Walter Molino for “La Domenica del Corriere”: happy endings, week after week

Walter Molino e la Domenica del Corriere

April 2nd 1961. Province of Rovigo. During a "providential" fight, a man pushes his wife against a wall, cracking it, releasing gold and silver coins

Illustrator and painter Walter Molino (1915-1997) started working for “La Domenica del Corriere” in 1941, launching a successful twenty-five-year-long collaboration with the weekly magazine (published by daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera” for ninety years, from 1899 to 1989).

The publication was hugely popular, reaching the height of fame in the 1950s with a circulation of over a million copies.

For a number of years, the front and back cover of “La Domenica del Corriere” were illustrated with scenes from the week’s current news. The small selection we present here was put together by following a single criterion: images of happy endings.

Expert Antonio Faeti has explained, “There was a ritual wait that amplified the resonance of the two illustrations on “La Domenica del Corriere” every week, guaranteeing they achieved the same effect every time. The ambiguous context of those news stories – told in a stentorian way, so concisely that any doubts or hesitations were banned – was not so far from the work of old storytellers. One might think that, just by cutting out a few images from the ‘Domenica’ and putting them together on an imaginary billboard, you could probably make one of those big pictures, divided into various sectors, that Sicilian raconteurs used to illustrate their stories.”

“Molino,” Faeti goes on to elaborate, “brought back – in an updated, and perhaps final version – the old figure of the storyteller-by-images that the lower-class target audience of Italy’s oldest weeklies knew well. […] The first and last page of “La Domenica del Corriere” had two large, full-color illustrations and a short caption: the World, History, Life – which were offered every week to Italian readers like chapters in a huge, infinite textbook that carefully edited the content it presented, laying it out according to the rules of a clear pedagogic vocation.”

“Molino used emphasis to convey facts and personalities: but you can sense that for him it was [a defense] against the competition of full-color photographs, which were becoming increasingly common on magazine covers, and pushed him to be different in order to find his own space. In Molino, there are a system of careful allusions, some of which are secretly ironic, and a search for amplified details, for deformations that do not look like such; in his work you can often see a precise will to manipulate real data” (translated from A. Faeti, “Guardare le figure”, Donzelli, Rome 2011).

And now, let’s see Molino the storyteller in action.

January 13, 2016