Conquers Nature

The Colossus of Rhodes and Singer

Another common Singer advertisement featured an idealized male figure wearing a spiked helmet, muscular torso and legs bared, set against the background of a dramatic sky and seaport. The figure inscribes the Colossus of Rhodes that stood at the harbor entrance of the island of Rhodes, which influenced Frédéric Batholdi's colossal Statue of Liberty in New York. According to legend, the beautiful French widow of the American industrialist Isaac Singer, founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, was the model for the face of Liberty.

The Singer Colossus strikes a pose that commands the space he inhabits. He points his outstretched arm and finger at the small international S-Girl in the sky, here in Russian and Italian dress. We could say that he represents a masculine version of the S-Girl, suggesting that the global reach of the sewing machine is dependent on male power. In the foreground of the Russian ad is a sewing machine and its trademark wooden case, covering his lower legs; the Italian version resembles the Colossus more, with the figure straddling two tall buildings and forming a bridge. If we look closely, we see that the Russian man is stockier than the Italian one, as if to represent the ideal Russian male physique.