There was a lot of anticipation for the fourth chapter of the Artonauti saga, the album comes out with a slight delay compared to what was initially foreseen but we forgive them, the important thing is to have it here, in your hands! There are sticker albums that we get to know as we leaf through the pages to review them, others that we cannot resist curiosity and immediately go to peek up to the last page.
Artonauti is, of course, of the second type. The project is now a cornerstone of Italian sticker publishing, something to be proud of. Maybe at the beginning not even the creators expected such a success, even if the setting, since the first album, was clear to create a series of stories. Other publishers, with much heavier names, have tried to copy the idea but with little success.
Bringing the youngest closer to art and making it rediscover by the older ones, through stories, comics and stickers. Since the 1950s (even earlier, actually) our little paper friends have known how to be the protagonists of this good intention, they once were, they still are. The strength of Artonauti is also to meet the current interests of the younger generations, the choice for this fourth album to link the fantasy adventure to art is tangible proof of this.
We don’t want to reveal too much of the story, but this album contains all the hallmarks of a fantastic adventure, time travel, meeting a mythical king like Solomon, searching for a ring, safeguarding our land and its elements that are imagined here as realms: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Will our heroes succeed? This is where art, or rather Art, comes into play. Through unique works we will be able to understand secrets, discover realities, places and protagonists of this adventure.
Naturally, Arcimboldo’s paintings from the 1500s could not fail to be present and indeed they are the natural opening of the four chapters of the album. It is an incredible method for discovering even details that perhaps, despite having possibly seen these masterpieces live, we have not stopped enough to study them. The stickers cover these gaps, the Artonauti album shows you how to discover the details, sometimes you just need to find the right sticker!
We have the pleasant sensation that, even more than in past albums, the Artonauti invite you to carefully read the captions, to follow the directions, to somehow follow the tracks. We are very (very very) rarely supporters of the theory of not sticking stickers, in this case not doing it really wouldn’t make any sense. Without the stickers, the album is not understood, it is like reading a book where the lines are printed only alternately.
The graphic setting of the four chapters is similar to each other, it follows a varied and linear scheme at the same time that we appreciate. Four chapters like the four elements that traditionally make up the unique and essential universe.
Let us add that we, great lovers of shapes, are put to the test with Artonauti 4. The stickers are classic rectangular but must be inserted within the image printed in the album. A job to be done with care for the collectors but also for WizArt who created the graphics, cuts with minimal defects would be enough to not assemble the sticker perfectly with the drawing underneath. Considering that we are facing wonderful paintings, the final result must take your breath away.
We are also put to the test by some interactive parts of the album, with quizzes, rebuses, sentences or words to complete. We collectors, of the old guard, tremble at the mere idea of finding pen marks on our beloved albums! Of course we’re joking (up to a certain point.. but it’s right that especially the younger ones have fun without thinking too much about keeping the items untouched “from newsstands”), our suggestion is maybe to get two albums. One to attach and the other to fill in, why not? 🙂
The paintings are never casual, they are part of a historical moment, an environment, a season, even a thought or a desire. The Artonauti are also good at giving notions that go beyond art but are somehow part of our daily life. Once again we have the sensation, pleasant, that everything is connected, when those 4 elements are part of us just like we are part of them.
If the 192 stickers are often “frames” of paintings alternating with the comics of our adventurers, the 42 cards re-propose the works of art as a whole. 42 like the playing cards, 10 per color plus two King Solomon Jokers (which we haven’t found yet! Could it be the rare one on the album?!?), perhaps not to be used to play poker but the interesting game explained at the bottom to the album.
Detail that we liked: on the back of the stickers it is also written which painting it refers to, the author and the year of realization. We like the details, by now you know it if you follow our reviews.
Considering our social commitment with the Adotta Con La Figurina project and the production of solidarity stickers, it is commendable on the part of WizArt to have linked the album to the fundraiser for Sightsavers Italia Onlus in order to save children living in the most poor of the world. In this case, no need to make transfers or deposits, to make your contribution, buy the Artonauti packets!
Unfortunately, the paper crisis has also affected our Artonauti friends, the album is slightly affected by the less than excellent quality of the paper (a few creases scattered between the pages) and the cost of the packet has increased by 20 cents compared to Artonauti 3. On the other hand however, it remains one of the most advantageous prices on the market, above all when considering the quality/price ratio and the incredible work of preparation and involvement of experts, teachers and scholars that every sticker adventure entails.
Finally Artonauti! One of the most anticipated albums of 2021 arrives on newsstands, released late for obvious reasons but still released, first applause (others will follow ..) for this decision despite the world of school, the first reference of this collection, is literally upset.
The wait is not always negative, we like to think that these extra months have allowed WizArt to add or change details, bringing advantages to the final result which, objectively, is excellent. We do not believe it was intended but in these times when travel is suspended, we really needed an album that with the images in stickers and the imagination would take us around the world, continent after continent, to visit those beauties of art that now we it is impossible to do. In general, however, a lifetime would not be enough for the tour around the world that our Ale and Morgana make..
Do not skip the first introductory pages, they serve to understand that our heroes are doing around looking for the cat Wizart, like the previous ones, the written part of the entire album is on the one hand didactic, therefore fundamental, on the other it is narrative, therefore equally fundamental.
The journey of the happy family (the grandmother seems in better shape than usual, maybe it’s just our impression) covers all continents, starting from Eastern Europe and ending back home in Western Europe after 12 stages. There is more to say, but we don’t want to anticipate too much, try not to go and browse immediately at the end of the album, rather!
