Pay a Visit and Willingly Make Your Own Contribution!
In all of the combatant countries, World War I resulted in hunger and deprivation for the civilian population. In all countries, agricultural production fell as peasants and farmers were forced to leave their fields and head to the front and as horses and mules were requisitioned for military use. Imports of fertilizers used in domestic food production and of commodities, such as wheat, were reduced by blockades and disruptions in peacetime sources of supply. In Italy, at that time still a very poor country, the food situation was particularly acute. By 1917 there were bread riots in working-class neighborhoods of some major cities. The families of soldiers were particularly vulnerable to shortages. With national welfare systems and private insurance still very little developed, private charity was a major source of help for the poor. This poster depicting a female figure offering food to two children advertises the work of a committee in Turin organized to provide free food to the families of soldiers. Princess Laetitia of Savoy (born Maria Letizia Bonaparte, 1866‒1926) is named as a patron of the committee. The poster lists four distribution centers in the city, and invites the reader to visit these centers and to make a contribution to the relief effort. The poster is by Osvaldo Ballerio (1870‒1942), an Italian oil painter and illustrator especially known for his beautiful travel posters.
Title in Original Language
Venite a visitare e volentieri darete il vostro obolo!
Type of Item
1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 100 x 71 centimeters
- Antonio Gibelli, “The Specter of Hunger: Letters and Diaries of Italian Prisoners of War,” in Italy and the Cultural Politics of World War I, edited by Graziella Parati (Lanham, MD: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press and Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
- Matthew Richardson, The Hunger War: Food, Rations & Rationing 1914‒1918 (Barnsley, U.K.: Pen and Sword Books, 2015).
- Thomas Row, “Mobilizing the Nation: Italian Propaganda in the Great War,” Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Volume 24, Design, Culture, Identity (Miami Beach, FL: Florida International University Board of Trustees on behalf of The Wolfsonian-FIU, 2002).
Last updated: September 11, 2017