Working with Unicorn always brings unexpected surprises, and this book was certainly no exception. A comprehensive overview of the incredible Italian-born artist, Fortunino Matania, this collection of over 300 works in both colour and black and white focuses primarily on the illustrations he produced for The Sphere during the First World War. It is a stunning testament to his skills, both as an incredibly visually aware artist but also as a journalist, documenting the humanity, bravery and mundanity of life as a soldier (on all sides) during the war.
Laying out the book was a simple enough process – the majority of the images are portrait and have minimal accompanying text, taken straight from the pages of The Sphere, and aside from two essays at the beginning there is no narrative text, but getting the design right was the key to letting the images breathe on the page. Using a fairly muted colour palette and early twentieth-century typefaces, the book’s focus is all on the illustrations which, when viewed chronologically, records the war from it’s primitive beginnings through to modern warfare and it’s horrifying conclusion.