Fortunato Depero and Italy’s provinces

In 1938, Fortunato Depero (1892-1960) was asked to design the illustrations for the municipal coats of arms of Italy’s provinces.

On June 30, that same year, Rome hosted the Third World Congress for Leisure Time and Recreation, which revolved around the theme of “Work and Joy”. Sixty-two nations sent delegates to the Giulio Cesare Hall inside the Campidoglio, at the presence of Mussolini.

To celebrate the event, “the general director of the Opera nazionale del Dopolavoro entrusted Depero with creating 96 full-color illustrations to represent the recreational clubs opened by companies in different provinces in Italy. Depero’s compositions highlight, with bold silhouettes, the peculiarities in each location. At first they were published in a huge book of over one thousand pages, full of reports, photomontages and various documents”(translated from M. Scudiero, “Depero. L’uomo e l’artista”, Egon, Rovereto 2009).

“However,” Scudiero continues, “Depero got De Agostini, who had published the volume, to give him the stereotypes of his illustrations almost immediately; he proceeded to publish a new book entirely focused on his 96 works, cloth-bound in burlap with the long title stamped in his writing. The new edition, printed by Manfrini letterpress, was limited to two hundred copies and is a very rare find today.”

Depero reinterpreted the symbols in cities’ emblems, and in a way reinvented them. The Trento-born artist added to his illustrations captions that reported the Duce’s boastful mottos and statistical data about every single recreational club.

The images, of course, were beautiful: here is a small taste of them.

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Pavia

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Vicenza

Ravenna

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Pesaro-Urbino

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Livorno

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Siena

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Pisa

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Ancona

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Florence

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Benevento

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Chieti

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Teramo

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Campobasso

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Frosinone

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Cagliari

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Taranto

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Syracuse

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Ragusa

Fortunato Depero, le Province italiane, “I Dopolavoro aziendali in Italia”

Palermo

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