Corto Maltese looks like one of those contemporary male models you can see on tv and in magazines, representing luxury perfumes or designer clothes….but I guess he’s tougher !
He is tall, slim and handsome in his uniform of the merchant marine. He carries his head high, has an impressive lower jaw. He looks relaxed and concentrated at the same time. Sometimes he seems to meditate before the action catches up with him again. He is an adventurer. You meet him in Siberia, in Malaysia, in China, in Africa…
The women around Corto are adventurers too, they love their independance and often fight for a cause. They are beautiful, enigmatic, brave, often hard-edged. They can be mysterious and haughty but they always like Corto Maltese, even if sometimes they work against him.
Corto’s women are Russian Countesses, Singaporean fortune tellers, Malaysian pirates, Irish partisans, African queens and Arab desert princesses…
The women often wear colorful and artful headdresses, hats, hairdresses, earrings, hair jewelry.
They look fearless, they lead dangerous lives. They know that life has a cost anyway: death. The titles of the stories they live in evoke all kind of emotions: “SCORPIONS OF THE DESERT”, or “SAMBA WITH FIXED TARGET”. Please note that these are my sketches of Hugo Pratt’s drawings but
I don’t want to imitate Hugo Pratt….I just would like to honor him with these drawings, and learn from him how he managed to master the black and white excellence…light and shadow simplified….which is a very complicated thing. And I love the movement he creates in all of his images, there’s always a wind blowing, bringing the image to life.
I spent more than 2 hours in the exhibition, dreaming away with Corto Maltese, admiring the watercolor paintings. Hugo Pratt said: “I would love to be able to make everything understood with one simple line“
In fact, people in the metro, while I drew other people, have said to me several times that my drawings and watercolor sketches remind them those of Hugo Pratt, I had never thought of that before but I sure feel very honoured by those comments and it’s true that I feel very close to his art…
Hugo Pratt was Italian, a cosmopolitan, who travelled a lot and took his inspiration in places all over the world, a globetrotting storytelling cartoonartist:)
Exhibition “Hugo Pratt’s Imaginary Journey” at the Pinacothèque de Paris http://www.pinacotheque.com/en.html