Sophy Hollington Covers The Decameron

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Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is set in 1348—a time when plague ravaged the Italian city of Florence. In the book, 10 people leave Florence to quarantine in the countryside, and they pass the time by telling stories, 100 in total, ranging broadly in tone and style as the collection progresses.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wages on, The New York Times Magazine has launched its own Decameron Project, a collection of 29 fictive stories by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Edwidge Danticat, Charles Yu and others.

Why fiction, and why now?

As Rivka Galchen writes, “Reading stories in difficult times is a way to understand those times, and also a way to persevere through them.”

For a visual frame to the collection, the magazine brilliantly selected British illustrator Sophy Hollington. Hollington, “not being one to cut corners,” works in linocuts, and draws inspiration from meteoric folklore and symbolism found in alchemy.

She created the cover for the package, as well as spot illustrations and lettering throughout it.

Here’s a look at that cover, as well as some of Hollington’s other work.

Head to The New York Times Magazine to see an animated version, and to read the stories that Hollington so perfectly captures.