The Artist Osvaldo Menegazzi Revisited in 2004

* Special Notice * For all you collectors out there - due to popular demand Tarot artist, Osvaldo Menegazzi's daughter, Cristina has agreed to act as contact for those wanting to order Tarot works directly from Osvaldo. So Michael and I have created a website showcasing Osvaldo's wonderful art and published decks.

If you happen to have read my last homage to Tarot in Milan where I focus mainly on the magnificent Visconti castle of renown Tarot history and the great Tarot artist and publisher Osvaldo Menegazzi, I have some interesting news to report worthy of another look. In the first article much more of Osvaldo's exceptional art is showcased, but here you'll see a glimpse of a new line of handcrafted shadow boxes, and Tarot containers, as well as a step-by-step look at his Tarot box constructing methods. But first, a bit of background material on this unique artist.

Osvaldo Menegazzi
I was surprised to learn that Osvaldo has had no formal art training. A teenager during WWII, he had not the opportunity to attend university. It’s quite remarkable and even encouraging to learn his great skill and vast knowledge of art history is self-taught. Not surprisingly Osvaldo has been doing art since he was a young boy with a flair and gusto that has never ceased. His father was an Olympic athlete and local hero. It is evident in spending even a few days with Osvaldo, and watching him interact with his neighbors, local shopkeepers and restaurateurs that his is a close-knit community where he is appreciated and that he in return gives thanks; hiring neighboring craftsman, and donating his art and antiques to local restaurants such as The Cave. The food, there by the way is as wonderful as you might imagine, and the downstairs dining rooms showcase Osvaldo’s artwork with great pride for this living treasure.

Like old friends, Michael and I were greeted with warm hugs and affection – such is the natural charm of this passionate artist. This visit we presented Osvaldo with a handcrafted replica of his Tarot shop. He seemed delighted and was most generous with his time and gifts. (This miniature Tarot shop can be seen from the window amongst Osvaldo’s colorful artworks.) Anticipating our visit Osvaldo invited his daughter Cristina to translate.
What’s New at the Tarocchi Shop
Since our last visit in 2001, Osvaldo has been creating a fresh line of Tarot containers, handmade in an antique style, each with, (in most cases one but sometimes more) classic Tarot archetypes, attached in a 3 dimensional manner. These boxes are hand constructed from thick cardboard layers, which are then collaged. Tarot imagery is also attached to cardboard separately before being collaged onto the piece for added effect. They are all gorgeous and it was difficult to choose which would go home with me. They come in different sizes and can be purchased either with a matching Special Edition Visconti deck or solo (to house one of your own lucky decks perhaps?) Prices are reasonable considering the uniqueness of the presentation and the time that goes into making them. I include a pictorial demonstration of Osvaldo assembling one such box while we looked on.

Another new series is Osvaldo’s Visconti shadow boxes, which present many of the familiar archetypes, collaged onto wooden shapes, intuitively placed in aesthetic, 3D styles. Many are available and all are unique and lovely and would be a treasure for any Tarot collector. I’m not sure of the cost since Osvaldo gave me the pick of the shop to choose from and I was too bashful to ask after such generosity, but I imagine they are again reasonable considering the work put into them. Osvaldo also gave us a sneak peak at a new deck of his that focuses on wives and relations of that bizarre King, Henry the VIII. And of course all the wonderful decks you associate with his publication, many numbered editions with his signature wax seal and unique packaging.

A visual candy store for any Tarot enthusiast, I can’t recommend enough this stop on any tour you might make to Northern Italy. And while you’re here you might have a lovely lunch or dinner at 'La Cave' around the corner. Or perhaps, ' Il Rifugio del Ghiottone' near central station. Both are excellent and have a warm ambience.

Note The Tarot art shop of Osvaldo Menegazzi is called Il Meneghello Tarocchi (click here to see a small map) It can be found at Via Fara 15, Milan Italy, 20124. Phone (02)6703185 Fax number (02) 66987568.

The ' Visconti' Castle, (of great Tarot historical importance), known in Italy as 'Castello Sforzesco' is just a couple miles South/West of Osvaldo's shop (we took the Green Tram # 4 went from Central Station to the castle. Or it's a nice leisurely stroll.) Address: Piazza Castello, 3 I - 20121 Milan
Phone +39 02 - 801410 Tickets for buses & trams can be purchased at many newspaper kiosks, tobacco shop/bars and the tourist info stand at the station as well as hotels. It's easy and inexpensive to get around a big, friendly city like Milan). You can find (bus, tram or underground railway) maps that show the local city routes usually at the info booth (at the train station info counter) or at the hotel.

Oh and one other favorite place to visit in Milan, not far from there is an incredibly impressive cemetery - 'Cimitero Monumentale' at the: Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale,
20154, Milano
Entrance is free to the public. The Cimitero Monumentale is a gigantic cemetery located on the square - Piazzale del Cimitero Monumentale. Near the heart of Milan, the cemetery was opened in 1866 and since then has been filled with a wide range of classical and contemporary Italian sculptures as well as Greek temples, elaborate obelisks, and other unique works. The main entrance is through a massive Neo-Medieval style building of marble and stone. In the Palanti Chapel is a monument commemorating the 800 Milanese citizens who were executed in Nazi concentration camps. This cemetery is simply breathtaking!

Arnell Ando is the artist and author of Hero's Journey (1994), Lucky Pack Tarot (2006) and Transformational Tarot (self-published in 1996 and published by US. Games in 2006). She also illustrated the Storyteller Tarot written by Diane Wilkes. She is a Certified Tarot Grand Master who has given workshops all over the country on creating your own tarot. She has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology and is a certified Expressive Arts Therapist.