JF Ptak Science Books Post 1604
I wonder if there is a dominant semiology for the created cultures of advertising under the Fascist regime of Mussolini (which ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922-1943, and then followed by the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945) or as much so as there was for Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany? A sweeping and broad generalization at which I'm just guessing at here is that the German model for creating a particular, wide-spread iconology of regime-controlled national images far outweigh their contemporaries in Italy.
One of the most inspired and perhaps one of the leading iconoclasts in Italy during this time was Federico Seneca, who seemed to stray far from any mainstream representations in the many ads and designs he produced from 1922-1945. Seneca (1891-1976) really had the chops--he had a remarkable insight for placement and design and produced some beautiful and futuro-odd posters for some of Italy's iconic companies. (The Futurism bit is a little "odd" because Marinetti's attempt to make the/his movement the official art of the Fascist regime was rejected by the pwoers-that-be.) I pray ask: who would have thought of such a provocative, spare, impacting design top sell Buitoni pasta? These creations were masterpieces of advertising poster art, and seemed to have little or nothing to do with Italian politics.
1919 to 1935 or so, Seneca served as artistic director for ad campaigns for Perugina and Buitoni, while from the middle 'thirties to WWII and from his own Milan-based studio he also produced graphics and posters for Italrajon, Fiat and Cinzano. Then--for me, at least--there is a vast blank spot occupied by WWII, out of which Seneca emerges around 1950, doing more work for Cinzano, as well as Agipgas, Pibigas, Energol and Lane BBB.
Seneca wasn't alone of course in his alone-place--there were plenty of artists in Italy sharing their own nodes of individuality. For example, this fantastic poster for Amaro Gambarotta tuxedo sales in 1928 by Saxida
Though certainly this quasi-futurist style could be lovely, highly stylized, and political, as we see in this cover for a book on the young Fascist handbook, Il Capo Squadra Balilla, created in 1935 by Zedda.
And of course there was plenty of work done solely for propaganda reasons:
But for molding the cultural mind via advertising art, the Italians seemed to stay far-afield of their Germanic brethren.