Why Don’t You Use Both Your Hands for Defending Yourself? It’s Impossible! My Left Hand is for My People!


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. The image shows the ruling monarchs of Italy’s two main enemies in World War I, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. Franz Josef holds a sword in one hand and a rope connected to a gibbet in the other. In the background, a member of an Italian rifle regiment is seen waving an Italian flag and bravely charging at the two emperors. The portrait of the Austrian ruler reflects and aims to further reinforce the portrayal of him in Italian propaganda as both weak and an oppressor of his own people. In such propaganda, Franz Josef was often called l’Impiccatore (The Hangman).

Last updated: April 13, 2016