1914 - 1918 Through the Eyes of Fortunino Matania - Limited Edition



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Matania's fame came from his journalistic depictions of WWI. Here is the best collection of those omages to date.

From the publisher:

Over 150 powerful paintings and drawings by the Maestro.

In August 1914 much of Europe was pitched into a war that would eclipse all others in terms of its industrial ferocity. In an era when photography and film recording were still in their infancy, much of the news was relayed through the work of reportage artists.

Pre-eminent amongst such artists was Fortunino Matania who was The Sphere's artist-on-the-spot for events ranging from coronations to colliery disasters.

Sent to a variety of Fronts to cover the conflict, his illustrations created a gripping and, at times, life-affirming testimony to those traumatic times, drawn from the personal visits he made and interviews he conducted with survivors.

For the first time ever, this book collects those images in large format so that they can be viewed as they were intended. OVER 150 paintings and drawings on the World War I conflict, depicting all its horrors and special moments.

His work inspired many contemporary artists: Annigoni and Russell Flint both visited his studio, and many comic strip artists collected his work including Al Williamson, Roy Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, John Bolton, Bernie Wrightson as well as film directors such as Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock.

We are proud to present a unique collection of some of his most poignant and awe-inspiring depictions of characters and events from the Great War.

Limited edition of just 600 copies worldwide.

Born in Naples in 1881, Fortunino Matania trained at his father's studio and illustrated his first book at the age of 14. He studied in Paris, Milan and London, where he worked on The Graphic. He returned to Italy at the age of 22 for military service in the Bersaglieri. He then returned to London where he joined the staff of The Sphere.

With the outbreak of World War I he became a war artist and spent nearly five years at the front drawing hundreds of sketches. His work was admired by military experts and critics alike for his technical accomplishment and scrupulous accuracy. His war art features in virtually every history or encyclopaedia of WW1 ever produced.

At the end of World War I Matania illustrated numerous ceremonies in London, including the coronation of Edward VII. During the first half of the 20th century he literally illustrated history as it happened. He was made a Chevalier of the Crown of Italy, and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and The Royal Institute of Art.

In his studio he maintained an enormous collection of artefacts to aid him in his work. He rarely made preliminary sketches, preferring to begin an elaborate illustration without previous preparation. It was as if he had a exact mental photograph of the art before he began to paint or draw. His reputation was such that he was visited in his studio in London by Annigoni, Russell Flint, and John Singer Sargent, and his work is collected and admired by many of today's greatest artists and illustrators.

He was an expert at historical scenes from all periods of history and his Ancient Roman and classical illustrations are particularly admired and collected. During WW2, many of his paintings and drawings were destroyed when his studio was bombed in the Blitz. He was so prolific, however, that many examples of his art still survive.

His pictures were published every week in Illustrazione Italiana from 1895 - 1902, in The Graphic from 1901 - 1904, and in The Sphere from 1904 to 1963. He also contributed regularly to Britannia & Eve, and The Passing Show, where his Edgar Rice Burroughs illustrations appeared amongst others. His work has been used in numerous magazines and books such as Look & Learn, London Life and many others.


Fortunino Matania
Peter Richardson

Condition & Attributes

Very Fine, issued without dustjacket
Limited to 600 copies



Publishing Information

Book Palace

Physical Description

11 inches
9 inches
160 pages
over 150 color and black & white illustrations
pictorial boards

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