I can’t tell you very much about Hans Thoni except that he died in 1980 aged 74 and was a Swiss graphic designer. There are a few of his posters online and some stamps he designed. There’s much more online about Finsteraarhorn, the highest and less popular mountain in the Bernese Alps.
It’s nothing personal, Finsteraarhorn is, I believe, a perfectly respectable Alp, It’s just that it’s hard to get to. And I don’t mean ‘no public transport’ hard to get to, I mean it’s in the middle of flipping nowhere. It’s, what we explorers call, “a very very long way away”.
Of course, I’m an armchair explorer really and would much rather scrutinise the results of a tectonic uplift from the comfort and relative warmth of my living room, with or without Kendal Mint Cake…
Thoni’s economic illustration of Finsteraarhorn is as sparse as a mountaineer’s emergency rations after three days of blizzard-bound isolation. I count three colours and really, not much drawing. But everything is just right. Just as it should be.
I’m a little obsessed by this tiny depiction of a very big thing.