Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)


Chronology of the War


Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


El sembrador

[The Sower]. . La Secretaria de Educación Pública Lithograph, many colors

The caption under the upper image reads: "The sober laborer has a home; his family lives happily." The caption under the lower image reads: "The drunkard causes the ruin of his family." These two statements are enhanced by the visual representation of the two different households. In the upper image, we are privy to a prospering home reflected in the abundance of simple material possessions, a collection of thriving plants outside the doorway, and a woman caressing the head of a child. A sewing machine occupies a prominent place in the center of image and may stand as a symbol of the productivity of the sober laborer. In the lower image, we see a much starker image as reflected in bareness of the walls, which in this image are painted black with a small section in the upper right hand corner revealing the bricks beneath the plaster. The few pieces of furniture lie in disarray with an empty bottle and tipped glass on the table in the foreground. The occupants of this home appear much more miserable. The woman sitting next to the door appears to be crying and the child in the foreground appears to be crying or struggling against the embrace of the woman who is holding it. Finally, we see a pair of feet protruding from the left side of the frame. Apparently, the drunkard lies passed out on the bed. This is in stark contrast to the upper image where the sober laborer, presumably the man of the household in both cases, is nowhere to be seen in the image since he is at work.

Although framed as a family matter, the issue of drunkenness also had consequences for the Spanish Republican state at war. A sober worker not only had a happier home, but also was more productive and contributed more to the war effort. In many ways, drunkenness was seen as a matter of public health and, also, the moral of the public. Like other poster campaigns instructing people about the dangers of prostitution, the spreading of disease, and, even, not practicing dental hygiene, this poster is geared towards education and prevention of a particular social ill.

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