Bookplates and stars by Bruno da Osimo

Ex libris, Bruno da Osimo per Gianni Mantero

For Gianni Mantero

Bruno da Osimo (born Bruno Marsili, 1888-1962) signed his bookplate wood engravings with his pseudonym and a growing number of stars. At first he added only one, as his trademark, then he started adding two, and finally three. It was a way for him to remember people he loved – and who had died too soon: his wife Alma in 1936, and his sister Anita in 1938 – in his work.

Da Osimo was an author and a woodcutter; he started producing xylographies and became interested in the specific art of “ex libris” stamps around 1918, after meeting the pre-Raphaelite painter and engraver Adolfo De Carolis.

Here is a small selection of his works. One of them reads, “Ars laetitia / solacium cordis”, a Latin motto meaning “art is happiness and consolation for the heart”. Da Osimo made it for himself, with larger stars than usual.

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December 2, 2014