A World of Ruins: The Allegorical Vision in Fabrizio Clerici, Vincenzo Consolo, and Luigi Malerba

Document Type


Publication Date






Publication Title



When I began thinking about the form of this essay, I envisioned it as a retable, one of those elaborate altarpieces designed by Baroque artists in eighteenth-century Spain and its colonies. In the main panel I would like to present some paintings by Fabrizio Clerici, a major twentieth-century Italian artist, whose work has proven a major source of inspiration for two important novels written by Vincenzo Consolo and Luigi Malerbo: Retablo, originally published in 1987, and Le pietre volanti (1992). In the surrounding panels, the reader would see how the two novelists have incorporated Clerici's paintings in their fiction. IN other words, how the images became text. Fabrizio Clerici's work seems to encourage the kind of creative transposition attempted by Consolo and Malerba: if we browse through the bibliography included in the catalogue of the 1990 exhibit at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome, we soon realize that, as Jean Leymarie writes, "non la critique officielle, mais les meilleurs écrivains, essayistes et connaisseurs italiens ont suivi, cycle par cycle, l'étrange parcours de Fabrizio Clerici." This bibliography also demonstrates that Clerici was always engaged in an intense dialogue with literature, as is shown by the large number of volumes he illustrated, from Machiavelli's Prince to Ariosto's Orlando furioso, just to mention two of his most imaginative works.


Published as:
Pagano, Tullio. "A World of Ruins: The Allegorical Vision in Fabrizio Clerici, Vincenzo Consolo, and Luigi Malerba." Italica 79, no. 2 (2002): 204-23.

For more information on the published version, visit American Association of Teachers of Italian's Website.



Full text currently unavailable.