Poster Art: Two Italian Guys Named Marcello


Marcello Dudovich
(born in 1878 in Trieste)
was considered a leading innovator
in advertising art during the
early part of the 20th Century–

As Leonetto Cappiello
(born in Livorno, Italy in 1875)
was revolutionizing the poster form
in the Art Nouveau style in France,

— so Dudovich,
with his more streamlined
Art Deco approach,
fiatdid the same in Italy.

He was inspired by artists like:

Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha,
American illustrator Edward Penfield,
and cartoonist Leopoldo Metlicovitz,

while some of his earlier work
is certainly reminiscent of the style
pioneered by Leonetto Cappiello,

the post-Nouveau poster style
he would come to develop over timedudovich
is distinctive and individualized —

His poster art
is characterized
by strong, bright colors,
sharp lines,
and deep, multileveled shading.

His body of work
includes posters for:
Alfa Romeo,
and the well known
department store Mele.

founded as a tint and dye company
in 19th century Germany, was one
of the first companies to market
a successful line of photographic-films
for the amateur camera enthusiast.
They also sold an extensive line of X-Ray supplies.

Alfa Romeo,
an Italian car manufacturer since 1910,alfa
— has always been thought of as being
at the forefront of automotive style and design —
and it seems appropriate that Dudovich
should have been chosen
as their primary advertising artist.

is an Italian liqueur,
usually taken after meals as a ‘digestif’.
It’s flavor is mildly sweet and distinctly herbal,
mostly fennel and mint.
It is usually consumed ‘straight’,
and sipped from a small glass.
It was very popular with the denizens
of roaring 20’s culture.CampariNizzoli

is an ‘aperitif’ liqueur,
meant to be taken before a meal,
and has a very bitter flavor,
reminiscent of burnt orange peels.
Today, it is usually drank mixed with soda,
or used as part of a cocktail recipe.

But, Dudovich
wasn’t the only Italian named Marcello
who was competing for the lucrative
advertising design contracts
these big brand names could provide in the 1930’s.


motosacocheMarcello Nizzoli
(born 1887)
was also a widely known Italian illustrator,

as well as an architect,
and an industrial designer.

When it came to
commercial and industrial art,
this guy could do it all.

He was a leading light
of the Italian Rationalist art movement.

He did most of his best work nizzoli
in Milan between the World Wars.

He was the primary artist
for advertising the Motosacoche line,
once the leading Swiss manufacturer of Motorcycles.

He is also justifiably regarded
for his line of very interesting
Campari posters,
which are not only distinctive,

— but also imaginative in their concept .

But, actually,
— his best known designs
were industrial projects nizzolli
that became popular
consumer and office products —


an adding machine —
the MC 4s Summa ,

a sewing machine —
the Necchi Mirella ,

and a typewriter —
the Olivetti Lexicon 80.

The products had a modern,
sleek sensibility to them, yes-olivetti

But not only that,
but they were also ergonomic —
— what you might today call ‘user friendly’ —
and this quality made them
very popular with consumers.

I still own a vintage Lexicon myself,
and think highly of the old thing,
despite most of its’ applications
have obviously having been overtaken
by the computer.

And I think it’s amazing to be able
to not only look at a piece of art,
but to actually put it to practical use.

It’s not only a work of art —
——- but also an art of work, right?




Motorcycle Make-Out

a1Did you ever have anyone ask you
to describe yourself
in 10 words or less ?

I think a lot of folks
would have a problem with that one.

But not me.

And one of the first words out of my mouth would be:

Motorcyclist” .limit

I’ve been riding them since I was 13,

which means
I’ve been a motorcyclist for …..


…… well, for some years now.

And believe it or not,
1944people were riding them
well before even I started.



the first motorized vehicles for personal transport were motorcycles.

There’s lots of great old motorcycle postcards,

but today,

since we’re edging ever closer and closer-
— to that special time of year —

— to that special holiday
that’s all about love —

( You know the one. )oughter

I figured I’d post stuff that had at least some connection to:




and canoodling, too.
Yeah, sure–

Of course ,
people most certainly do that stuff,

— and much more —

ON motorcycles —

But that’s not really what I mean.

Motorcycles have always meant
different things to different folks–

Depending on who you talk to. fast

They can represent:
…. even violence.

And somehow,

They still make pretty good subjects for:
Christmas cards,
Valentines Day cards
and just generally cool postcards.

quartsMy goal was to find some unusual stuff,

— that you wouldn’t see every day —

And generally,

I think I might have hit the mark with these cards.


I have the feeling–

that there are some more really cool vintage cards out there somewhere —

If you have any from 1950 or before on this subject,

onne— send me a scan!

