CARLO GUARNIERI. Andrea Baldocchi's small introductory monograph, Carlo Guarnieri: Xilogrqfie scelte (Piombino, 'La Bancarella Editrice', 2007,42 pp., 27 b. & w. ills., €25), has recently joined the growing group of publications devoted to Italian woodcut artists of the last century. Born in 1892 on the Tuscan coast near Livorno, Guarnieri studied in Florence, where he became a devoted admirer of Adolfo De Carolis. A precocious starter with the technique, he made a series of prints of the Seasons at the age of 13, which Baldocchi relates to the posters of Mucha. The author makes judicious lise of comparative illustrations alongside Guarnieri's own work, accompanying them \vith a paragraph of explanatory text.
By 1914 the young artist had become aware of International Symbolism,as is evident from Fantasia that has echoes of the pre-Futurist etchings of Russolo. Guarnieri's lise of dynamic line leads Baldocchi to reproduce a detail of a work by Umberto Mastroianni, executed some 65 years later, alongside it. In 1921 the artist made a portrait of Dante, which he titled Dante Tirreno, in open homage to the woodcut of the poet produced the previous year by De Carolis, which D'Annunzio had baptised as Dante Adriatico. Guarnieri's image stands up well to that of his hero. One of the most striking prints illustrated here is his 1922 Tramonto, in which brilliant fiashes of light shine out frolli behind the Appennines. Unexpectedly; but appositely; Baldocchi relates the glow to the sky in Gustave Doré's Creation of the Moon.
In 1923 Guarnieri moved to Turin, where he became friends with Felice Carena. Re was also in contact with the sculptor Arturo Martini in Rome. The last print illustrated here, Maternità of 1928, is extremely sculptural. Baldocchi sees it as; analogous to the work of the Faentine Ercole Drei, but it could also be compared with Emilian religious sculpture of the first half of the sixteenth century. Guarnieri lived on until 1988, so that this book deals only with a limited part of his career. It does, however, provide the reader with a very extensive bibliography: From the exhibition history one gleans that Guarnieri was stilI exhibiting prints in the 1960s.