Leopoldo Metlicovitz (1868 – 1944)

Enivrement!…‘, by unknown composer and publisher (s.d.); cover illustrated by Leopoldo Metlicovitz.

Love, love, love. We celebrate this romantic day with a tender drawing by Leopoldo Metlicovitz. For years he was the in-house artist for the publisher and printer Ricordi, for whom he created posters and covers for sheet music. Together with fellow artists Hohenstein and Dudovitch, Leopoldo Metlicovitz was representative for the stile Liberty, the Art Nouveau style in Italy around 1900.

Publicity posters by Leopoldo Metlicovitz, 1898 (left) and 1915 (right).
Publicity posters by Leopoldo Metlicovitz, 1898 (left) and 1915 (right).

Metlicovitz’ family was from Dalmatia. He learned drawing and lithographic techniques as a printer’s apprentice in Udinese. Later he moved to the prestigious Casa Ricordi in Milan where he became technical director. Just like other illustrators of sheet music (see the posts on Einar Nerman and Orla Muff) Metlicovitz also set his talents to work for the theatre. He became stage and costume designer for the Scala.

Left: scene from La Bohème as staged in 1896 (source: Ricordi’s archives). Right: Puccini’s sheet music for ‘La Bohème‘, illustrated by L. Metlicovitz , published by Ricordi (Milano, 1917)

The costumes he created for opera’s (a.o. from Puccini and Verdi) were so decorative and colourful that they also cleverly embellished Ricordi’s published music.

A collage of some of the costumes designed by Metlicovitz, and lithographed on the covers of many opera and operette sheet music.

We found the following photograph of the Ricordi family with Giuseppe Verdi, suggesting that Leopoldo Metlicovitz belonged to the circle of family intimates.

Garden of the villa in Sant'Agata, (from left, seated) Maria Carrara Verdi, Barberina Strepponi, Giuseppe Verdi, Giuditta Ricordi,
Garden of the villa in Sant’Agata, (from left, seated) Maria Carrara Verdi, Barberina Strepponi, Giuseppe Verdi, Giuditta Ricordi, (from left, standing) Teresa Stolz, Umberto Campanari, Giulio Ricordi, Leopoldo Metlicovitz, late 19th century. (source: http://www.ricordicompany.com)

We close this post with a charming masked lady with a beauty mark (in fact the cover illustration for the sheet music of La Cumparsita) by Leopoldo Metlicovitz. Happy Valentine’s day!


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