The fine gentleman in the photograph is Fortunino Matània (sometimes spelled Matania, without an accent).
He was born in Naples in 1881, but spent most of his life in London, and he worked as an illustrator – the family trade. He published in such magazines as L’Illustrazione Italiana, Illustration Francaise, The Sphere and later The Illustrated London News.
He did some editorial illustration, but today he is mostly remembered for his paintings of scenes from the Great War – he was in the field, working as a war artist (basically an artist following the troops and sketching from life scenes from the battlefield -not exactly a relaxing job).
But if today he’s remembered for his war paintings, in hist time he really became famous after the war – by painting highly detailed historical scenes for a British women’s magazine, called Britannia and Eve1.
His historical paintings are usually highly detailed and accurate – Matània did a lot of research to get his pictures just right.
His style, accuracy, as well as his penchant for painting scenes from ancient Roman times, caused him to come to the attention of Hollywood, and he worked foe cecil B. DeMille, basically doing set design for the movie The Ten Commandments.
And he also did some illustrations for Edgar Rice Burroughs books, in particular for the Carson of Venus series.
Now I must admit I am not an expert – I discovered Fortunino Matània a few weeks back, while I was doing some research, as usual, for some visual reference for future stories I am planning.
I find Matània’s art striking, and highly inspirational.
And indeed, I chanced upon something absolutely gorgeous, that happens to be exactly what I needed – but I did not know I needed it.
It’s this picture.
And yes, there’s a new Aculeo & Amunet adventure in the works.
- yes, it does sound vaguely nationalistic ↩