Italian cartoonist Benito Jacovitti (1923-1997) once wrote a short rhyme about his creative relationship with “Pinocchio” – the world-famous masterpiece by Collodi, born Carlo Lorenzini. The rhyme began like this: “Col passare di due decenni / del “Pinocchio” mi sovvenni / e per chi mi disse che / non c’è un due senza un bel tre / l’illustrai con gran riguardo / come ultimo traguardo” (“After two decades went by / I remembered “Pinocchio” / and for those who told me / ‘third time is a charm’ / I illustrated it with great care / as my final work”).
Jacovitti illustrated his third and final edition of “Pinocchio” in 1964. The two previous versions dated back to the 1940s. The first was an experiment he tried between 1942 and 1943 for Brescia’s La Scuola publishing house. The second was a graphic novel (with an adaptation of the literary text inserted in the balloons), published in installments in the children’s magazine “Il Vittorioso”, between 1946 and 1947.
Here is a selection of images from Jacovitti’s last “Pinocchio”, published by A.V.E.
The adventures of the most famous puppet in the world are re-read with the sarcasm the Molise-born artist was famous for: his cartoons are visually innovative, theatrical and dense, and subject the stern, sometimes dark characters of Collodi’s novel to a completely new and outstanding creative “betrayal”.
Jacovitti hinted at this distortion with irony: “Per finire con la ‘storia’ / al ‘Pinocchio’ han dato gloria / Russi, Turchi e Americani / che ci misero le mani. / Fu il pupazzo di Collodi / cucinato in tutti i modi / fino la punto che, ohibò, / poco o nulla ne restò” (“To finish the ‘story’ / ‘Pinocchio’ has been celebrated / by Russians, Turks and Americans / who altered it. / Collodi’s puppet / was cooked in every possible way / until, heavens! / little or nothing was left”).
You’ll happily lose track of time poring over these images. Enjoy!