Dino Buzzati | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books


"I am a painter who, as a hobby, during a period that was unfortunately somewhat prolonged, was also the writer and journalist."

(Dino Buzzati)



Dino Buzzati, born Dino Buzzati Traverso (San Pellegrino di Belluno, 16 October 1906 - Milan, 28 January 1972), was a writer, journalist, painter, playwright, librettist, set designer, costume designer and Italian poet. Since he was a student he collaborated with Corriere della Sera as a reporter, editor and special correspondent.

Buzzati, along with Italo Calvino and Tommaso Landolfi, is one of the greatest fantastic writers of the Italian twentieth century. In fact, he is the author of a large number of surreal and realistic-magical novels and stories, so much so that he has been called the "Italian Kafka" on several occasions. His masterpiece, The Desert of the Tartars (1940), is considered by critics to be the summit of Italian existentialist narrative, along with the works of Alberto Moravia (who nonetheless express the genre in a completely different direction).

More than entertainment, painting was a second trade for Dino Buzzati, so much so that he came to declare: "I am a painter who, as a hobby, during a period that was unfortunately somewhat prolonged, was also the writer and journalist". The pictorial works of Buzzati are strongly linked to the atmospheres and situations of his novels and stories: the same author defined his paintings as "painted stories", underlining with this expression the strong narrative charge of the canvases, which often present comics or they are divided, just like the page of a comic strip, into various boxes, each of which represents a "moment" of the action.

Even as a child Dino designed a lot, especially his beloved mountains, but also fantastic subjects. In the twenties and thirties he painted some canvases (Romantica, Il lampione, Primo amore), but the opportunity to show his qualities as an illustrator to the public came only in 1945, when he produced the famous bear invasion in Sicily for the novel. colored. However, in 1952 he painted his most famous painting, Piazza del Duomo in Milan, in which the Duomo is depicted as a dolomitic mountain with spiers and pinnacles, surrounded by green pastures.

Buzzati's pictorial activity became relevant starting from 1957, the year in which he began to produce numerous paintings and drawings of various kinds on a regular basis. The themes of his early paintings are those typical of other works, especially stories (the fantastic, destiny, expectation, mystery), and the style recalls Symbolism, the illustrations by Arthur Rackham, the metaphysical painting of De Chirico and to Surrealism. To this first phase belong A end of the world (1957), Duello notturno (1957), Toc, toc (1957), Will they open? (1958), Adieu (1958) and many other paintings.

In the sixties, Buzzati began to replace the previous themes with new topics, such as sexuality and crime, and new styles, reminiscent of Italian black comics and pop art. These innovations are inspired by paintings such as Il delitto di via Calumi (1962), La vampira (1965), The circus Kroll (1965), Escalation (1966), Diabolik (1967), Laide (1967), L'urlo (1967) , A useful address (1968) etc. Buzzati, however, does not abandon the previous themes: works such as Miraggio (1966), Il Babau (1967), The Vicar of Stinfeld (1967), Midnight Friends (1967) show us characters and fantastic creatures, colder colors, which recall the imaginary atmospheres typical of the first works of the writer from Belluno.

The themes of eroticism, crime, death and pop backgrounds return to the 208 color plates of the comic poem, a singular work that reworks the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a modern key. The book, published by Mondadori, came out in 1969, sold very well and in 1970 won the Paese Sera award. Criticism, rather than giving a clear judgment, is rather confused: the combination of literature and painting that Buzzati operates, the strong eroticism and modern style appear to the most bizarre and incompatible with the writer's previous production. The work is considered the first Italian graphic novel and among the first in the world scene.

The last book published by the author is The Miracles of Val Morel (1971), a collection of paintings, accompanied by brief captions, which depict imaginary votive offerings made in the literary fiction by Santa Rita. The paintings represent the summa of Buzzati's entire work, as they take up and expand on all the themes he addressed during his career as a novelist and painter: destiny, fantasy, irony, love, perversion, crime . The work will only be reprinted in 2012.

Among the posthumous works of the author dedicated to painting the Catalog of the pictorial work (2006) by Nicoletta Comar, the most complete catalog of Buzzati's paintings, and Le storie dipinte (2013) curated by Lorenzo Viganò, which includes the reproduction of fifty-three narrative paintings, accompanied by brief captions.