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Cicli Fiat (Fiat Cycles)

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After early training as a painter, Codognato (1878-1940) dedicated himself to advertising illustration. In 1904 he gained recognition with his design for the Verona Horse Fair and for the next thirty-five years he designed one hundred and fifty posters. His style ranged from humorous images, comparable to works by Cappiello and Mauzan, to near-Futurist images of speeding cars and majestic automobiles. He was also closely associated with Fiat, for whom he designed a number of impressive images. This exceptional allegory is open to interpretation, but can be understood as showing Mercury attaching his own wings to a bicycle. The poster is a magnificent example of the realistic way that Italian graphic designers could combine classical allegories into contemporary advertising.