Artist prints on the Italian front

Not only photos and postcards. The iconographic history of the Great War means also uncommon types of images, as we can learn in the recent book by the Italian publisher Cierre La grande guerra. Il fronte italiano nelle cartoline e nelle stampe degli artisti (The Great War. The Italian Front in the Postcards and Prints of the Artists) edited by Piero Ambrosini, Fabio Fogagnolo and Enrico Meliadò. More than a thousand images, the most belonging to the Austro-Hungarian army, that represents an interesting tool to compare the themes of propaganda that were common to all belligerent armies. So what's new in this 400 page illustrated book? First the fact that the images here available belong to artists, sometimes even to important and renowned painters, that were somehow mobilized in a kind of fundraising framework to help the casualties' families. Secondly, the fact that these images portray what photography could hardly shoot: the battles, the aviation operations and the most hectic moments of trench life, usually coming after months spent lying in an maddening and muddy provisional truce, when all soldiers shaked down to the distressing wait for the action.