Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Recumbent Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1972 edition (Galassia 178) of the anthology The Dark of the Soul (1970), ed. Don Ward)

As my 60s/70s Italian SF art explorations continue on both my site (here and here) and on twitter (@SFRuminations), I’ve come to the conclusion that Italy’s SF easily ranks among the most appealing (at least to me) graphic explorations of the dynamic genre. For most fans of SF art, one name will immediately spring to mind (in part because he created a few covers for American editions)—the masterful Karel Thole. However, I am increasingly impressed by less known Italian artists brought in for shorter periods of time by the Italian press Galassia. This post will focus on one of those figures—Alberto Cavallari.

By my count Alberto Cavallari created five covers for Galassia between the years 1972 and 1973. I am having trouble reconciling the differing style of the one above with the four below despite the Internet Speculative Fiction Database‘s attribution. I will have to research a bit more online to say for certain they’re the same artist….

But to the art!

His cover for Galassia 177 might be my favorite of the bunch due to its layout and color scheme — the window framing a series of strange shapes, including a red(dish) human figure (who appears in multiple of his covers), and a clutching “hand” or “shrouded figure” almost punching through the canvas, creating a textured “tear”.

Close behind is his cover for Galassia 178 (if it is his at all)—the city under construction, the metallic beast framing the scene, the Renaissance art homage “feel” of the landscape and city… Beautiful.

Favorites?

Thoughts?

For more adventures in cover art consult the INDEX

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1972 edition (Galassia 177) of The E.S.P. Worm (1970), Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff)

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for the 1st edition (Galassia 191) of La sepoltura (1973), Gianni Montanari)

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1973 edition (Galassia 189) of Masque World (1969), Alexei Panshin)

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1973 edition (Galassia 187) of The Da Vinci Machine (1968), Earl Conrad)

10 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Recumbent Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari”

  1. Joachim,
    Interesting stuff! While the simpler compositions of the other four appealed to my like of anything surreal, I think Karel Thole’s painting resonate more with me.
    I liked the 178 cover the best because it was the most accomplished painting.
    I tried a quick Google search and didn’t come up with anything of interest on Alberto Cavallari, pittore (painter) or dipinti (paintings) or arte (art). I hope you’re more successful, and I look forward to your future posts!
    AP

    1. Thanks for the comment Andrew. Not sure any artist could match Thole if they only created five covers 😉

      “Most accomplished”?

      Yeah, I searched for him as well in my halting Italian…. There are Galassia websites in Italian that give rundowns of all the covers and artists. I need to refigure out where they are!

    1. Thanks! Do you have a favorite cover of the bunch?

      I guess it’s a mater of perspective — the for the Italians Galassia would be like Ballantine books — a press all SF readers know.

      1. The first one, The Dark of the Soul. I looked for a better copy of that cover, but couldn’t find one. Here’s the American edition. At first glance, I thought it was Donald Trump.

  2. Hi Joachim

    Your right I would certainly not think 178 (my favourite) belonged with the next 4 which are nice but simply not as evocative for me. 178 has a Giorgio de Chirico flavour for me and I love the addition of scaffolding which I seem to see every time we travel to some city to look at the monumental architecture. Cityscapes rock for SF covers.

    Guy

    1. Of the other four (which I’m certain are his), I enjoy Galassia 191 the most — the red human form is far weirder in its pose, with the strange mechanical ganglia, and the colors….

      It’s good to hear from you Guy! I hope your reading adventures are treating you well!

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