Advertising past and present

In other words, Beethoven and his music used for commercial purposes, from the 19th century to the present day… The collection contains a large number of advertisements, posters, playbills, etc., for a wide assortment of products: from whisky to gas, pianos to underwear, beer to detergents, radios to records, and much more. The result is a surprising panorama of how Beethoven has been used as an instrument of persuasion to buy the most varied products, always with an insistence on their quality.

In the 19th century, although advertising was gaining ground with the spread of newspapers and magazines, it was still a limited phenomenon, especially in Europe, where memories of the composer’s tormented life and suffering were still very much alive. From the 1900s, as the Beethoven myth spread through the arts, literature and film, the advertising world caught on and his image and works were featured in print advertisements, posters and even satirical cartoons.