November 20, 2019 – Alessandro Giammei

Assistant Professor of Italian
Bryn Mawr College

“Modern Emblems: Gabriele D’Annunzio between Renaissance Imprese and Fascist Mottoes”

One of the reasons why Gabriele D’Annunzio became a global celebrity in the early 20th century was his prodigious mastery of modern communication. Mussolini, threatened by D’Annunzio’s immense popularity, adopted his rhetorical strategies and, in particular, his fulminating mottoes, which were always accompanied by images in D’Annunzio’s stationary, promotional campaigns, military insignia, private monuments, and even in the decor of his legendary palace in Gardone Riviera. After fascism, such mottoes with images have been re-used in a variety of ways, from corporate logos to tattoos, and are still popular today. This talk demonstrates that these verbo-visual devices, which have always been considered as an original product of D’Annunzio’s modernist eloquence and proto-advertising genius, are actually based on Renaissance Imprese, an erudite genre within the ancient art of emblematology.