Giuseppe Penone not only created the illustrations for this outstanding artists’s book, but also wrote the poems. For the prints he used a variety of etching techniques, including dry needle and aquatint. There are even some pictures in which he used his saliva to restrict the flow of the acid on the plate. Some of the poems are about the breathing process of humans and natural organisms. Others describe the tree as the eye of the world or deal with the symbolism of a fingerprint. The pictures reveal the same intense relationship with nature: a backbone is depicted as a bird’s feather and a pile of trees is cut into beams that do not have the usual square shape, but retain the natural form of trunk and branches. Penone, from an old Piedmont farming family, is one of the most important representatives of the Arte Povera movement, in which the mutual relationships between humans and nature are central. In his work, Penone attempts to make visible the apparently invisible elements of natural processes.
c/o Pictoright, Amsterdam 2004


Translated title

Footsteps on Mulberry Tree Tops


Artists' books

Production date



Click here to view 2 related documents


14.2 x 19.7 x 3.2cm.


letterpress, dry point, hardground and softground etching, spitbite, and whiteground aquatint on paper

Object number