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FUTURISUM
ART HISTORY
NASREEN AKHTAR
MFA DEPARTMENT OF SCULPTURE
FUTURISUM
An Italian movement in art and literature catalyzed by a 1909 manifesto published in a newspaper by Italian poet F. T.
Marinetti. The text celebrated new technology and modernization while advocating for a violent and decisive break from
the past. Working in the years just before World War I, the Futurists portrayed their subjects—often humans, machines,
and vehicles in motion—with fragmented forms and surfaces that evoke the energy and dynamism of urban life in the
early 20th century.
A Brief History of Futurism
Futurism’s reign in Italy was very brief, lasting from 1909 to about 1916, but it left a lasting impression.
 Origins: The term Futurism was coined in 1909, when Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published
“Manifesto del Futurism” (“manifesto of Futurism”) in Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Marinetti’s manifesto
effectively started the Futurist movement, calling for a complete rejection of the past, especially artistic and
political traditions. Marinetti declared that “a roaring motor car is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of
Samothrace,” referring to the famed ancient Greek sculpture displayed in the Louvre.
 Development of artistic style: When Marinetti published his manifesto, Futurism did not have a distinct visual
style—Marinetti was, after all, a writer. But several visual artists were influenced by his words and published
their own Futurist manifestos on painting, sculpture, and architecture, beginning in 1910.
 Lasting influence: World War I effectively brought Futurism to an end. Two of the movement’s biggest stars,
Umberto Boccioni and Antonio Sant’Elia, both died in 1916 during military service. Though Italian Futurism was a
relatively short-lived art movement, it provided inspiration for future movements including
German Expressionism and Dada.
Characteristics of Futurist Art
Futurist art combined a fascination with modern subject matter with a dynamic painting style.
1. Visual depiction of speed and dynamism: Many Futurist paintings and sculptures depict the dynamic action of
speed and movement, and evoking what speed feels like. Some painters chose to capture multiple moments in
time in a single fixed image, as in Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (1912). Sculptors worked to
produce the feeling of movement in their static medium, evidenced by Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of
Continuity in Space (1913).
2. Simultaneity: Futurist paintings often portray multiple objects and figures moving simultaneously, in effect
capturing the spirit and vitality of the modern world. A great example of a single image of rhythmic swirling
forms is Gino Severini’s Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the BAL Tabarin (1912).
3. Technological subject matter: Futurist painters chose to glorify new technology and modern warfare through
their art. Many of the works of art created by Futurist artists feature airplanes, automobiles, tanks, locomotives,
and machinery.
4. Divisionism: Futurist painters put an Italian spin on the technique of divisionism to create a distinctive style.
They broke an image down by painting in stippled stripes and dots, which emphasized the dynamism of the
subject matter. This painting style was inspired by both pointillism and the cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges
Braque.
5. Politics: The Futurists were also active political figures in modern Italy, and their interests in anarchism and anti-
establishment movements were often alluded to or overtly referenced in their art. Many members of the group
were sympathetic towards or outright supporters of Italian fascism during the First World War, including the
movement’s founder, Marinetti, who aligned with Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party in 1919.
Umberto Boccioni
Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) was the leading artist of Italian Futurism. During his short life, he produced some of the
movement’s iconic paintings and sculptures, capturing the color and dynamism of modern life in a style he theorized and
defended in manifestos, books, and articles.
Born in Reggio Calabria, Boccioni attended technical college in Catania, Sicily, and began his artistic career as a talented
draftsman. He moved to Rome in 1899 to train as an artist, first taking drawing lessons with Giovanni Maria Mataloni, an
artist who specialized in publicity posters. Boccioni’s skill in creating compelling compositions in cartoons and posters
stayed with him throughout his career. The commercial work also provided a small income to support his training as a fine
artist
This pioneering work launched Futurism when it was exhibited in Milan in the 1911 Mostra d'arte libera (Exhibition of free
art). The painting combined the brushstrokes and blurred forms of Post-Impressionism with Cubism's fractured
representations. Originally entitled Il lavoro (Work), it depicts the construction of Milan's new electrical power plant. In
the center of the frame, a large red horse surges forward, as three men, their muscles straining, try to guide and control it.
In the background other horses and workers can be seen. The blurred central figures of the men and horse, depicted in
vibrant primary colors, become the focal point of the frenzied movement that surrounds them, suggesting change is born
from chaos and that everyone, including the viewer, is caught up in the transformation. As art critic Michael Brenson notes
"Horses and people are forces of nature pitted against and aligned with one another in a primal struggle from which
Boccioni must have believed something revolutionary would be born".
The work is a celebration of progress and of the working men that drove it, consequently the workers are depicted on a
large scale (the canvas measures 6 ½ x 10 foot) and in a style which references Renaissance ideas of the heroic nude.
Boccioni visually conveys modern labor as a glorious battle with the past to create a new future.
