Surrealism in Salvador Dali’s sculptures
The Futurists aimed to sweep away what they considered old, traditional notions of art. They wanted to portray dynamic visions of modern life and new technology such as trains, cars and aeroplanes. They glorified speed and violence.
Like many other futurists, Depero's work depicted warfare and a fusing of man and machine. His stance on war, however, was more ambiguous than Serrada's.
Futurists sought to convey the sensations of speed and movement in their paintings, sculptures, poetry, and manifestos. Their dynamism may appear in the compositional turbulence of abstract works, or as frenetic energy in figurative ones.
The ringleader of this group, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, launched Futurism in 1909 with a manifesto published on the front page of Le Figaro. It slammed cultural tradition (passatismo, in Italian) and glorified modernity, war, violence, and the machine.
Futurist painters like Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla took inspiration from late-19th-century scientist Etienne-Jules Marey's chronophotographic studies of animal and human movements. They also looked to the Cubists, who used fragmented planes to depict movement.
For example, Boccioni's painting Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913) depicts a figure striding forward with powerful legs that create vortexes of air. It's a futuristic incarnation of the mythological winged victory of Samothrace, but ready to leap into battle. Futurists applied the dynamism of motion to poetry and music as well, as Marinetti developed a poetic style he called parole in liberta.
As the world faces new challenges, including climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, young people must have access to quality education. Ensuring that all youth can learn skills and gain qualifications is essential for their employment and entrepreneurship, as well as contributing to economic development and reducing poverty.
Futurists sought to be at the forefront of modern changes and to promote new ideas. Their Manifesto called for the glorification of progress, industry and mechanization while rejecting old concepts and institutions.
The Futurists also pushed for revolutionary changes in literature. Their subversive approach included the abolition of syntax, metrical reform and onomatopoeia. They ridiculed traditional lyrical and epic poetry.
Artists like Marinetti, Boccioni and Giacomo Balla embraced the movement and sought to translate its dynamism into visual art. Using geometric forms, they portrayed dynamic motion, often depicting city scenes. Futurist sculptures showed reshaped classical figures in poses that reflect unpredictable change. In paintings, they used broken color fields and short brushstrokes.
Futurists' fascination with speed, machinery, and modern technology was a key element in the movement. They rejected the past with its art and culture and viewed war as a way to destroy the old world to build the future. When World War I broke out in 1915, Futurists enlisted for service, and most, including Boccioni, Balla, and Carra, would be killed.
Schatzberg suggests that there are two sharply divergent traditions of talking about technology, one that reduces it to instrumental reasoning—the process of finding the best means to a specific end—and another that views it as a cultural force that is independent of human values. He says scholars need to 'liberate technology from its determinists' who view it as a self-directed system that lacks a moral compass.' They should 'popularize a cultural view of technology' that incorporates aesthetics and ethics. The Futurists' glorification of violence and adulation of fascism led many to embrace that ideology. The movement's emphasis on youth, speed, and technology would inspire later movements like Cubism, Art Deco, Vorticism, Constructivism and a much more recent form called neo-futurism.
In its early phase futurism was a highly political movement. The artists railed against tradition, repudiated the cult of the past and all imitation, embraced originality "however daring, however violent," and strove to capture a sense of chaotic change, especially in sculpture. The movement was also fervently nationalist.
The Milanese painters Boccioni, Carra, Balla, and Severini, as well as the composer Luigi Russolo, all promoted futurism’s ideas. They rewrote history through their art, for example with Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1910), which reshaped Hellenistic figures, and painted the city with overlapping planes that represented its frenetic energy.
By 1914, when Italy entered World War I, futurism’s unified philosophy began to unravel. Many of the group’s key members enlisted in the military, including Marinetti, who founded a Futurist political party that would be absorbed by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist movement only a year later. The schism was finalized in 1916 when Boccioni died in training.