L’Atleta Sali. F. Ili Tensi, litho.
L’Atleta Sali.
L’Atleta Sali.
L’Atleta Sali.
L’Atleta Sali.
L’Atleta Sali.
L’Atleta Sali.

L’Atleta Sali.

Milano, Italy, [circa 1885]. F lli Tensi, lithographer. Lithograph, 44 x 89 cm, plus margins; mounted on new linen.

A rare and delightful lithograph advertising a nineteenth century Italian weight-lifting champion and performer.

Sali is shown here in a central portrait, with three medals pinned to his chest, one of which appears to be dated 1885. Below him are the various weights and clubs used in his act. Surrounding the portrait are numerous vignettes showing him engaged in various feats of strength, which are both entertaining and serve as excellent documentation of his act, some aspects of which may be unique to him. At the lower right, he holds up a barrel with three men seated on it, apparently holding it up with his tongue alone. In another image a great cup is strapped to his abdomen, from which he tosses a large iron ball.

While an obscure figure today, Sali must nevertheless have been something of a sensation in his day, as he traveled at least as far as Sydney, Australia to perform, appearing at the Alhambra Music Hall, located in the city’s Haymarket district. An advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald, dated 16 March 1887, reads: “L’Atleta Sali, the Great Italian Hercules, and strongest Heavy-weight Lifter in the World, will appear in this Hall This and Every Evening. In his Great Feats of Lifting and Jugglery.”

We have been unable to locate any other examples of this marvelous lithograph.

REFERENCES: The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842–1954) Wed 16 Mar 1887 at rove.nla.gov.au

CONDITION: Good, old folds, some repaired losses and tears, stabilized on new linen.

Item #5301

Price: $2,500.00

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