Invisible Cities: Miscellanea


Cover art: The Castle in the Pyrenees (1961) by René Magritte.

A final post for this week devoted to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and it occurs to me that “Miscellanea” could easily be the name of one of Marco Polo’s cities.

One thing that’s become apparent over the past few days is that this subject is a very popular one with artists, especially in Italy. This is understandable but it also means you could probably fill another week of posts pursuing further illustrations and homages. Rather than belabour things I’m ending with a few of the more notable derivations including some cover designs. The Einaudi volume above was the first printing in Italy in 1972.


Cover design by Arnold Skolnick.

And this was the first American edition from Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich in 1974. The cover is printed in silver foil which makes the book a particularly desirable item. This might explain why it’s also rather expensive today.


Cover art: Martyrdom of a Saint by Monsù Desiderio.

The 1979 Picador edition is one of two paperback editions I own. The enigmatic “Monsù Desiderio” has a confused identity (see this post), and specialised in curious architectural paintings so this is an apt choice.

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