Oh, well,

send me anything you want,

and I’ll find a place for it,

somewhere…. 😀


workPS– a note to our regular readers:

I’ve never asked for a million readers —
— or awards —
or to make money on blogging —

I don’t want anything like that.

All I’ve ever wanted was to find a few folks
that could enjoy what I enjoy,
and share some fun and ideas with them.

I have that, here — with you.

— so thank you, every single one of you.

Thanks much for reading, submitting, and supporting the Muscleheaded Blog, y’all.

I appreciate you !!!



The Burning Question

NavyI usually don’t advertise information about my blog to people I work out with,

but on Friday, a rather pretty, rather prim and proper lady at the gym asked me about it,

and said she wanted to see “what a Muscleheaded Blog looked like“,

…. ’cause my buddy John had told her about it.

He probably didn’t tell her near enough about it, though.

selfcontrolI’m figurin’ she’ll be tuning in just in time to see this post….

Hey, thanks for dropping in,

— even it was for just a second. 😀

For those of you who are staying for the festivities…..

Y’all know I love vintage illustration art of all kinds,

…. so it should come as no surprise that we’d eventually get to this particular genre of poster art.home

But maybe I’d better give a little background,

— just so’s you don’t think I’m trying to tell somebody somethin’.

there’s never been a Navy man who hadn’t had at least a touch of the crabs, ya know.

I do remember that cream burned like hell, man.


fThe ‘curse’ of V.D. –
(or venereal disease) has been with us since the dawn of time….

… supposedly, the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II – (Ozymandias) – died from it (at age 90).

Oh sure, they’ve called it different things over the years,

from euphemisms like:wear
‘social disease’
or ‘touch of the goddess’ —

— to the current rage for acronyms like STD, or STI.

And that’s not even talking about the individual types and strains,

which all have their own particular ‘pet’ names in the popular parlance, like:
‘dose’ …..

These slang names often caused people to underestimate how dangerous and infectious the diseases could actually be.

during World War I,
some effort in the United States was made to disseminate awareness of ‘the problem’ among the military….

(see left)

in general, social diseases weren’t really taken all that seriously by the media, or the government,

— the perception being,

that it was more an issue for the poorer lower and uneducated classes, and nothing for the middle or ruling classes to worry about.

shameSome municipalities with larger than average rates of infection found themselves in a situation where they had to promote education/treatment on the taboo topic,

— whether they liked it or not.

While in other countries,
Great Britain, for instance,
there was not a lot of resistance about bringing it to a public forum,

In the U.S.,
society just wasn’t comfortable with an open discussion on the subject,

c… and it really wasn’t until the World War II era,

that public health officials realized the importance of a more organized and effective educational system for the prevention and treatment of VD.

Poster art was a valuable tool in this effort.

Certainly, a few years previous to the war,

there were several strong and effective anti-VD posters that had been done by W.P.A. artists,

including probably the most well known of these works —


( Note:
The Work Projects Administration, or WPA, was a Depression-era recovery program, introduced by President Franklin Roosevelt.

It was, in effect, a collection of public-works projects that put all sorts of unemployed people —
artists to architects,
brick-layers to bakers,
back to work.

Much of today’s public infrastructure in the U.S., including many bridges, dams, highways, etc, were created or built by the WPA, CCC, and other related agencies. )

But, a full fledged outbreak among American servicemen on overseas duty after 1941 came to threaten their ability to fight.

toastSo, the V-D poster became ubiquitous anywhere soldiers and sailors would turn up, whether it be while on duty, or off–

— no matter how far flung or innocuous the place was.

The reasons, perhaps, that this didn’t cause more of a stir I think were two-fold:

One, the suppression of V-D in the Armed Forces was an exigency in the war effort —

— tens of thousands of servicemen were already infected by 1942, increasing the sick call rolls, tying up beds in medical facilities, and cutting into the efficiency and effectiveness of the serving troops —

openand remembering, of course, that these same men would eventually be discharged back into American society —

— treated or not.

Two, the posters themselves were dynamic, artistic, and often specifically designed for a type of location —

— so they would ‘fit in’,
cross— while still effectively garnering the attention of the target audiences.

There were three main themes of posters during this period:

and Treatment.

The ‘prevention’ posters stressed abstinence, and avoidance of possible sources of infection.

The ‘protection’ posters encouraged the use of condoms and sexual

The ‘treatment’ posters were all about reminding servicemen of the consequences of allowing an infection to go untreated.

All of the poster themes used very simple and readily recognizable iconography to make their points —

But that seeming simplicity belies the sophisticated artistry and complexity of the psychological mechanisms involved.

prIn other words,
they were considered by most experts in mass communication to have been very effective.

