Giovanni Mansueti


Hello, everyone!

Today in our Magazine, for Signatures 2, we’re taking another look at the signatures of some famous and not-so-famous artists. If you haven’t already read “Signatures” I suggest you do so.

The artists we’re considering today are again a diverse group, intersecting many eras and styles.

Here we’ll look at and compare the signatures of all sorts of artists: primitive painters, 16th-century painters, the 1960s Fluxus group, and Impressionists.

We’ll look at the signature of René Magritte, as spare and clean as his art, next to an extremely elaborate signature, like in an illuminated manuscript, by a primitive artist whose name I don’t know.

We’ll look at Odilon Redon‘s signature, just as dreamlike and symbolic as his artistic style, alongside the rather less evocative signature of the artist Ben.

Ben’s bio reads, “Born in Naples in 1935 of an Occitan-Irish mother and Swiss-French father and, after living in various countries – Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Switzerland – in 1949 he moved to Nice.”

With a back story like that, you might expect him to have some sort of eclectic style, a mingling of genres and experiences.

But, no, not at all: Ben Vautier owes his success to paintings on which sentences appear the likes of “La mort est eternelle” [Death is eternal] and “L’art est inutile” [Art is useless].


You’ll also see Gastone Chaissac‘s signature, which looks like that of a child, and then that of the Impressionist Alfred Sisley that verges on getting lost amidst the painting’s brush strokes.

But you know that my true love is ancient art, so, needless to say, my favorites are that of Giovanni Battista da Conegliano, known as Cima and the one in the heading.

Open, unfurling like a scarf waving at a stadium, it reads “Joannes de Mansuetis faciebat”;

Joannes de Mansuetis. Who’s that?

The Treccani encyclopedia tells us:

“MANSUETI, Giovanni. – Year and place of birth uncertain.”

But what do we care? His signature is still a small masterpiece.

I chose the last signature out of curiosity: what looks like an ad for a famous clothing brand is actually that of an artist, a certain Edmond AmanJean, whose bio tells us that he was a “peintre figuratif, graveur et critique d’art” [figurative painter, engraver, and art critic] in the early 20th century.

See you back next time for: Signatures 3