Firenze: Sansoni, (1956). Single volume, measuring 9.25 x 13 inches: , 60 numbered plates printed recto only. Original pictorial wrappers printed in black, brown, and white. Embossed stamp of the Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori to title, marginal note in pencil to plate 44. Shelfworn wrappers creased and clipped, short separation at head of spine, chalk smudges throughout text.
First edition of this remarkable midcentury guide to chalkboard drawing for Italian student teachers, the third in a series of three manuals by educator Emma Tropini, who encouraged the active use of the chalkboard in the classroom. In this volume, she provides design templates for high school lessons in drawing, botany, anatomy, zoology, geography, history, and the life sciences. Tropini urges aspiring teachers to practice her chalk technique, designed to “sintetizzare, non solo la forma, ma anche i valori chiaroscurali” (“synthesize, not only the forms, but also the shading”), until they themselves are able to sketch fluidly while they teach. The sixty plates range from simple perspectival drawings in white chalk to richly detailed full-color compositions, including comparative diagrams of different circulatory systems, botanical and zoological studies, historic costume and architectural sketches, and models of the weather and climate cycles. The interest of Tropini’s work lies less in her stated pedagogical goals than in the enduring impact of the striking images she created. All three of Tropini’s chalkboard manuals were reprinted into the 1970s, but they are scarce in the first edition. No holdings located in OCLC. This copy shows signs of active classroom use, including numerous chalk smudges; the plates remain bright. A very good example of a surprising and beautiful book.