just reproduce the artworks, but has stylishly combined numerous artworks into original composites - an artistic achievement in itself. Add in the vintage style design, and of course quality cards, and the outcome is a great and original deck of playing cards! This really is a stunning artistic deck all round, inside and out!

- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame