Once again we return to the international competition “The Enchanted Wood” and dedicate this edition to Gabriele D’Annunzio who would have celebrated his 150th birthday last year. It is difficult to link the “Vate” (the Poet) with his native soil of Abruzzo, because there is such a lasting bond between him and all of the places he came into contact with, not only in Italy, but also in France, Istria, England…
This poet was a real citizen of the world, a modern Ulysses open to all things new and to the curiosities his travels brought him. Discussing Gabriele D’Annunzio is also a way of allowing Italy to relive those times, strongly characterised by this celebrity composer, writer, playwright, scriptwriter, journalist, food connoisseur, hero, Freemason and reckless playboy. Although he is often remembered as a symbol of Italian Decadentism, he was debated and controversial, charming yet disapproved of.
The tireless writer of a thousand works, he was a leader of the “new civilisation of images” and the emergence of busy cities that began to colour their streets with advertising and neon lights. On the other hand, in antithesis of his idyllic “city of Silence”, for which the “Vate” yearns but does not live in, it is in cities of noise and bright colours where he lives out his days.
Gabriele D’Annunzio is a living oxymoron, because within him two realities collide: silence and chaos, day and night, the rule of chaos, erethism and atony, beauty and pleasure. He was always in search of a way to sustain his “words” with images or icons, reinforcing one with the strength of the other: consider the names he gave to his characters and stage directions for the film “Cabiria” directed by Giovanni Pastrone. Like in an Ex Libris, images are sublimated from the motto and dedication. There is a D’Annunzio to be entirely rediscovered and valued that despite his unmistakable exploits and the cliché of a man with boundless energy, was a melancholy and tormented character who only in his many acts of betrayal, saw loyalty.
“Il Bosco Stregato” (The Enchanted Wood) is another dimension, a dip into the memory of stories, fables and tales popolar tradition everywhere has dedicated to an imaginary word, and that often happen to be identical in different parts of the globe. Stories that we want to bring together with Ex Libris on a never-ending journey. Everyone else, who knows little or nothing about Ex Libris and the art of engraving, will (we are sure) appreciate the creativity and variety if so many works inspired to Gabriele D’Annunzio.
All works, were perfectly related to the topic requested, although in the respect for the author’s specific culture, the works of the Jury was not easy, setting out as it did to give priority to all the works which complied with the regulations. We must end with a well-deserved thank you to all the artists who have chosen to take part in this adventure, in the hope of being able to count on their precious co-operation againg for the next competition “Best Friend – Pet Therapy” with an invitations to all to participate.
Lina e Tommaso Lo Russo
Download the 2014 edition catalogue "In the Sign of the Poet: Gabriele D'Annunzio"
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