For our review we have divided the world tour into five blocks, mentioning the pages and images that most pleasantly surprised us and the more we believe will be fun to complete with the stickers. Not having the Star Trek model transport range, the Artonauti tour also maintains a certain geographic logic.
Block 1 (Russia, Middle East, Ancient Persia) from page 10 to page 33 special mention to the Cathedral of San Basilio, to the canvas by Ivan Siskin (Morning in a pine forest), the temple of Abu Simbel, the Pink Mosque and The Thousand and One Nights
Block 2 (India, South East Asia, China) from page 34 to page 55 special mention to the Krishna painting, to the Land of Mythical Creatures of Thai culture, to the work Chang’E by Ren Shuai Ying and to the Festival with fireworks and kites
Block 3 (Japan, Australia, Africa) from page 56 to page 71 special mention to Himeji Castle, to The Great Wave of Kanagawa, to the painting Gnamma Holes and to the African Face
Block 4 (Latin America, Mexico, USA) from page 72 to page 89 special mention to the painting by Eduardo Kobra, to the mural by Diego Rivera, to the paintings by Keith Haring and Jackson Pollock
Block 5 (Northern Europe, Europe of the Knights, Classical Europe) from page 90 to page 103 special mention to Koch’s Thor, Joan of Arc, Botticelli’s Venus
What our mentions refer to, we are not art critics, perhaps of stickers, which is why we “rewarded” the pages where the mix between the two worlds (art and stickers) seemed more exciting to us. The album is an explosion of shaped stickers, as practically all of them must be attached exactly so as not to lose the charm of the photo below. A rather demanding initiative, because shaped stickers often encounter problems when they are to be included in a sticker album. We did some tests and we can say that the work is really very well done. Second applause to WizArt for the choice that could seem risky.
Another very interesting aspect is the presence of both classical and more modern art, it is also right to limit the monuments in some way to the advantage of paintings, at least in Europe and North America. As fans of the comic history that has always accompanied the Artonauti, we can see that it has been set aside a little, our heroes can only be seen in the introductory pages of the various chapters; on the one hand you could have them interact more, on the other the charm of the selected works is so incredible that it is right that the entire available space is dedicated to its.
The twin cards also return, so 25 but in reality to be found double to have the complete deck. Compared to the past they have improved, larger, even this year they do not have their own numbering but we find the handy check list at the bottom of the album. Honestly, we find it the least interesting part of the project, perhaps because we don’t feel very involved in the didactic aspect of this part of the collection. Avoidable? Perhaps yes, on the other hand we cannot fail to point out that, unlike other collections, their presence is not an excuse to raise the cost of the packet.
Speaking of the packet, the final applause starts here. In a period of race to the top, Artonauti is on sale with packets at 60 cents and with 5 stickers plus a card inside. The quality of the album is good, we found some small imperfections but it remains far better in quality than the products of other well-known publishers. If this involves paying for the album (less than 2.00 euros anyway) then so be it, we will gain in quality!
Beautiful, unique, special. Now all that remains is to wait for the fourth. Artonauti Forever!
ARTONAUTI 2 (WizArt Italy)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 95
stickers: 324 (1-324) + 25 twin cards
starter pack: 3,50€ (album + 3 packets)
packets: 0,60€ (5 stickers + 1 card)
comment: Artonauti are back! The 2019 event album returns with new adventures in the art world. If the first one crossed the various historical epochs, this is dedicated to the twentieth century.
First consideration, given the success of the previous one, the authors did not sit on their laurels but rather tried to improve it, the book is of excellent quality.
“Where we were …”, the story continues with the return of our heroes Ale, Morgana and the dog Argo. But the return where? Yes ok, there is the grandmother but it is not their time, once again are in the past, exactly in 1943 in the midst of the drama of the Second World War.
There is also a film with George Clooney on the “Monuments Men”, a special departments that dealt with the preservation and recovery of works of art, at great risk of disappearing due to the bombing or the many thefts that took place during the war. Here begins the adventure, in the oval room the President of the USA Roosvelt, in person, sends our heroes on a mission.
In the following pages is a succession of immortal works of art and, as the album rightly says, “heritage of humanity”, not only of a particular country (this clearly does not mean that an “x” country can take home the work that is in a particular country!). The album is extremely captivating, practically all the stickers are shaped and must be applied correctly on the paintings, the pages (for example) dedicated to impressionist painters are not easy!
The best of 900 painting: Matisse, Munch, Kandinsky, Klimt, Picasso, Modigliani and many others. The pages dedicated to the painters (on average 4 for each artist with often images that cover two sides) are alternated by pages where the adventure of ours heroes around the “old continent”, naturally in stickers.
Alongside the captions, many pages have small quizzes or games with which kids can interact, not only, we also find QR codes to listen to explanations, almost like we were in the Louvre or the British Museum.
Also this time we find 25 cards of art, stroke of genius of the authors, in how much they are defined “twin cards” and consequently to find of the double in the packets is not a bad, indeed. In fact, you need two copies of all the cards to create the deck and be able to play with the Memory of the Artonauts.
About packets, even competitive price, to encourage people to make the collection, each packet has a cost of 0.60 and contains 5 stickers and 1 card. What to be honest, there are a thousand other reasons to collect this album beyond the cost of the packets.
Album suitable for all ages, the “didactic” definition is just right. An invitation to everyone to collect it, a means to learn and love art and understand the importance of its care and conservation.