I received the Venetian Tarot from Eugene Vinitski, the artist behind this beautiful deck. It isn't often that I'm surprised by tarot. I've seen hundreds of decks, and it's been a while since i've been completely delighted by every facet of a new deck.
The cardstock is an absolute dream. Its gold embossed on the sides and the paper FEELS good in your hands. It's thicker, so it makes shuffling more deliberate, which I like.
The artwork is astoundingly beautiful. It's based on 16th-18th century Venetian dress and the characters are wearing Carnival masks. Based on the RWS deck, the deck aligns well with the meanings of the traditional tarot, with the detailing of the dress and position of the characters echoing the base meaning of the cards. It has an extra layer - almost like stage craft - presentation of the characters we know and love. The symbols of the suits are at the bottom of the card, tucked under a curtain.
I've found that this aspect forces you to look at the entirety of the card - not just seeing it and recognizing, "Oh, that's the Five of Cups". You look at the details and pull them into your ready.
In looking through the deck, I see only white faces beneath those masks. Considering the period they're taken from, this is not a surprise, but I am always hopeful.
This deck is truly a work of art, and it's a pleasure to read with. I'm going to stop talking about it and share as many pictures as I dare. I hope you love it as much as I.
Thanks, Eugene, for my new favorite deck.