July 18, 2007

The Tarot Garden

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:55 am by classicalmusic

The Tarot Garden in Tuscany, near the town of Capalbio, is a wondrous outdoor museum and a paradise for children.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden

The artist and sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle and her husband, the sculptor Jean Tingley, created the most wonderful outdoor museum in southern Tuscany.  It is a huge park with lovely old trees, pathways and stairways to go up and down the gentle hills, and it is filled with huge and wondrous figures all based on the Tarot cards.

The figures are monumental.  They are basically made of iron and stone but totally covered with multicolored shards of glass, ceramics, plastic, stone – anything and everything in tiny pieces.  These tiny pieces give a mosaic like coating to the wild looking figures completely astounding the spectator.

A Child’s Playground Paradise

Because of their huge size, most of the figures are hollow inside and their inside walls are also covered with the mosaic shards, creating huge colorful rooms with columns, pools, benches, furniture – all wonderful places for children to run around and play.  Some of them are labarynthine and some of the figures can be climbed up and down.  It is the best “jungle jim” I have ever seen.

Though Niki de Saint Phalle obviously believed in the mysticism associated with the Tarot Cards and wrote her philosophies alongside each figure, one doesn’t need to go into all that to enjoy the garden.  Some of the fascinating figures are:  The Wheel of Fortune, the Devil, Death, the World, Adam and Eve, and the central and largest of them all The Empress.  A trip through Tuscany should always include a visit to this marvel of imagination and endurance.

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