It is Impossible for Everyone to Bathe in Here!


This satirical watercolor by the Italian artist Raffaello Jonni is part of a series of 79 original drawings by Jonni preserved at the Alessandrina Library in Rome. It shows soldiers of four countries with interests in the Adriatic Sea all standing around a small basin of water labeled “Adriatico” with the caption “It is Impossible for Everyone to Bathe in Here!” underneath. The image and the words are an allusion to the rivalries among the countries bordering the Adriatic – Italy, the newly-established Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Albania, and Greece – for influence over the regions bordering the sea. The Adriatic Question was one of the most vexing issues that had to be addressed at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I. It concerned the fate of the territories along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea that formerly belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, some of which Italy sought to annex following the empire’s defeat and breakup at the end of the war.

Last updated: November 14, 2017