Laughter in Times of War. The Great War recounted through Angelo Fortunato Formiggini’s Post Cards

This exhibition provides an overview of the developments and main events of the Great War, seen through the lens of humorous post cards from the Formiggini Collection. Following the philosophy of laughter so loved by the Modenese publisher, visitors can trace the story of figures like Wilhelm II and Franz Joseph I of Austria, and the crucial years of the conflict and its tragic impact.

The exhibition presents a selection from more than a thousand illustrated post cards in collection of Angelo Fortunato Formiggini’s House of Laughter, an ambitious and wide-ranging collecting project that he himself described as ‘a kind of library and museum of all that relates to Laughter, which goes beyond the limits of time and place’. The House of Laughter was also enriched with contributions from readers of the periodical ‘Italy that writers’, who responded to an invitation from the publisher, and sent in large numbers of ‘humorous and satirical documents relating to Italy at war, such as trench diaries, soldiers’ songs and military anecdotes’.

Beyond their unquestionable value as historical evidence of the Great War, these post cards also demonstrate the vivid beauty and artistic and satirical talent of important illustrators such as Aurelio Bertiglia, Attilio Mussino, Golia (the pen name of Eugenio Colmo), and Virgilio Retrosi.

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