The Russian Wikipedia page states that an art from Michelangelo is a source of inspiration for Rosie the Riveter arrwork.

My own impression is this looks indeed like that, there are many similarities. But is this somehow proven by any historical facts/sources?

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    Not just Russian Wikipedia, but also the Norman Rockwell Museum Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 10:58
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    that might be actually an answer to my question? thank you @sempaiscuba. Was just wondering it was not in the English version.
    – J. Doe
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 11:31
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    Actually, it is mentioned on the English Wikipedia page too, but in the subsection on the Saturday Evening Post Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


In principle, yes.

But it is not the 1943 Westinghouse poster of a "Rosie the Riveter"-like figure captioned "We Can Do It!" by J. Howard Miller that became conflated with "Rosie the Riveter" in postwar years
J. Howard Miller poster

but the painting by Norman Rockwell from 1943:

Norman Rockwell "Rosie" cover on the Saturday Evening Post Norman Rockwell "Rosie" painting on its own

The pose in the Rockwell painting does look a lot like the pose Michelangelo chose to display the Prophet Isaiah in in the Sistine Chapel:

enter image description here

(Note that the Norman Rockwell museum once thought Isaiah is the identical to Isaac, since corrected.)

The Russian Wikipedia has a nice description of the paiting:

The composition of the picture literally copies the figure of the prophet Isaiah from the fresco of Michelangelo from the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Although the prophet does not have a box of sandwiches and Red Cross badges, he sits in the same position as a comically-muscular red-haired girl sitting on the background of a wave falling in the American flag, with sandwiches in her hand. On her lap there is a pneumatic gun for riveting and a lunch box with her name “Rosie”, which allows without any signature on the picture to recognize the heroine of the famous song “The Riveter of Rosie”. Her foot tramples a copy of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, which symbolizes her direct contribution to the victory over the enemy. The lightweight construction of the wire above her head creates the impression of a halo and thereby elevates American girls, who have replaced men in the workplace, to the rank of saints.

The Rockwell museum says explicitly:

Rockwell based the pose to match Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling painting of the prophet Isaiah.

  • I don't think the Russian Wikipedia page makes any reference to the J. Howard Miller poster. However, the Saturday Evening Post cover was loaned to the U.S. Treasury Department for the duration of the war for use in war bond drives (as mentioned in the English Wikipedia article ), and was then used in posters during those drives. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 15:23
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    @sempaiscuba AFAIK it doesn't. But I don't understand. OP brings up "poster", and my guess is that that image is more popularly associated with "Rosies", or isn't it? It was in my mind this "poster" made any association with Michelangelo so confusing at first. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 16:24

The “We Can Do it” poster was only seen by Westinghouse Employees as W.H. had hired their own in-house artist. His posters would be displayed for two weeks and then replaced with another of his designs. The posters were eventually donated to the Smithsonian. Rockwell’s painting was only known as the Rosie, admittedly based off of the Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel. Fast forward to the Women’s Movement and they had wanted to use Rockwell’s painting but because of copyright issues they couldn’t. Someone turned them on to the “WCDI” poster and Voila.

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    good (and cogent) answer, would really benefit from some sources or citations.
    – Spike0xff
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 20:37

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