Monday, January 22, 2007

Singing the Praises of Aurelius Battaglia

It was while working on the profile of another illustrator that I became aware of Aurelius Battaglia's spectacular Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs.

What a revelation! This thick hardcover book is bursting with page after page of Battaglia's beautifully designed and stylized illustrations. The small sample you'll be seeing this week won't begin to give you the scope of this masterful volume.

If this is not Battaglia's magnum opus, I can't imagine what is. It made me realize how influential artists like Battaglia were on the evolving look and style of illustration in the 50's - not just on children's book illustration, but on the entire field - even to this day.

You can take a closer look at these images in my Aurelius Battaglia Flickr set.


  1. Wow! Really wonderful stuff. I remember this style of illustration from when I was young---this kind of thing was all over the cheap women's mags my mother used to read in the late 60's and early 70's: Good Housekeeping, Women's Day, etc.

  2. Praises worth singing :)

  3. Anonymous12:46 AM

    It should be noted that the pose, costume, and props in the first illustration is taken directly from the statue, "The Puritan", by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

  4. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Holy synchronicity! I just
    A)Bought a copy of "American Songs"

    B)Did some work inspired by it

    C)Posted it on my blog YESTERDAY!

    Really enjoy TI - I've been lurking for a while but HAD to comment today!

  5. Battaglia's song book reminds me so much of Ben Shawn -- did one influence the other -- or was that style borrowed from someone or somewhere else ? (like maybe Haitian painting ?)

  6. Hey, thanks for all your wonderful comments, guys! Steve; I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying your own copy of Battaglia's book - its just great, isn't it? Your blog looks great and I love your style! :-)

    Chris; I'm only beginning to learn about Shahn myself but it sounds like you are probably right that he was a big influence, not just on Battaglia - but on many illustrators during this period.

  7. Anonymous7:12 PM

    i couldn't help but think of the animated movie, "The Incredibles" which must have been inspired by the wonderful lines and simple colors in Battaglia's drawings. sort of "retro-future" as a friend of mine calls it.

  8. Anonymous10:52 PM

    I have this book right here with me. Just loaded with wonderful pictures. Immensely inspiring.

  9. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I just gave my son, Gary Filip,musician, a copy of the Fireside book of Favorite American Songs. I was intrigued by the illustrations and that is why I looked Baattaglia up...I love them.

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