It was nearly two and a half years ago that I caught sight of an intruguing illustration posted by Signor Mori at his weblog, Cipango. I mentioned in a comment there that I hadn’t previously heard of its author, Domenico Gnoli, to which Sig. Mori replied that ‘Gnoli was actually a precocious genius, and precociously died. His works, quite strangely, are almost completely absent on the Internet. Maybe you should buy a book about him (I bought many!) and scan a few pictures on your site…”
It took me a while, but I eventually got around to ordering a copy of L’opera grafica di Domenico Gnoli, which was published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore in 1985. The present images are a half-dozen details of a set of drawings dating from 1968, and collectively entitled Bestiario Moderno, or, Cos’è un mostro, ‘What is a monster?’ Click on the details to see the pictures in full. These particular designs had first been printed in the 1983 volume about Gnoli published by FMR.
Gnoli was born in Rome in 1933. He studied in that city’s Accademia delle Belle Arti and also studied with the graphic artist Carlo Alberto Petrucci. His first exhibition, again in Rome, was in 1950. Gnoli first achieved renown as a theatre designer—the scenery and costumes he designed for a production of the Merchant of Venice in Zürich in 1953 led to a commission to do the same for an As You Like It in London, which was eventually staged in 1955. From 1956, however, Gnoli chose to devote his efforts to painting and illustration.
Numerous exhibitions and commissions followed, and Gnoli travelled a great deal, variously living in Paris, New York and London. In 1962, a fairy-tale he had written and illustrated was published—in English—as ‘Orestes, or, the Art of Smiling.’ By 1968, his work was in great demand in the US, with commissions that year from, among others, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. He died in New York in 1970.Posted by misteraitch at May 13, 2006 09:42 AM