Silvia Ballestra, Le colline di fronte
Silvia Ballestra Silvia Ballestra
Le colline di fronte. Un viaggio intorno alla vita di Tullio Pericoli (Facing Hills. Around the Life of Tullio Pericoli)
Rizzoli 2011, 256 pages

Illustrator, portraitist, and landscape painter, Tullio Pericoli is one of the most celebrated Italian artists. Silvia Ballestra retraces his life and his part in the international cultural scene. 

The life of Tullio Pericoli has been dense and varied, his line is essential and finely elegant. When he landed in Milan, in 1961—carrying a letter full of affection by Cesare Zavattini in his pocket —a new lucky season opened for him. His drawings for Il Giorno and later for Linus, la Repubblica, L’Espresso, besides the long lasting and fertile fellowship with Emanuele Pirella, revealed year after year his peculiar talent, based on a witty irony and which firmly established also abroad. Painting, his real love, unfolds on canvas and his favourite characters were those landscapes he knew early in life and never stopped to love, those he admired and transfigured with colours, dense with sinuosity and astonishment.
With amused complicity, Silvia Ballestra tells us his story, his complexity as an artist, the role he plays as an intellectual, among prominent meetings, literary fascinations, commemorations, confessions and analysis, choosing —sensitive as an artist akin to him for her aptitudes and origin—to track all his steps on the background of the city of Milan, from the boom of its cultural industry up till now. A journey carried by the author, and her unmistakable voice, going in and out of  Tullio Pericoli’s atelier, among the tables where he does the magic and the portraits of the most famous artists all over the world. She wanders from newspaper pages to art galleries, to the hills in the middle of Italy, lead by the author’s precious memories.


Silvia Ballestra

Silvia Ballestra was born in Porto San Giorgio (Ascoli Piceno). She was one of Pier Vittorio Tondelli’s “under 25s” in the landmark series of the late 1980s. She is the author of Compleanno dell’iguana (1991; 1995), La seconda Dora (2006), Piove sul nostro amore (2008), I giorni della Rotonda (2009, Città di Fabriano Award), Le colline di fronte (2011), a journey around the life of Tullio Pericoli, Amiche mie (2014), the children book Christine e la città delle dame (2015), Vicini alla terra (2017), La nuova stagione (2019, Benedetto Croce Award 2020). Her most recent book is La Sibilla. Vita di Joyce Lussu (2022, Premio Alghero Donna).



“A talented author, Silvia Ballestra… with fine and elegant touch she narrated the life of an eccentric artist.” Tuttolibri 

“Silvia Ballestra suggests two journeys: the one of a drawer following his passion for painting at the conquest of Milan… and that of a young writer of short stories untangling into imagination.” Il Fatto Quotidiano 

“The writer turns into the biographer of a great illustrator, to tell his art as in a novel.” l’Unità

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