Augusto Majani, “Novissima” and the art of caricatures

Augusto Majani was a scholar, graphic designer, painter and art professor from Emilia (1867-1959). He also worked as an illustrator and caricaturist, signing his work under his nom the plume, Nasica.

“Novissima. Albo di arti e lettere” was a yearly magazine founded in 1901 by Edoardo De Fonseca; it had fifty-six square pages, of which thirty-two were usually entrusted to great artists of the time, such as Balla, Cambellotti, Dudovich, Casorati, De Karolis, Sartorio. The twenty-four remaining pages also had notable “fathers”, chosen among writers and intellectuals: Giovanni Pascoli, Benedetto Croce, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Luigi Pirandello, Salvatore Di Giacomo, and Grazia Deledda, to mention but a few.

In 1905, Augusto Majani – a great opponent of the sternest critics who simply despised the art of caricature – began contributing to this iconic magazine of Italian Liberty, which strived to “illustrate the best works of the year; look intently to the present; foresee the great things tomorrow has in store; pick the most beautiful flowers of art; establish people’s taste with grace and without pretension.” All “through unusual graphic decor”.

Et voilà, Nasica’s caricatures promptly appeared in 1905.

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Novissima", 1905, detail

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Irma Gramatica in 'The Daughter of Iorio'"

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Irma Gramatica in 'The Daughter of Iorio'", detail

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Pascoli in Romagna"

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Il Varo" (Gabriele D'Annunzio)

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Il Varo" (Gabriele D'Annunzio), detail

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Il Leon-cavallo Rugge...ro" (Ruggero Leoncavallo)

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Il Leon-cavallo Rugge...ro" (Ruggero Leoncavallo)

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Un'alta cima nel Regno del Cervino" (Edmondo De Amicis)

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Un'alta cima nel Regno del Cervino" (Edmondo De Amicis), detail

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Un bel tomo" (representing Bologna's "Dizionario Poliglotta")

Augusto Majani, Nasica, caricature, rivista "Novissima" - caricatures for "Novissima" magazine

"Un bel tomo", detail

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