Modern Bestiary, Domenico Gnoli

Domenico Gnoli was born in Rome in 1933, and displayed artistic talent at a precociously young age. He spent some time studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in his home town, but never completed the course and decided to travel the world instead.


Gnoli ended up in London, where he soon established a reputation as a theatrical set designer. By the mid 1950s he was in New York, where he worked as an illustrator for magazines.


These magical images are from a set he created in 1968, entitled Bestiario Moderno (Modern Bestiary), or Cos’è un mostro (What is a monster). They are beautifully drawn, and hauntingly surreal.


I think the flat fish in the bath is my favourite. It’s a little bit sad, and very, very strange.


Gnoli sadly died in New York, aged just thirty six years old, soon after opening a show of his paintings at a major gallery in the city. He left behind only a few completed works. But these weird, wonderful drawings are certain quite a magical legacy, don’t you think?


11 Responses to “Modern Bestiary, Domenico Gnoli”

  1. Amazing pieces! Gnoli is not an artist I am familiar with. I will endeavour to look into him (in every sense). Thank you.

  2. Passed this one on to my cartoonist girlfriend to enjoy!

  3. Quite a remarkable talent there and I too had never heard of him before – thank you for bringing him to us. I have huge respect for anyone working in that medium and these are wonderful.

  4. Fascinating, really like these. My favourite is the creature peeking out from the wardrobe.

  5. Amazing post! Gnoli’s talent is enormous and it is absolutely an artist that needs to be rediscovered! Thanks for this post!

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