Three-Card Spread: Reimagining Marie de France's Bisclavret through Tarot Cards



Three-Card Spread: Reimagining Marie de France's Bisclavret through Tarot Cards


For the final project, I created artistic interpretations of one of Marie de France's Lais entitled Bisclavret, with the plot reimagined through tarot cards. The earliest references made to the usage of tarot cards date all the way back around to the 14th-15th century, just at the culmination of the Medieval Era. The project features three small paintings to present the story through a past/present/future reading. The cards I used for this project were The Ten of Swords, The Tower, and the Empress. The Ten of Swords features Bisclavret stabbed whilst in the midst of transforming to his werewolf form. It represents the catalyst for the conflict of the Lais, touching on themes of betrayal, loyalty, and the hope for new beginnings. The Tower features Bisclavret's wife and her lover falling off a high structure and descending toward the chapel in which they hid Bisclavret's clothes. It tells the consequences of the betrayal and how it resulted in a foundational disruption for the two characters. Finally, we have The Empress card. This card places a particular focus on Bisclavret's wife and interprets the genetic curse that falls down the women of her lineage through a feminist lens. It is heavily inspired by portraits and artistic renditions of Chaucer's The Wife of Bath, painted without a nose to emulate the curse. These three particular cards were chosen as they aligned with the themes featured in the narrative. To supplement and further expand on the paintings is a clicking game, allowing the player to wade through a small adventure leading to a virtual tarot reading that reveals the tale of Bisclavret. The game explains the themes of the paintings in further detail, with its ending heavily dependent on the player's choices to the prompts.


Faith Andrea N. Rigor