Most Americans are familiar with the famous Rosie the Riveter poster with the caption “We Can Do It” from World War 2.
It was designed to honor—and provide inspiration for—the women of America who left their kitchens to work in the factories for the war effort. “Rosie the Riveter” (made famous in a song by that name from the era) became a catchphrase to designate any of the women factory workers of the time. That “We Can Do It” poster has become a popular item even today, with lots of “spoofs” of it for various other “causes” showing up all over the Internet.
But if you weren’t around back during the War, you may have missed another famous piece of art, this one on the front of the May 29, 1943, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, featuring another “Rosie the Riveter.” This Rosie was obviously modeled after a different woman than the We Can Do It Rosie. There she is below, on the right. Except…most people don’t know she wasn’t REALLY modeled after a woman!
As you can see from the picture on the left, Norman Rockwell may have modeled the features of the face of his Rosie on some woman, but the facial expression and her body’s pose is definitely straight from the painting by Michelangelo, on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, of the Prophet Isaiah. Rockwell obviously thought Rosie deserved to be viewed as a classically heroic figure!
For many more fascinating WW2 posters, visit my World War 1 and 2 Posters board on Pinterest.