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97 artworks, 19 artists
Futurism (lat. futurum — future) is a general name for a number of literary and artistic movements in the 1910s and 1920s. The founder of the direction was the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. In 1909, in Italy, and immediately after — in France, his Futurist Manifesto was published, in which Marinetti glorified progress, industrial development and mechanization of production, as well as opposed obsolete social and cultural institutions. The ideas of the poet were supported by Milanese artists, first of all, Umberto Boccioni, as well as Gino Severini, Carlo Carra, Giacomo Balla and others.
In 1910, Boccioni and a group of like-minded people wrote “The Manifesto of Futurist Artists,” in which they urged “to fight against the fanatical meaninglessness and snobbish religion of the past with all our might” and make every effort to bring originality to the art. The focus was on painting, which enabled to create a dynamic feeling, and the idea was to send all “bituminous shades” and “nudity” to the dustbin of history. “The gesture that we reproduce on our canvases will no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It should be just a dynamic sensation. Indeed, everything is moving, everything is changing rapidly ... We need to return to life at all costs,” the Manifesto proclaimed.
The first futurist painting is considered the Boccioni’s “The City Rises” (1910), which, among others, was presented in 1911 at the Free Art Exhibition in Milan. Italian futurists combined post-impressionism, divisionism, pointillism and cubism in the palette of their creative techniques. In an attempt to convey the dynamics of motion, they often included paintings of destruction, disappearing or emerging forms, turbulent motion in their compositions, and used sweeping wide brushstrokes. Futurism looked into the future with confidence: as artists chose cars, bicycles, planes, ships and other technological advances as the objects of their paintings. Another hallmark of the art movement was the use of pure, vibrant colours.
In 1912, Italian futurism loudly declared itself in France. The first exhibition of futuristic painting was held in Paris, which provoked heated discussions that penetrated all the capital’s salons. Before the outbreak of World War I, futurism managed to penetrate sculpture (Boccioli), architecture (Antonio Sant’Elia) and music (Luigi Russolo). In wartime, the group broke up, but the movement continued to develop, extracting meanings and ideas from the surrounding chaos.
Russian futurism began to develop almost simultaneously with the Italian one. In 1910, the poetry group Gilea appeared - the first society of futurists, which included Velimir Khlebnikov, David Burliuk, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vasily Kamensky, Alexei Kruchyonykh and others. Their ideas were picked up by the artists from the Jack of Diamonds, Donkey's Tail groups and the Youth Union. The main goal of the futurist art movement was the final break with academicism. As Mikhail Larionov and Ilya Zdanevich wrote in their manifesto “Why We Paint Ourselves” (1913), “...we combined art with life ... we loudly called life, and life invaded art ... Painting of our faces is the beginning of the invasion”. The collaboration of artists and writers led to the creation of numerous joint projects in the field of literature, where texts and images complemented each other.
It is likely that Italian futurism, widely covered by the European press, influenced the formation of the art movement in Russia. However, when in 1914 Marinetti came to Russia and made a similar statement, he was received with hostility. Russian futurists developed their own concepts. So, Natalia Goncharova turned to folk art, drawing inspiration from traditional lubok and developing a new direction of neo-primitivism. Later, together with her husband Mikhail Larionov, they developed their own avant-garde art style – rayonism. Around the same time, cubofuturism arose, a trend that followed the principles of motion fixation using planar expressive colour fields, as well as words and phrases. By 1915, Russian avant-garde movements entered a new stage of their development, the non-figurative art. The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0,10, held in St. Petersburg in 1915, initiated new movements in Russian avant-garde art – Suprematism by Kazimir Malevich and constructivism by Vladimir Tatlin, prouns of El Lissitzky and photographic experiments by Alexander Rodchenko.
Significant futurist paintings: “The City Rises” (1910), Umberto Boccioni “The Pan-Pan Dance in the Monico” (1911), Gino Severini “Blue Dancer” (1912), Gino Severini “Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash” (1912), Giacomo Balla “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913), Umberto Boccioni