South Netherlandish / Set of Fifty-Two Playing Cards / ca. 1470-1480South Netherlandish
Set of Fifty-Two Playing Cards
ca. 1470-1480

View Larger Image

View Full Catalog Record Below

This image is one of over 108,000 from the AMICA Library (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library- The AMICO Library™), a growing online collection of high-quality, digital art images from over 20 museums around the world. offers subscriptions to this collection, the finest art image database available on the internet. EVERY image has full curatorial text and can be studied in depth by zooming into the smallest details from within the Image Workspace.
Preview the AMICA Library™ Public Collection in Luna Browser Now

  • Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.
  • Types of works include paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, costumes, jewelry, furniture, prints, photographs, textiles, decorative art, books and manuscripts.

Gain access to this incredible resource through either a monthly or a yearly subscription and search the entire collection from your desktop, compare multiple images side by side and zoom into the minute details of the images. Visit for more information on the collection, click on the link below the revolving thumbnail to the right, or email us at .

Creator Nationality: European; Netherlandish
Creator Name-CRT: South Netherlandish
Title: Set of Fifty-Two Playing Cards
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1470
Creation End Date: 1480
Creation Date: ca. 1470-1480
Object Type: Books
Classification Term: Manuscripts & Illuminations
Materials and Techniques: Pasteboard with pen and ink, tempera, applied gold and silver
Dimensions: Each 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 in. (12 x 7 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1983.515.1-52
Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1983

The Cloisters set of fifty-two cards constitutes the only known complete deck of illuminated ordinary playing cards (as opposed to tarot cards) from the fifteenth century. There are four suits, each consisting of a king, a queen, a knave, and ten pip cards. The suit symbols, based on equipment associated with the hunt, are hunting horns, dog collars, hound tethers, and game nooses. The value of the pip cards is indicated by appropriate repetitions of the suit symbol. The figures, which appear to be based on Franco-Flemish models, were drawn with a bold, free, and engaging, if somewhat unrefined, hand. Their exaggerated and sometimes anachronistic costumes suggest a lampoon of extravagant Burgundian court fashions. Although some period card games are named, it is not known how they were played. Almost all card games did, however, involve some form of gambling. The condition of the set indicates that the cards were hardly used, if at all. It is possible that they were conceived as a collector's curiosity rather than as a deck for play.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1983.515.1-52
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

AMICA PUBLIC RIGHTS: a) Access to the materials is granted for personal and non-commercial use. b) A full educational license for non-commercial use is available from Cartography Associates at c) Licensed users may continue their examination of additional materials provided by Cartography Associates, and d) commercial rights are available from the rights holder.

Home | Subscribe | Preview | Benefits | About | Help | Contact
Copyright © 2007 Cartography Associates.
All rights reserved.