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Morbid and grotesque Italian anti-German propaganda postcards from WWI


‘Danza Macabra Europea’ number 23 by Italian artist Alberto Martini.
 
Alberto Martini was a prolific Italian active during the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s who dabbled in many disciplines including painting, illustration, engraving and graphic design. During WWI Martini was enlisted to create a series of postcards called the “Danza Macabra Europea” that were used as propaganda, grotesquely lampooning figures such as German Kaiser and king of Prussia Wilhelm II as well as members of the Austro-Hungarian empire such as the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef. 

Martini’s cards are absolutely horrific, filled with depictions of dismemberment, cannibalism and executions. Sometimes the Germans in Martini’s propaganda cards are pantless or appear to take on feminine forms. Copies of 54 lithographs of the Danza Macabra produced during 1914 and 1916 were widely distributed to Allied forces fighting against the rising Austro-Hungarian empire. According to cultural historians familiar with Martini’s work for “Danza Macabra Europa” the artist’s goal was to show the “horror” of war by using barbaric symbolism such as portraying the neutral country of Belgium as a child whose hands have been severed off at the wrist.

Most of the approximately 450,000 prints of Martini’s exquisitely grim postcards, captioned in both Italian and French, were sent to those fighting on the front lines of the war to help create a clear understanding of the horrific atrocities being committed against soldiers and civilians. Many consider Martini’s work a precursor to the surrealist movement. I’ve included many images of the 54 lithographs done by Martini in this post—all of which are absolutely NSFW.
 

‘Danza Macabra Europa’ number thirteen.
 

 
More ‘Danza Macabra Europa’ after the jump…

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