Born in Genoa, Renzo Bassi (1903-1978) was an outstanding landscape painter who happened to also be very successful at advertisement poster illustrations.
He worked for a number of major automotive and oil companies, including Breda, Fiat, Pirelli, Shell, and Esso, as well as for liqueur brand Bisleri.
His most famous sketches and posters date back to the years when Tazio Nuvolari roared on motorbikes and cars all over Europe.
Quando corre, Nuvolari mette paura / perché il motore è feroce / mentre taglia ruggendo la pianura. / Gli alberi della strada / strisciano sulla piana, / sui muri cocci di bottiglia / si sciolgono come poltiglia, / tutta la polvere è spazzata via! (Nuvolari is scary when he races / because the engine is fierce / while it cuts across the plain with a roar. / Trees along the street / crawl along the lowland, / bottle shards on walls / melt like mush, / all the dust is swept away!).
The verses by poet Roberto Roversi, sang by Lucio Dalla, make for perfect and evocative captions to these images, in which we see even some airplane engines growl.