And today,
these posters allow an interesting and intimate glimpse into an area of that generation’s life and times, that otherwise would have been closed off from us.

If you want to see more World War Two V-D Posters ,

I have posted a number of them on a side post– just click here.



And The Morning A-Comin On To Dawn

irelandAnd as we walked through the streets of Arklow
Oh, the color of the day wore on

And our heads were filled with poetry
And the morning a-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion in God’s green land

And the gypsy’s rode with their hearts on fire, they say:

“We love to wander, Lord,
…. we love, Lord, we love to roam”

irelandbeaAnd as we walked through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty rolling back ’til the day

And I saw your eyes they was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean and the grass did grow

And our souls were clean and the grass did grow
And our souls were clean and the grass did grow

And as we walked through the streets of Arklow

ire“We love to wander, Lord,
…. we love, Lord, we love to roam”

“We love to wander, Lord,
…. we love, Lord, we love to roam”

And our souls were clean and the grass did grow

And our souls were clean and the grass did grow

And as we walked through the streets of Arklow



“The Streets of Arklow” ,
words and music by Van Morrison .

Ole Uncle Sam


Which do you think personifies the modern American nation better?

A beautiful lady named ” Liberty “, or ” Columbia ” —-

Or a grouchy old geezer named ” Uncle Sam ” ?

I guess it depends on who you ask.

I suppose neither one really tells anywhere near the whole story, but then, what single image would?

I personally like the ‘Columbia’ imagery the best.


Here she is……

Open arms, compassionate, bright eyed, lovely, and wearing the cap of liberty.

This work, done by Paul Stahr around 1917, was part of a “Be Patriotic” drive geared to help the war effort (World War I).

‘Lady Columbia’ goes back to around to the times of the US War of Independence, and it seems that several of our national symbols have been developed during wartime—

‘Uncle Sam’ first made his appearance in a British song from the Revolutionary War that mocked Americans, called ” Yankee Doodle Dandy” —

From the 13th stanza :
Old Uncle Sam come there to change
Some pancakes and some onions,
For ’lasses cakes, to carry home
To give his wife and young ones ….

Uncle Sam - personification of US

Uncle Sam – personification of US (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…. and the character was popularized with American readers in periodicals published during the War of 1812.

There are also some cock and bull stories dating from the time about the origins of Uncle Sam being related to initials printed on US Army ration packages — but since the usage was already documented about 50 years earlier, I don’t buy it all that much.

The initials U.S. and the name ‘Uncle Sam’ are no doubt related in keeping the epithet alive after the Revolution….

And certainly, there have been changes in the character and how he is perceived over the years.

In particular, it’s interesting to see how the image evolved in the nineteenth century, from a rather disinterested, Benjamin Franklin type , to the image we are more or less familiar with today….

The old “Brother Jonathan” image, dating back to the Revolution, and previously used as a symbol for the average American, now replaced the older, less energetic, less aggressive emblem as the national icon.


Some scholars explain this as having been a result of the War Between the States —

The people of the United States, whom had previously had seen themselves as citizens of equal, individual, and confederated States, now were forced to recognize a more centralized Federal authority….

….. and this new perspective of their nation was reflected in a revised image of ‘Uncle Sam’.

By the dawn of the 20th Century and World War I, the United States and ‘Uncle Sam’ had come into their own —

English: Uncle Sam recruiting poster.

English: Uncle Sam recruiting poster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most popularly known image of Uncle Sam dates from a recruiting poster from around this time.

Star spangled top hat, red bow tie, white shirt and broad lapelled blue jacket —

Here is the classic Uncle Sam that most people are familiar with.This work was created by illustrator J.M Flagg.

It was first published in 1917, at the start of the American active involvement in the European fronts of the Great War…..

…. and shows a stern, imposing and determined Uncle Sam.

It was a highly effective recruitment tool for the Armed Forces, and was widely used, not only in World War I, but also during World War II.

It is considered to have been the most effective poster ever used by the United States government…. and was still in use in the 1960’s.


Flagg’s original recruiting poster was actually based on a British recruiting poster from 1914 featuring Lord Kitchener.

And I’ve always found the similarities, as well as the differences, in the two posters interesting.

Actually, a Sociologist or Psychologist could have a field day with this.

The original “Britons” poster was created by Alfred Leete, for the cover of a London magazine called “London Opinion”.

It has had many imitators over the years, a testimony for just how effective the psychological imaging in the work in evoking the desired response.

Laconic, but aggressive.

Angry, but righteous.

Subtle, yet provoking.

And very, very persuasive.

I bet there are images taken from Leete’s original that are being used even today.

And maybe it is time to revisit our national icon again.


I wonder what he’d look like in a red, white and blue suit ?