Fortunino Matania


Artist Biography:

The noted artist Fortunino Matania was born in Naples in 1881, the son of the artist Eduoardo Matania. He studied at his father’s studio, exhibiting his first work at the Naples Academy at the tender age of 11. By his early teens he was helping his father to produce illustrations for Italian books and magazines and he moved at the age of 20 to Paris to work for the magazine L’Illustration Francaise. Subsequently, he moved to London, initially to cover the coronation of King Edward VII but then to work as an illustrator for the famous magazines The Graphic and The Sphere. In this role, he covered every major event, including the christenings, marriages, funerals and coronations of British royalty, up to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Matania was also noted for his military paintings. During the First World War he was employed by the Ministry of Propaganda to visit the Western Front on several occasions and his drawings and paintings of the conflict appeared in the Illustrated London News and in L’Illustration Francaise. Matania exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Institute from 1908. For almost 20 years from 1929 he also wrote and illustrated historical stories for the magazine Britannia and Eve. These were so popular that he also made a highly successful sideline producing illustrations for advertising posters and catalogues. His work was also recommended to the great Hollywood director Cecil B DeMille and he produced a number of designs of Rome and Egypt for the famous film The Ten Commandments. Towards the end of his life, Matania also illustrated features for the educational children’s weekly “Look & Learn”, and he was working on their series “A Pageant of Kings” at the time of his death in 1963.

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