Artist's Book: The City of the Sun


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Campanella, Tommaso / Valentini, Walter. The City of the Sun. Introduction: Prof. Luigi Firpo. Translation: Ann Berman. Lodi: Gianpiero Zazzera, 1987.

(25.5 x 36 cm) Edition of 180 numbered copies (90 in English + 90 in Italian) in sheets enclosed in a hinged plexiglass box. (10), 35, (1) pp. Copy number XXVI.
Includes two original engravings signed by Walter Valentini, one designed as the cover of the work and a second, large format engraving in addition to the text. Engravings printed on Alcantara paper, executed on a hand press by Giancarlo Sardella. Text printed on Duchêne paper by the Istituto Grafico Bertieri.

English translation of the early utopian text by the Italian Dominican philosopher Tomaso Campanella. Written in 1602 following a period of imprisonment for heresy and sedition, the work describes an ideal republic. In the form of a dialogue between a Grand Master of the Knights of Malta and a Genoese sea captain, the latter describes a place visited on his travels, an industrious and peaceful community where men, united in work, study and play, are stripped of all ambition or covetousness. Free from the troubles of family life they are able to indulge their normal inclinations, placing all their energy and talent at the service of the entire community.

Walter Valentini (Pergola, 22 October 1928) is an internationally recognized Italian artist particularly known for his engravings. He established himself in the eighties with a series of abstract works on wood and paper, all characterized by a precise sense of geometry, proportions, and rhythm. Valentini's geometric imagery reflects the influences of the Russian avant-gardes of the twentieth century (Constructivism) and, marginally, of the architecture painted by de Chirico in the metaphysical period, but is based above all on the sense of harmony and proportion investigated by the Italian artists of the fifteenth century. The treatises on perspective and the golden section by Leon Battista Alberti, Piero della Francesca, and Luca Pacioli have guided Valentini's research on space, forms, and their balance. Astronomy and cosmography have also been important sources of inspiration for Valentini. His approach to architecture and celestial mechanics is mathematical and rigorous, but not without his poetry. He teaches art of engraving at the "New Academy of Fine Arts" in Milan, of which he was also director, from 1983 to 1985.



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