Corto Maltese towards new routes. The sailor by Hugo Pratt on display in Cagliari – Cagliari

Corto Maltese, A ballad of the salty sea © 1976 CONG SA Switzerland all rights reserved

Cagliari – The gentleman of fortune with an anarchic spirit, the sailor without a country or a master, the timeless adventurer who juggles the waves of reality without losing the imaginative route of the dream lands in Cagliari driven by the hand of his creator, Hugo Pratt.
The Palazzo di città dedicates to Corto Maltese, the most famous sailor in comics, an exhibition that, until next December 4, will host over 200 works, including watercolors, drawings, tables, retracing the journeys of the famous adventurer through the trait of the master of comic literature.

It was 1967 when Corto Maltese – whose name would belong to the Andalusian argot, “quick of hand” – made his debut on Italian newsstands in the pages of the magazine Sgt. Kirk with the beginning of the saga A ballad of the salty sea, the ante-litteram graphic novel that has transformed, over the years, its protagonist into the cult character of the ninth art. From that moment the gentleman adventurer born from the genius of Hugo Pratt asserts himself in the public imagination as the romantic anti-hero par excellence, the sea wolf who surrounds himself with grandiose figures and petty subjects, hearts pulsating in evil and in the well, idealists and disappointed, all united by being distant from an increasingly flat and dehumanizing reality.

Corto Maltese in Africa, 1987 © Cong SA Switzerland – All rights reserved

Cagliari, surrounded by a sea that is also the perfect port to frame the imaginary route of the protagonist’s seafaring adventures towards the South Seas, passing through Africa, up to the North American border, thus becomes the ideal setting to welcome the worlds liquids by Corto Maltese, and to enclose a Prattian imaginary populated by revolutionaries and rebels, seductive women, African deserts and American prairies, seasoned with those literary references that, from Kenneth Roberts to Fenimore Cooper, contributed to its formation.

The exhibition itinerary entitled Corto Maltese Towards new routes retrace the twentieth century experienced by Pratt and his alter ego Corto. A graphic animation show accompanies visitors through the adventurer’s stories. And so the public will find between The South Seas the helmet of a vintage diving suit and a sculpture-reproduction of a Shardana warrior, offered on loan by the Navy, will cross Africa, where Pratt spent his adolescence, between landscapes and traditions that inspired iconic works such as the four episodes of The Ethiopiansamong women dreamed of or actually met, mythical characters of literature or history such as the painter Tamara de Lempicka, the actress Louise Brooks, the mathematician Hypatia, honored by Pratt in suggestive watercolors.

Corto Maltese towards new routes, Staging | Photo: © Giorgio Marturana

There is the original watercolor representing a Shardana warrior, a character met in the last story written and drawn by Hugo Pratt, Mū the lost citywhere Corto Maltese is in search of the mythical Atlantis in a journey set between 1924 and 1925. In the same story Pratt represents himself inside a diving suit while diving into the abyss.
“It will be interesting – explains the curator Patrizia Zanotti – going through this exhibition in Cagliari, to try to imagine the meeting between Corto Maltese and the celestial navigator Dedalo who builds the first nuraghe, or to see him conversing with a sailor about the navigation techniques of the great Shardana sailing ships. “.

For the entire duration of the exhibition, numerous appointments and collateral events dedicated to comics and illustration are scheduled until December. The tribute to Hugo Pratt will cross the City Palace to reach Cagliari Elmas airport which will host a pictorial contribution by the artist Bob Marongiu and an exhibition entitled Angels in the clouds by the International Center of Comics. The Historical Archive, the Library of Sardinian Studies and the Municipal Library System will also join the exhibition with a bibliographic and documentary selection, representative of the entire municipal heritage, making the materials relating to Pratt’s comic production available to the public.

Corto Maltese towards new routes, Staging | Photo: © Giorgio Marturana

The exhibition can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 20. To book, just go to the site of the Civic Museums of Cagliari, Palazzo di città.

Read also:
• Corto Maltese. Towards new routes
• 25 years without Hugo Pratt, the dreamer “cartoonist” who has conquered the ninth art with drawn literature

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