Sunday 15 March 2020

Italian Comic

There is a default Facebook page on Balintore Castle here. Neither did I create this page, nor have I added content. However, checking this page out today, I spotted this wonderful illustration which has been made the page's title picture around a week ago:

Father Brown moonlighting at Balintore Castle

This is by a talented graphic artist called Werner Maresta from Genoa who now lives in Granada. The work was done for the cover of a "Father Brown" detective comic based on the short stories by G.K.Chesterton. The comic, published by an Italian company Renoir Comics, may be found here. The front cover is shown below:

cover of Father Brown comic

Surfing around, I spotted another version of Balintore Castle, by the same artist. 

Balintore Castle by Werner Maresta

By an amazing coincidence, illustration is one of my favourite art forms. This is for several reasons. Firstly, most illustrations are not intended to be "art" in the rarefied sense. They tell a story or serve an illustrative purpose. In short they are functional, so the pressure to have any of the high-bar attributes of art is off. 

However, in the execution art can sometimes be injected, and there's no doubt these images are graphic art of the highest order showing a confidence and boldness of handling, as well as a conciseness of expression. The book cover is handled in just four colours. As well as black and white, there is a blue to conjure up a gothic night, and a warmer yellow to introduce character: our eponymous hero Father Brown.

The second reason I like such graphic art is to be a bit of a maverick. The more people call it "not proper art", the more I will like it. :-)

The third reason I like illustration is its ability to concisely conjure-up mood, which is often useful in the fantasy genre. Could any oil painting do better? Book illustrations should not dominate the text, so it is often important that illustrations hint and suggest rather than fully tell. 

By another amazing coincidence, Werner is involved in his own architectural reconstruction project using authentic materials to build a mediaeval Genoese palace at a scale of 1:50.


  1. Father Brown does look a bit like you in that illustration!

  2. I shall have to get the hat, cloak and, er, lantern in that case. :-)

  3. They remind me of some illustrations you posted some time ago. What were they?

    1. Hi Neil,

      After a deal of memory work, I realised it could have been this article:

      Is this the post you referred to?

      As you can probably tell, I love the art of illustration particularly simple bold works that convey atmosphere.

      I did buy 16 original watercolours cheaply at auction. These are book illustrations by an Italian comic book artist called Sergio. However, I don't think I have posted these online yet, as I don't have a large enough scanner. :-) Because Serio and Werner are both Italian and both comic book artists, my recall couldn't dig beyond this strong connection for some time.