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October 18, 2023 - January 6, 2024

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November 13 | 6:30 PM
Illustrations for Italo Calvino Panel Discussion

This exhibit is located in the Third Floor Gallery.

ITALIAN EXCELLENCE: Illustrations for ITALO CALVINO is a valuable opportunity for both children and adult readers to engage in the masterful writings of Italo Calvino. Born 100 years ago, Calvino became one of the world’s greatest storytellers, successfully interweaving complicated tales of romance, family, the horrors of war, conflicts of the modern world, politics, and the importance and love of reading.

This exhibit marks the centenary of the birth of one of the greats of 20th century literature and one of Italy’s most popular and well-known authors. The 61 artworks featured in this exhibit provide visitors with a historical and geographical overview of Calvino’s words. On display are pieces from 31 Italian and foreign established artists who have already published their interpretations of Calvino’s texts, alongside the illustrations of 30 contemporary artists selected by a jury from entries submitted to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Contest held for the occasion.

Synonymous with the best in international illustrations, the Italian Excellence project– now in its fourth edition– is partnered by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the Giannino Stoppani Cooperative/ Accademia Drosselmeier, working together to promote children’s publishing, a vital sector for the education of future generations. This was exactly Calvino’s thought when, in his first novel The Path to the Spiders’ Nests, he remarks that when young, every new book read is like a new eye that opens and changes what other eyes, or “book-eyes”, have seen before.

The Society of Illustrators is honored to continue his legacy by introducing viewers to the imagination of Calvino through the visual interpretations of these selected Artists. The exhibit is curated by the Giannio Stoppani Cooperative/Accademia Drosselmeier.

About the Author

The eldest child of traveling tropical botanists and agronomists, Italo Calvino (October 15, 1923 – September 19, 1985) was born in Cuba before relocating to Italy at a young age. Calvino’s childhood spent outdoors between his father’s floriculture station in San Remo and the family’s ancestral land at San Giovanni Battista would greatly influence his later work. To please his family, as he grew Calvino kept his literary talents hidden and enrolled in school to study agriculture, first at the University of Turin and then transferring to the University of Florence. However, in 1943 the Germans succeeded in occupying Liguria and Calvino went into hiding, refusing military service and instead joining the Italian Resistance. Around this time, Calvino first started publishing his work with a collection of stories based on his wartime experiences. After a stint with the Communist Party, Calvino became disillusioned with politics and current affairs, and his work turned to more fantastic allegories and romantic epics. 

Ever-evolving in style and genre, Calvino began creating his many masterpieces including his most popular books Cosmicomics, the “Our Ancestors” trilogy, Invisible Cities, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, and Mr. Palomar. In total, Calvino would publish 30 titles and countless essays and short stories while earning numerous awards and lecturing throughout the globe.

Mostra organizzata da 
Exhibition organized by
Bologna Children’s Book Fair/ BolognaFiere
Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale  
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Regione Emilia-Romagna 
Emilia-Romagna Region

Curata da 
Curated by
Giannino Stoppani Cooperativa Sociale – Accademia Drosselmeier  

Con la collaborazione di 
With the collaboration of
Deanna Belluti
Marina Lepore
David Tolin


October 18, 2023
January 6
Event Category:


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