October 13, 2007

In The Nursery Of Good And Evil: Antonio Rubino At The Wolfsoniana

image: wolfsoniana.it

Antonio Rubino was a leading comic artist and illustrator in Italy from between the wars until his death in the 1960's. He drew and edited some early Disney magazines [Topolino ring any bells?] and founded the kid's newspaper, Il Corriere dei Piccoli, which was later made into a movie starring Sean Penn, Judd Reinholt, and a very perky Phoebe Cates. [ed note: is that on imdb?]

image: phonecam of Nov. 2007 Arch. Dig.

But before all that, in 1921 Rubino, who first studied to be a lawyer, created a seriously over-the-top bedroom for the son of a friend in the northern city of Busto Arsizio. Rubino painted everything--all the walls and the furniture--as part of a grand allegory of the good boy and the naughty boy. The good boy--maybe we call him Gallant?--got his mother's love, and all sorts of toys, candy, and happiness. Goofus, meanwhile, was surrounded by broken toys, and scary monsters. There's a butcher knife and an angry cop in the picture, too, if someone doesn't start behaving this. instant.

Rubino's drawing style is bright, cartoony and surreal, Hieronymous Bosch by way of The Little Engine That Could. Since the Good Boy wall was over the bed, I suspect the Bad Boy wall got most of the face time, which had to freak the poor kid out. [But probably not as freaked out as the kid who got the "Five Senses" series in the 1940's. If "Sight"(below) has a psychedelic rainbow goddess, what does "Touch" have?]

Rubino's room was bought by the voracious American design collector Mickey Wolfson, and it's installed in the museum of Italian design he donated to Genoa, the Wolfsoniana. The current issue of Architectural Digest has a whole feature on Wolfsoniana and encourages everyone to travel to Nervi, the Genovese suburb, perhaps as a daytrip on your next shopping jaunt to Milano.

Wolfsoniana - Antonio Rubino [wolfsoniana.it]
See the giant, clear photo and article here: To Italy With Love [architecturaldigest.com]

I cinque sensi: la Vista, 1940's, I think [via]:


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