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  • Alistair Walton


Every so often, you come across some impressive work from an artist you have never heard of. I took an online course on poetry of the First World War because of an interest in WW1 rather than poetry which is outside my comfort zone. As a result, I discovered the work of Fortunito Matania who documented conflict, life at the front, work in munition factories etc.

His work seems largely forgotten and he was dismissed as a mere illustrator, which he was, as much of his work was produced for magazines telling the story of the war. Admittedly, some of the work is a bit melodramatic or sentimental and tending towards propaganda. However, there is no doubting his skill and the work, often done 'en grisaille', has incredible detail and accuracy and much has an almost photographic realism - at first glance, you might think that some of them were photos.

In contrast to his war works, he also documented royal occasions and painted historical and classical scenes. He may not be to everyone's taste but see what you think.

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