Mauro Evangelista
Illustrations 1991/2024

Dedicated to the illustrator who passed away last 13 January, the exhibition presents twenty significant works that together trace Evangelista’s artistic career from its beginnings, starting and finishing with unpublished works that reveal hitherto unknown aspects of Mauro Evangelista’s eclectic style. 
An acclaimed illustrator, Mauro won the Andersen Prize some three times, as well as the Emanuele Luzzati Prize for Illustration. Founder and dean of the International School of Illustration, Ars in Fabula, he was the driving force, together with Bologna Children’s Book Fair, behind the Ars in Fabula Grant Award.
The first works on display – black and white illustrations in Indian ink and pencil - date back to the 1980s and ‘90s. These are the works Evangelista first took to the Book Fair to present to publishers.
The central core of the exhibition - a kaleidoscope of colours, drawings and shapes - comprises the first of his works chosen for the 1994 Illustrators Exhibition in Bologna that marked the start of a professional career as an editorial illustrator. Evangelista worked with Italian and non-Italian publishers (Edizioni Arka, Gallucci Editore, Fabbri-Rizzoli, Giunti, Bompiani, Grimm Press, Dorling Kindersley, Penguin, Kiowon, Ragged Bear, Usborne), taking on contemporary literature subjects for young adults (“Marinai scuola e guai” by Anna Lavatelli, “Mistica Maëva” by Laura Walter, “In viaggio con Wolfgang” by Chiara Carminati”, and “Volta la carta” by Fabrizio De André) as well as classic authors from Collodi and Tolstoy to Oscar Wilde and Frank Baum. He had a masterful command of many techniques: pencil and mixed technique (water colour and Indian ink, water colour and crayon, crayon and tempera, water colour and pencil), even experimenting with Chinese painting styles to render the stories of “Le principesse della seta”, elegantly transposed by Alessandra Valtieri and published by Bompiani.
Evangelista’s interpretations of the classics are also of note, his rendering of Kipling’s “If” (Fabbri) an emblematic example. For Walter Fochesato, his “illustrations are compositions, sometimes light-hearted, sometimes more sombre but always resolutely geared to captivating, seducing the reader as he weaves together many threads of the text. At times explicit, at others only alluding to a theme, his work always has an exquisitely elegant touch, with warm colours, soft shading, compelling drawings, an array of history-of-art references laced with a few ironic asides, pauses and flights of fancy, unexpected twists and quiet”.
The Exhibition also contains the illustrations for “Raccontare gli alberi” (Rizzoli) winner of the 2012 Andersen Super Prize for the Best Learning Book, which Mauro Evangelista illustrated together with Pia Valentinis”. The motivation centred on the different approach to divulging information based on the discreet but powerful fascination exerted by the figures; it is a walk through a poetic wood presenting scientific information alongside literary references in an effortless, uninterrupted account of the trees around us, the poetry that feeds us, and the landscapes we inhabit”.
The most recent illustrations (unpublished works in black and white) are around Pulcinella, one of Mauro Evangelista’s marvellous obsessions, a vein of his work still to be explored.