THE CITY RISE
Year: 1910
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 78x119 inch
Carlo Carrà
Born February 11, 1881, Quargnento, Italy—died April 13, 1966, Milan), one of the most influential Italian painters of the
first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his still lifes in the style of Metaphysical painting. Carrà studied painting
briefly at the Brera Academy in Milan, but he was largely self-taught. In 1909 he met the poet Filippo Marinetti and the
artist Umberto Boccioni, who converted him to Futurism, an aesthetic movement that exalted patriotism, modern
technology, dynamism, and speed. Carrà’s most famous painting, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli (1911), embodies
Futurist ideals with its portrayal of dynamic action, power, and violence.
This painting commemorates the funeral of Galli, an anarchist killed during strike action. Hundreds, including women and
children, attended his funeral procession, which was led by a cohort of anarchists. The painting captures the moment that
police mounted on horseback attacked the procession. Carrà was at the funeral and in his later autobiography wrote, "I
found myself unwillingly in the centre of it, before me I saw the coffin, covered in red carnations, sway dangerously on the
shoulders of the pallbearers; I saw horses go mad, sticks and lances clash, it seemed to me that the corpse could have
fallen to the ground at any moment and the horses would have trampled it. Deeply struck, as soon as I got home I did a
drawing of what I had seen".
Galli's coffin, draped in a red cloth, is shown in the center of the canvas, held aloft by anarchists, depicted in black. They
press energetically forward towards a wall of police cavalry on the left. Rays of light emanate from the coffin, illuminating
the dark, merging mass of humanity and indicating Galli as the focus of the piece; referencing his role in igniting the
current violence. The top third of the painting is dominated by strong diagonal lines with flagpoles, banners, lances, and
cranes suggesting the melee and siege apparatus of war.
Carrà's initial sketches for the work used a more traditional perspective, but, after a trip to Paris with other Futurists in
1910 where they encountered Pablo Picasso's Cubist works, the artist dramatically changed the painting to include
fracturing, using it to demonstrate intense movement. This technique was described in a 1912 version of the Futurist
Manifesto using Funeral of the Anarchist Galli as a reference. The manifesto noted that "If we paint the phases of a riot,
the crowd bustling with uplifted fists and the noisy onslaught of the cavalry are translated upon the canvas in sheaves of
lines corresponding to the conflicting forces, following the general law of violence of the picture. These force-lines must
encircle and involve the spectator so that he will in a manner be forced to struggle himself with the persons in the picture.
Funeral of the Anarchist Galli
The Year: 1910
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 78x102 inch
Bibliography
 http://www.designishistory.com/1850/futurism/
 https://www.masterclass.com/articles/futurism-art-guide#a-brief-history-of-futurism
 https://www.theartstory.org/movement/futurism/artworks/#pnt_1
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism

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FUTURISM (Nasreen Akhtar).pdf

  • 2. FUTURISUM An Italian movement in art and literature catalyzed by a 1909 manifesto published in a newspaper by Italian poet F. T. Marinetti. The text celebrated new technology and modernization while advocating for a violent and decisive break from the past. Working in the years just before World War I, the Futurists portrayed their subjects—often humans, machines, and vehicles in motion—with fragmented forms and surfaces that evoke the energy and dynamism of urban life in the early 20th century.
  • 3. A Brief History of Futurism Futurism’s reign in Italy was very brief, lasting from 1909 to about 1916, but it left a lasting impression.  Origins: The term Futurism was coined in 1909, when Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published “Manifesto del Futurism” (“manifesto of Futurism”) in Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Marinetti’s manifesto effectively started the Futurist movement, calling for a complete rejection of the past, especially artistic and political traditions. Marinetti declared that “a roaring motor car is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace,” referring to the famed ancient Greek sculpture displayed in the Louvre.  Development of artistic style: When Marinetti published his manifesto, Futurism did not have a distinct visual style—Marinetti was, after all, a writer. But several visual artists were influenced by his words and published their own Futurist manifestos on painting, sculpture, and architecture, beginning in 1910.  Lasting influence: World War I effectively brought Futurism to an end. Two of the movement’s biggest stars, Umberto Boccioni and Antonio Sant’Elia, both died in 1916 during military service. Though Italian Futurism was a relatively short-lived art movement, it provided inspiration for future movements including German Expressionism and Dada.
  • 4. Characteristics of Futurist Art Futurist art combined a fascination with modern subject matter with a dynamic painting style. 1. Visual depiction of speed and dynamism: Many Futurist paintings and sculptures depict the dynamic action of speed and movement, and evoking what speed feels like. Some painters chose to capture multiple moments in time in a single fixed image, as in Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (1912). Sculptors worked to produce the feeling of movement in their static medium, evidenced by Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913). 2. Simultaneity: Futurist paintings often portray multiple objects and figures moving simultaneously, in effect capturing the spirit and vitality of the modern world. A great example of a single image of rhythmic swirling forms is Gino Severini’s Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the BAL Tabarin (1912). 3. Technological subject matter: Futurist painters chose to glorify new technology and modern warfare through their art. Many of the works of art created by Futurist artists feature airplanes, automobiles, tanks, locomotives, and machinery. 4. Divisionism: Futurist painters put an Italian spin on the technique of divisionism to create a distinctive style. They broke an image down by painting in stippled stripes and dots, which emphasized the dynamism of the subject matter. This painting style was inspired by both pointillism and the cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. 5. Politics: The Futurists were also active political figures in modern Italy, and their interests in anarchism and anti- establishment movements were often alluded to or overtly referenced in their art. Many members of the group were sympathetic towards or outright supporters of Italian fascism during the First World War, including the movement’s founder, Marinetti, who aligned with Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party in 1919.
