It was not just the artist of this colourful portfolio who used a pseudonym; the author of the accompanying anodyne poems – Italo Alverde (‘The Green Italian’) also hides a real name. Maybe artist and poet are actually one and the same.

Il Terzo Peccato (The Third Sin) is a collection of fourteen Petrarchan sonnets, each illustrated with a plate in a characteristically futuristic style, emphasising youth and dynamism. The participants have bulging muscles and glistening buttocks, reminiscent of some of Rome’s 1940s fascist statuary.

Il Terzo Peccato was published by Mendrisio, in a limited edition of 200 copies ‘per gli amatori italiani’ (for amateur Italian art lovers).

We are very grateful to Hans-Jürgen Döpp for these images; Hans-Jürgen, the compiler of many books on erotic art, curates the Venusberg online gallery and bookshop which you can find here.