Pluto a.k.a. "Proserpine and Pluto" by Joseph Anthony Mugnaini

Pluto  a.k.a. Proserpine and Pluto by Joseph Anthony Mugnaini

Pluto a.k.a. "Proserpine and Pluto"

Joseph Anthony Mugnaini

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Pluto a.k.a. "Proserpine and Pluto"

Image Size
8 5/8 x 6 1/4" image 
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
titled in pencil and editioned 
illustration for "The Age of Fable: or Stories of Gods and Heros" by Thomas Bulfinch, published by Heritage Press or Limted Editions Club in 1958; Georgetown University 1959, brochure no. 3 
ivory wove Rives with watermark 
Inventory ID

"Pluto" was one of twenty-four lithographs created by Mugnaini to illustrate Bullfinch's The Age of Fable that was published by the Limited Editions Club. Mugnaini's images are reversed in the book, indicating the lithographs were photographed and the images transferred to another matrix for printing in large scale by George C. Miller.

The lithographs were included in the 1959 exhibition Joseph Mugnaini Prints and Drawings at Georgetown University.

Proserpine (Proserpina) was the daughter of Zeus (Jupiter, chief god), and the daughter of Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of agriculture. Pluto complained to Zeus that he alone was without a wife and Zeus, without the consent of Proserpine, gave his daughter to to the god of the underworld, Pluto. In this image, the dark-winged Pluto races his chariot toward the abyss of the underworld while holding onto the abducted and clearly distraught Proserpine.

Joseph Anthony Mugnaini was born Giuseppe Mugnaini in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy, on 12 July 1912. Shortly after his birth his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Riverside, California. Eleven years later they moved to Los Angeles and, in 1941, Mugnaini became a naturalized citizen.

He attended the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1940 to 1942, before serving the U.S. Army during World War II. After his discharge, Mugnaini returned to Otis Art Institute on the G.I. Bill and three months later he joined the faculty of Otis where he eventually became head of the Drawing Department. He retired in 1976.

Author of five books on art techniques and materials, he is best known as being the primary illustrator of the science fiction books of Ray Bradbury. Mugnaini earned an Academy Award nomination and the Golden Eagle Award for his paintings for the film Icarus, a Bradbury collaboration.

John C. Tibbetts interviewed Mugnaini and he later described his essence: I will never forget the bristling energy and vitality of Joseph Mugnaini. I can still see him, scowling amiably at me from beneath his hat brim, bursting into hearty laughter and expostulations as he as he talked. His hands were always in motion, and after finding some note paper in my hotel room, he happily scrawled away, the restless lines dashing and skittering across the surface in quick, rapier-like jabs and thrusts. He seemed to be conducting with the pen, as an orchestra leader would gesture and cajole sounds from his players. His dynamic lines seemed to gather themselves of their own accord into forms which coalesced into living images.


Please call us at 707-546-7352 or email to purchase this item.