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Artistic process

“Federico Seneca’s posters, very well-known, have become part of several generations’ everyday life all over Europe, but their shy and modest author has not obtained a similar fame”.

Francesco Milesi, curator of the “Catalogue of the exhibition FEDERICO SENECA”, Fano, 1998

The artistic process which led Seneca to the realization of his works is very characteristic. He left nothing to chance, he carefully studied the volumes, the relationship between empty and full spaces, looking for the aesthetic and stylistic shape he wanted to obtain. For the realization of his works, Seneca started from a wooden base with an element in the middle supporting a wire creation on which the modeling clay figure was later modeled. This creative process took place under a powerful light source which immediately conveyed the idea of the relationship light-shadow which was becoming definite. From here he obtained a gypsum sculpture on which he studied the volumetric relationship, with particular attention to empty and full spaces, to the relationship light-shadow and only when he considered himself satisfied, he proceeded with the actual graphic sign. The writing which accompanied the graphics sometimes became an icon, as for example for the “Baci” of Perugina, or the graphic sign defined a whole poster, as for example in the poster “Cinzano Soda” of 1951, where two simple lines identified a whole figure while drinking. Dino Villani, art critic and contemporary of Federico Seneca, remembers: “to study the attitudes and express the stylized shape, Seneca told me that at the beginning he modeled the figures with some big wire, while later he found modeling clay more suitable and effective: also because in this way he could make color tests”.

At the beginning Federico Seneca compared himself to the academic tradition, as his first posters tell us, for example “La Perugina – Cioccolato” of 1920. Afterwards he approached the European milieus in the second half of the 1920s. His contact with the futurist movement is important, which we find in the posters of the Coppa Perugina, from 1924 onwards, where the color falls apart, as if it were diluted and cut by the wind and by the speed.

Seneca’s futurist period is underlined also by a dedication Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, great artist and theorist of Futurism, writes on the register of visits to the company Perugina in 1928:

“Well done. Seneca wonderful futurist of the Poster – Reclamè! F.T. Marinetti”