After having been a captain for a long time, Flavio Costantini moved to Genoa in 1955, where he began working in graphics and design for the textile industry. Until the mid-1970s, his work was strongly inspired by politics (first communist, then anarchist). By the end of the 1970s the messages of his works became cryptic, drawing on the symbolism of Kafka’s works. In the 1980s, he illustrated the sinking of the Titanic, a new allegory of the contemporary world. He also produced a series of portraits of writers and philosophers and collaborated regularly with Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Panorama, L’Espresso and other national newspapers, as well as illustrating many classics of Italian and European literature. From a stylistic point of view, Costantini’s entire oeuvre has a completely personal and autonomous path: self-taught, the artist has never hidden his impatience with the art world and the impossibility of recognising himself in a defined artistic movement. The black line outlining people and architecture – sometimes thick, sometimes just a thin grid outlining shadows – accompanies his entire production and has become one of the distinctive features of his paintings.

Flavio Costantini, 1964 circa. Photo by Lisetta Carmi © Archivio Flavio Costantini