Tracing with words : Italo Calvino & the art of Saul Steinberg
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This report proposes that the architectural structure of Italo Calvino’s novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler evolved from the writer’s personal experience engaging with the figurative arts through ekphrastic writing, namely the essays he composed for the art of Saul Steinberg. This argument contributes to the promising discourse of how these two artist-writers blurred the divisions between figurative arts and creative writing, each in his own right, by exploring the visual themes of the narrated, and the narrative themes of the visual. Examination is focused on selected Steinberg pieces that represent Steinbergian themes, the Calvino essays for Saul Steinberg, and on a combination of extant art criticism and academic scholarship. The goal of this work is to demonstrate that through their mutual transposition of words and images, each artist-writer illuminates the work of the other.