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Costa d'Argento

The Tarot Garden


The Tarot Garden is an art park located in Garavicchio, near Pescia Fiorentina, a district town of Capalbio (GR) in Tuscany, conceived by the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, populated by statues inspired by the figures of the major arcana tarot.

History of the Park

Following the inspiration had during a visit to Parque Guell by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, was strengthened by the visit to the garden of Bomaderry, Niki de Saint Phalle begins construction of the Tarot Garden in 1979. Garden in identifying the magical and spiritual dream of his life, Niki de Saint Phalle has been dedicated to the construction of twenty-two towering figures in steel and concrete covered with glass, mirrors and colorful ceramics for more than seventeen years, accompanied not only by different skilled workers, by a team of famous names of contemporary art as Rico Weber, Sepp Imhof, Paul Wiedmer, van Dok Winsen, Pierre Marie and Isabelle Le Jeune, Alan Davie, Marino Karella and especially by her husband Jean Tinguely, who died in 1991 , which has created huge sculptures of metal structures and has some integrated with its mécaniques, assembly of mechanical harvesters in iron.

Work have also collaborated Ricardo Menon, friend and personal assistant Niki de Saint Phalle, who also died a few years ago, and Venera Finocchiaro, Roman pottery, the smaller sculptures in the Garden (Temperance, the Lovers, the World, the Hermit, the Oracle, the Hanged Man and Death), made ​​in Paris with the help of Mark Zitelli, were then made ​​of polyester from Robert, Gerard and Olivier Haligon.

The Swiss architect Mario Botta, in collaboration with the architect Roberto Aureli Grosseto, has designed the entrance pavilion - a thick wall with a single large circular opening in the center, designed as a threshold that clearly divides the garden from the everyday reality .

Completed until the summer of 1996, the creation of the Garden led, in addition to an enormous amount of equipment, costing about 10 billion lire entirely self-financed by the author.

In 1997 Niki de Saint Phalle has formed the foundation of The Tarot Garden whose purpose is to preserve and maintain the work carried out by the sculptor. On 15 May 1998, the Tarot Garden was opened to the public.

the critical

The sculptures inspired by the major arcana of the Tarot, so dense and esoteric symbolic meanings, are the latest step in an artistic journey started by Niki de Saint Phalle in the mid-sixties, after leaving the New Realism and mixed media assemblages for create so-called "Nanas", huge, sinuous female figures viable and livable, the first of which - the Hon was built in 1966 for the Museum of Stockholm and the most famous of which, the Tete, was completed in 1973 in the forest of Milly -la-Foret in France and declared a national monument by President Mitterrand.

In vibrant colors and lively, the "spasmodic dilatation and forms inspired by the masters of brightness of color, Matisse and Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee," the dense, explosive sculptures of the Tarot Garden, covered with a "habit of light transforms various custom shapes in a succession of fabulous parure neo-baroque "kidnap" the attention of the viewer and the senses ", which, far from along an amusement park, brings a kind of initiatory path that refers to precedents - Bomaderry, Ideal Palace of Ferdinand Cheval in the Drome, the Park Guell, Simon Rodia Towers in Los Angeles - but that is mainly characterized by the presence of a female breast and powerful, full of symbolic complexity and "non-random connections (...) with "Calvary" mental and physical "author.

Celebrated as a single work of its kind, the Tarot Garden was dedicated in the summer of 1997 an exhibition of seventeenth century gunpowder Guzman, the lagoon of Orbetello, held by Gianni Pettena and accompanied by a biographical film on the history of art by Peter Schamonti the sculptor. In summer 2006 the council organized the first exhibition of Capalbio Garden with exposure of about 60 works and construction documents from private collections held in the Castle Aldobrandeschi Collacchioni. Scientific curator of the exhibition was Robert Aureli, who worked for over a decade of Jean Tinguely and Niki for the definition of the Tarot Garden. Work is unanimously recognized the close alliance between art and architecture, because "the vast repertoire of the first uses figurative language, but the second has the dimension: human, living, tangible" and "will target plastic event a layout of the building, thus viable, livable. "Moreover, with the furnishings of his sculpture-house, the Empress-Sphinx, Niki de Saint Phalle has developed and produced another close relationship between art, architecture and design, while still present and obvious are the integration art and nature, tradition-contemporary, color-forms, matter and spirit, so do the Tarot Garden, a total work.


The Garden is located on the southern slope of the hill Garavicchio, in the Tuscan Maremma. The work, dilated on about 2 acres, is a veritable "city" in which the sculptures-houses are the landmarks of the colorful path from the street standing out in the wild natural landscape. At the foot of the hill Garavicchio, access to the Garden is literally barred from the long wall of the entrance pavilion created by Mario Botta, consisting of a double wall fence tuff with one large circular opening in the center, enclosed by a fence . Botta said that the same input in the design has sought to interpret the feeling of "separation" between the Garden and the outside world, Niki de Saint Phalle asked, then the wall is intended as a "threshold" to be crossed to enter in a "magical break" sharply divided from the reality of everyday life. In the project, the wall has become increasingly thick to be fitted inside, with the services required by an activity is transit, the two long parallel dividing walls are so separated by a space, paved with porphyry, its students or the sides of the circular, the gabbiotti metal and glass for the ticket office and small shop.


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