In the 1910s, painter Basilio Cascella (Pescara, 1860-Rome, 1950) illustrated a series of twelve postcards produced by the antiquarian and philanthropist Giuseppe Sangiorgi, born in Romagna, who dreamt of creating a network of “Bread Homes” that could offer such fundamental staple food to the poor throughout Italy.
Sangiorgi wanted the rich to provide tangible help to the part of the population that was in serious financial difficulties when the country went through rapid industrialization in the beginning of the century and unemployment spiked. Many intellectuals supported his cause, including poet Giovanni Pascoli, who wrote the introduction to the 1904 book “Per la Casa del Pane”, in which Sangiorgi explained his theory about people’s right to bread and his plan to make it a reality. Even queen Margherita of Savoy sponsored the charitable initiative.
The postcards illustrated by Basilio Cascella (and other artists) had a commemorative 5-cent stamp issued by the Ministry of Mail. Profits from sales were supposed to fund Sangiorgi’s plans.
The illustrations revolved around the theme of bread making. Basilio Cascella, as you can see, focused on harvesting by portraying twelve women working in the fields, from twelve different regions.