Luigi Pericle Giovannetti, illustrator

The career as an illustrator is the second track along which Luigi Pericle’s artistic research was outlined. Two tracks destined not to meet (except in the inevitable stylistic and sometimes thematic references that the works suggest), thanks to his deliberate choice of presenting himself with two distinct names. Luigi Pericle is the painter; while the illustrator maintains the full legal name: Luigi Pericle Giovannetti. Or, more simply, Giovannetti.

Giovannetti began his career as an illustrator in 1942, for the pages of the satire magazine Der Nebelspalter: this collaboration will be profitable and lasting (from 1942 to 1976). The topics covered in the published illustrations ranged from current events to the derisory critique of fashion, to the description of winter sports always with an ironic and cheerful mood. Giovannetti regularly published illustrations and comic strips in international periodicals, creating – among other recurring characters – Max the Marmot, which will make its debut in 1952, in the famous English magazine Punch. Between the fifties and the sixties, Giovannetti, dealing lightly with universal issues, published about fifteen illustrated series, most of which were dedicated to Max, who had widespread success in Europe and overseas; he entered into a collaboration with MacMillan publishers of New York and his drawings appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as in some Japanese weeklies, where Max’s name was translated to Mr. Makkusu-san. After 1970, Giovannetti’s style began to lean toward a more synthetic trait and more intimate reflections touching spiritual themes dear to him, for instance in 1976 with the publication of Pablo; from the same year, the illustrator published his philosophical aphorisms under the winking eyes of an owl, an extreme synthesis of gesture and intuition. In 1975, Giovannetti’s signature appeared on the advertising posters for the tourist board of Crans-Montana, thus creating, on Max‘s model, Bibi the Marmot, which will remain the mascot of the tourist resort until the 1980s. Some illustrations by Giovannetti were exhibited inside the Sammlung Karikaturen und Cartoons in Basel on the occasion of the Made in Switzerland exhibition, inaugurated in 1985.

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