Yan Nascimbene: Lands of Beautiful Simplicity by Ross Rosenberg 
There is something bittersweet about coming upon an artist too late - to crest the sudden rush of excitement upon finding this amazing body of work only to realize that you have reached The End, full stop. Such was the case with the work of Yan Nascimbene who passed away just a little less than a year ago in February of 2013 at the age of only 63. yn8 Nascimbene's oevre wears a distinctly Japanese influence on its sleeve. His colors are deep and rich, contained within line work of mostly uniform thickness whose sparseness belies the amount of detail they present. This influence is plain in his work for Hachiko and Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers, stories specifically set in Asian locals, but it carries over into the great number of pieces he did for books by Italo Calvino.  yn2 Even here, illustrating Mediterranean landscapes, one can find that influence whether in the foliage he uses to great affect or something as small as the foamy tips of ocean waves that look like they were transposed from an ukiyo-e woodblock. His figures, too, benefit from that bareness of lines. Their faces are oftentimes adorned with no more than dots for eyes and a few lines to indicate noses and mouths, but they remain wonderfully expressive. yn4 And all of this is tied up with a stultifying grasp of shadow and negative space. Some of his most impressive pieces are nearly devoid of line altogether. A shot looking down upon a body of water rendered in minute detail simply by highlighting the play of light on the surface; another using the reflections of a line of trees along an outcropping of land. The great pools of black that cover the citizens walking along a streetlamp lit boulevard, cloaking them in darkness despite the lights around them gives it a palpable sense of place, while elsewhere a boat battles frothy waves in an ocean of black. Children wander down sun-soaked country roads, the trees above them carving delicate patterns on their winding paths. yn6   Yan Nascimbene was a truly gifted illustrator, with an economical use of form and color which he wielded with exacting skill to produce stunning pieces of work. I had the most difficult time picking individual pieces for this post and was sorely tempted to just include them all. Yes, it is truly bittersweet to discover his work so late. I would very much liked to have seen where he would have taken us next. [gallery columns="4" link="file" ids="2971,2975,2977,2979"]

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