Follow @cateatsbananas

All content and images © Carolyn Croll 2011. All rights reserved.

All content and images are copyrighted material and may not be used in any manner without prior written
permission of Carolyn Croll. ©All rights reserved Carolyn Croll

February 16, 2010

Buon Compleanno, Maestro Innocenti

The Master Italian Illustrator Roberto Innocenti celebrates his 70th birthday today. 
Things with wheels never attracted me until I came 
upon SAILS, RAILS and WINGS that Golden Books 
published in 1978. Roberto Innocenti's fine detailed 
drawings, watercolor technique, color and humor 
captured my artist's heart. 
Took me until his ROSE BLANCHE to discover 
Roberto Innocenti is Italian, self taught and living 
and working in Florence. I wrote him an unabashed 
fan letter, in English. (apologizing for not knowing 
Italian and having only a remnant of high school 
French) To my delight, he answered in French and 
included a delightful drawing of a guy driving a 
pickup truck with a plumbing fixture and ladders in back!
©Roberto Innocenti
Next time I was in Florence, he invited me to his studio. I was greeted by a tall bearded man with a kindly bemused smile. We talked shop in French (he fluent, me pathetic) and the language we both understand, working book illustrator.

 in his studio, photo Grafis Edizioni 1991
He showed me exquisite original work, including pieces 
from SAILS RAILS and WINGS. It was my birthday 
and he insisted I accept his original of the Pilgrims 
landing at Plymouth. A beloved treasure, now framed 
and hung in a place of honor where it reminds me 
daily of its generous brilliant creator. The next day we 
drove to the town of Citta di Castello in Umbria to see a 
breathtaking retrospective of his work.

Then back to Florence for a delightful dinner with his charming wife and daughter.

All so kind and patient to put up with their linguistically challenged guest who only began Italian lessons upon returning home. My idea of a splendid time.
Grazie tante alla famiglia di Roberto Innocenti. 
(Spero che abbiate recuperato ormai.)    ;-)
Roberto Innocenti self-portrait eating pasta from THE LAST RESORT, by J. Patrick Lewis,
        Creative Editions

BUON COMPLEANNO , Maestro Roberto! 
Con i miei auguri!

(click on images to enlarge)



  1. What a wonderful story. I love his work too!

  2. I can see why you two found each other to be kindred spirits. The countless, charming details in each illustration will keep children of all ages engaged time and time again. I am especially drawn to the last illustration of the restaurant with the cat longing for the goldfish and the intricate details in the parquet floor, lampshades, etc. etc. etc.

    Thank you for introducing me to this very talented illustrator; I will be looking for his books.

    Buon compleanno Sr.Innocenti!

  3. The examples that I've shown are those that pertain directly to the story and are but a drop in the bucket of his brilliant work.
    Google his name to find examples from most of his books and
    be prepared to be blown away. This opportunity to meet him and his family and see his original art with him right there to talk about it was one of my most treasured memories.
    Good to hear from you, DB.