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Monday, November 28, 2016

Clerici vagantes

From left: Astolfo, Saint John,
the magic shield, and the Hippogriff

Pope Alexander VI
(Rodrigo Borgia)

One of the most interesting artists who illustrated some of the 'greatest hits' of the Renaissance was Fabrizio Clerici (1913-1993). Usually considered the main exponent of Italian Surrealism, he in fact had only some points in common with that movement. A very cultured man, an old-fashioned aristocrat as well as an independent and revolutionary artist -- snubbed by the leading official criticism both during and after the Fascist Era -- Clerici was therefore a Renaissance personage himself, in a way. He worked nonetheless as a painter, illustrator, and set designer up until his last days, thanks to a sufficient number of people all over the world who believed in his talent. He illustrated Leonardo Da Vinci's animal tales in 1945, The Prince by Machiavelli in 1961, and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso in 1965, always skipping commonplace and offering powerful, intelligent, experimental and multidisciplinary versions of the texts.