A Curious Joker A Curious Joker
Illustration from Bruno Munari’s book “Nella nebbia di Milano”, 1968. Photo from private collection, Brescia, Italy

A Curious Joker

The Childlike World of Bruno Munari
Aleksandra Kędziorek
time 4 minutes

We present artistic books on the pages of our print magazine, and the fact that we do is thanks to, among others, one Italian artist. He is loved both by children and by such intellectual masters as Umberto Eco.

“Never seen so much snow,” is how the Italian artist Bruno Munari starts the story of the Little White Riding Hood. On subsequent pages, we follow the story of the little girl dressed all in white, who is wading through snow drifts to get to her grandma, whom she hasn’t seen for a long time. Because of the blizzard, you can’t see a thing. The pages are white and the story unfolds, naturally, in our imagination. In his other book, The Circus in the Mist, the city of Milan is enveloped in a milky fog. On the pages, made of semi-opaque tracing paper, there are silhouettes of vehicles, street lamps and pedestrians hurrying in different directions. Ploughing page by page through the misty city, we finally arrive at the circus tent. We enter, and that’s when the book explodes with colours.

Ilustracje z książki Bruno Munariego "Nella nebbia di Milano", 1968 r.; zdjęcie: kolekcja prywatna, Brescia, Włochy
Illustrations from Bruno Munari’s book “Nella nebbia di Milano”, 1968; photo: private collection, Brescia, Italy

Reading each of Bruno Munari’s (1907–1998) more than 70 publications is an adventure, even if, in contrast to the majority of his readers,


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Back in the 1990s, in a small village in the south-eastern corner of Slovakia, there stood a strange house on Main Street. As a kid, I used to walk past it daily, on my way to school. As a matter of fact, there were two buildings: a peasant house and a small workshop beside it. Decorated with all sorts of weird and wonderful art, they were the highlight of my childhood mornings.

Why, exactly? Well, it was the 90s and I was a child. But besides that, it was simply exciting to see something new. It’s true that I was less fascinated by the colourful mosaics, cut plastic bottles filled with plastic flowers, pinwheels, mutilated dolls and who knows what else, than I was by the posters of muscular action heroes – the likes of Rambo, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris – but I always quickly ran my eyes past the walls as I moved my tiny legs, not to be late for class.

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