  • 5. Umberto Boccioni Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) was the leading artist of Italian Futurism. During his short life, he produced some of the movement’s iconic paintings and sculptures, capturing the color and dynamism of modern life in a style he theorized and defended in manifestos, books, and articles. Born in Reggio Calabria, Boccioni attended technical college in Catania, Sicily, and began his artistic career as a talented draftsman. He moved to Rome in 1899 to train as an artist, first taking drawing lessons with Giovanni Maria Mataloni, an artist who specialized in publicity posters. Boccioni’s skill in creating compelling compositions in cartoons and posters stayed with him throughout his career. The commercial work also provided a small income to support his training as a fine artist This pioneering work launched Futurism when it was exhibited in Milan in the 1911 Mostra d'arte libera (Exhibition of free art). The painting combined the brushstrokes and blurred forms of Post-Impressionism with Cubism's fractured representations. Originally entitled Il lavoro (Work), it depicts the construction of Milan's new electrical power plant. In the center of the frame, a large red horse surges forward, as three men, their muscles straining, try to guide and control it. In the background other horses and workers can be seen. The blurred central figures of the men and horse, depicted in vibrant primary colors, become the focal point of the frenzied movement that surrounds them, suggesting change is born from chaos and that everyone, including the viewer, is caught up in the transformation. As art critic Michael Brenson notes "Horses and people are forces of nature pitted against and aligned with one another in a primal struggle from which Boccioni must have believed something revolutionary would be born". The work is a celebration of progress and of the working men that drove it, consequently the workers are depicted on a large scale (the canvas measures 6 ½ x 10 foot) and in a style which references Renaissance ideas of the heroic nude. Boccioni visually conveys modern labor as a glorious battle with the past to create a new future.
  • 6. THE CITY RISE Year: 1910 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 78x119 inch
  • 7. Carlo Carrà Born February 11, 1881, Quargnento, Italy—died April 13, 1966, Milan), one of the most influential Italian painters of the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his still lifes in the style of Metaphysical painting. Carrà studied painting briefly at the Brera Academy in Milan, but he was largely self-taught. In 1909 he met the poet Filippo Marinetti and the artist Umberto Boccioni, who converted him to Futurism, an aesthetic movement that exalted patriotism, modern technology, dynamism, and speed. Carrà’s most famous painting, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli (1911), embodies Futurist ideals with its portrayal of dynamic action, power, and violence. This painting commemorates the funeral of Galli, an anarchist killed during strike action. Hundreds, including women and children, attended his funeral procession, which was led by a cohort of anarchists. The painting captures the moment that police mounted on horseback attacked the procession. Carrà was at the funeral and in his later autobiography wrote, "I found myself unwillingly in the centre of it, before me I saw the coffin, covered in red carnations, sway dangerously on the shoulders of the pallbearers; I saw horses go mad, sticks and lances clash, it seemed to me that the corpse could have fallen to the ground at any moment and the horses would have trampled it. Deeply struck, as soon as I got home I did a drawing of what I had seen".
  • 8. Galli's coffin, draped in a red cloth, is shown in the center of the canvas, held aloft by anarchists, depicted in black. They press energetically forward towards a wall of police cavalry on the left. Rays of light emanate from the coffin, illuminating the dark, merging mass of humanity and indicating Galli as the focus of the piece; referencing his role in igniting the current violence. The top third of the painting is dominated by strong diagonal lines with flagpoles, banners, lances, and cranes suggesting the melee and siege apparatus of war. Carrà's initial sketches for the work used a more traditional perspective, but, after a trip to Paris with other Futurists in 1910 where they encountered Pablo Picasso's Cubist works, the artist dramatically changed the painting to include fracturing, using it to demonstrate intense movement. This technique was described in a 1912 version of the Futurist Manifesto using Funeral of the Anarchist Galli as a reference. The manifesto noted that "If we paint the phases of a riot, the crowd bustling with uplifted fists and the noisy onslaught of the cavalry are translated upon the canvas in sheaves of lines corresponding to the conflicting forces, following the general law of violence of the picture. These force-lines must encircle and involve the spectator so that he will in a manner be forced to struggle himself with the persons in the picture.
  • 9. Funeral of the Anarchist Galli The Year: 1910 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 78x102 inch
  • 10. Bibliography  http://www.designishistory.com/1850/futurism/  https://www.masterclass.com/articles/futurism-art-guide#a-brief-history-of-futurism  https://www.theartstory.org/movement/futurism/artworks/#pnt_1  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism