Le Città In/visibili


Thin Cities 3: Armilla by Luca Enoch.

Sergio Bonelli Editore, an Italian comics publisher, staged an exhibition of art based on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities at the Triennale Milano in 2002. The drawings for Le Città In/visibili head in the opposite direction from Mikhail Viesel’s depictions, and in several pictures push the cities towards generic fantasy and science fiction. These images are from an extinct page on the publisher’s website although they may also be seen on the current site with a little searching. The publisher doesn’t offer much information, however, so while the artists are identified it’s less clear which cities are being depicted. I’ve noted the more obvious ones; Calvino obsessives can have fun guessing which the others might be.


Laura Zuccheri.


Thin Cities 2: Zenobia by Maurizio Dotti.

Continue reading “Le Città In/visibili”

Mikhail Viesel’s Invisible Cities


Thin Cities 2: Zenobia.

I’ve a lot of work to get through this week so the theme will be illustrated Calvino, and that means looking at various renderings of the Invisible Cities. Calvino’s novel has many attractions for illustrators, at least superficially: all those descriptions, the endless variety and invention. Whether the book should be illustrated at all is another matter. The conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan that bracket each chapter return continually to the veracity of the Venetian’s descriptions; this in turn places each city in a nebulous zone where the reader may see the places described as being simultaneously an actual place and a fabrication. And then there’s the question of Calvino’s anachronisms, with mentions of railway stations and the like… Visual adaptations of elusive fictions have a tendency to literalise the subject in a manner that isn’t always to the benefit of the book.

With that proviso in mind, this first selection of drawings are by a Russian artist, Mikhail Viesel, who illustrates each of the cities. All may be seen at this page with section titles in English although the text for each picture is in Russian.


Cities and Eyes 3: Baucis.


Thin Cities 5: Octavia.


Hidden Cities 4: Theodora.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Bookmark: Italo Calvino
Crossed destinies revisted
Crossed destinies: when the Quays met Calvino
Tressants: the Calvino Hotel