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MARK SMITH: THE PERIODIC TABLE

June 1, 2011

Mark Smith was commissioned by the Folio Society to illustrate “The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi. The book is something of an autobiography, with each chapter relating chemical elements to periods in Levi's life. The olive colored dots on the cover represent the events that Levi chose to write about, each chapter given the title of a chemical element; the dots are where they would appear on the periodic table itself.

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For the first interior illustration, Mark worked on the Cerium chapter which documents Levi’s experience as a prisoner of war in Auschwitz. He was then asked to produce seven more images.

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Mark included some reference to chemical symbols in each illustration; it seemed to make sense to have the images relate to each other in some way, so he decided to link certain compositional elements or details so that when the images are viewed side by side the connections become more apparent.

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Tags: Mark Smith, Book
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