Futurism was an avant-garde, artistic and literary movement , which developed between 1909 and 1944 . He left important technical and aesthetic contributions to art and culture. It had its origin in Italy thanks to the publication of the “Futurist Manifesto”, on February 20, 1909. In this article we will impart you the characteristics of Futurism.
We explain in this article what Futurism is, what was its origin, most important characteristics, who were the artists of Futurism and how it influenced different artistic disciplines.
What is futurism
Futurism is one of the many avant-garde artistic currents that originated in Europe in the 20th century. It is an artistic and literary movement eager to break with the traditional . He sought to detach himself from the past and from everything that, until that moment, were considered the primary features of art and poetry.
Instead, he postulated the exaltation of irreverence, the national and the sensual. It was presented as a current, dynamic, aggressive and fierce movement . It was a new kind of beauty, based on speed and the exaltation of violence.
In principle, the axis where it developed was literature, but later it had a very important impact on painting, even in other artistic disciplines. Typographic design is given a privileged place and propaganda is taken as the most important means of communication.
This artistic movement marked an important precedent for the subsequent movements that emerged, such as surrealism . He is also considered an involuntary predecessor of the fascism that will emerge in Italy 30 years later with Mussolini.
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Origin of the Futurist movement
Futurist thought first appeared in Italy on February 20, 1909 when the Italian playwright, editor and poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published in the French newspaper Le Figaro what became known as the Futurist Manifesto . It was a work that rejected the past and moralism. The motto of this first manifesto was “Freedom for words.”
By 1910, there was already a group of the Futurist movement that was led by Marinetti . Among them were the painters Carrá, Balla, Boccioni, Russolo and Severini . Futurism adopts this term because of the intention it had to break with any scheme of past art, especially in Italy, where everything was permeated by artistic tradition.
New art, inspired by machines
This group of futurist artists was looking for a completely new art , corresponding to the new times, the modern mentality and the new needs. For this reason, he takes machines and their attributes as inspiration : strength, speed, speed, energy, movement and dehumanization. It dignifies violence and war, as a space where all the elements of futurism converge.
The revolutionary ideas of Futurism were not limited to art. As with the movements that emerged at that time, it also sought to transform people’s lives. Futurist aesthetics spread a provocative and macho ethic, a lover of war and sport, of danger and violence. Futurism gradually became politicized until it coincided with fascism . Marinetti joined this party in 1919.
Characteristics of Futurism
- They were valued as technical progress, industrialism and technology .
- Its bases were not the past, but the future .
- He was inspired by modern life , speed , violence (militarism) and a total break with the traditional art of the past.
- Advertising was used as a means of communication.
- The typography of that time was exalted . The texts explored the vernacular, the ludic language and the onomatopoeia.
- In their artistic expressions, the futurists tried to express or capture real movement , they indicated speed by exposing moving figures.
- Futurist painting was influenced by abstractionism and cubism , with claims of dynamism. Objects in space described speed.
Here are some of the main exponents of the Futurist movement:
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti | 1876 - 1944
He was the founder of Futurism . He publishes the text Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism in the French newspaper Le Figaro, considered the inaugural document of the movement. It brings together the fundamental artists who will develop Futurism. He begins to devise and publish the first manifestos, he also organizes the first futuristic evenings.
He emphasizes the disruptive profile in his writings, highlighting the word in freedom and resorting to a subversive typographic arrangement. Over time his field of action shifts more towards politics. Marinetti published novels and various writings. He played an important role as a propagandistic executor and accelerator of the different moments of Futurism.
Giacomo Balla | 1871 – 1958
One of the main exponents of Futurism in Italy. In his works of art, this painter tries to reflect scientific and technical advances through completely denatured representations, but without reaching total abstraction.
He showed great concern for the dynamism of the figures, using light for this and integrating the chromatic spectrum. In Rome, he meets Marinetti, Boccioni and Severini; after a year he joined them to sign the well-known Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting.
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Carlos Carrá | 1881 – 1966
Italian painter who gets to know Boccioni and the poet Marinetti. One year after this meeting, he signed the First Futurist Manifesto . Later he met with Modigliani, Apollinaire and Picasso and cubism began to appear in his works.
Umberto Boccioni | 1882 – 1916
Italian painter and sculptor, the most important theoretician and exponent of Futurism . His works were always influenced by cubism, but he incorporated dynamic and simultaneity concepts. It expressed spaces and forms that moved at the same time and in opposite directions.
He was the one who published the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting . By 1912, he participated in the first futuristic exhibition. In his works you could see the concern that the artist had in relation to the concepts proposed by cubism.
Gino Severini | 1883 – 1966
Italian painter, sculptor and graphic artist, he meets Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni. He becomes a co-founder of Futurism by signing the Futurist Manifesto . In 1912, Severini exhibited works at the Futurist exhibitions in Paris, Berlin, and London. It developed good relations between Italy and France, becoming one of the main channels between the Italian colleagues and those that were developing in the capital of France.
Luigi Russolo | 1885 – 1947
Italian painter and composer. He was the author and composer in 1913 of the manifesto called El Arte del Ruido . In this he theorizes the use of noise to get to compose music, leaving aside pure harmonic sounds.
He composed his music with an instrument that he himself created and called the Intonarumori, it was a mechanical device that made discordant sounds that were called “futuristic music.”
Presence of futurism in different disciplines
Futurism was used in different methods of expression, with the first idea of creating art in action. Let’s see how the Futurist movement affected poetry, painting, and architecture.
Cultivated almost exclusively in futuristic Italy and also in its Russian variant, which emerged years before the First World War . Important Russian poets, who were also painters, enthusiastically developed Futurist poetry.
It is common to find revolutionary enthusiasm in these poems . The song to modernity, the machine, progress and the speed of change is the feeling of each of the verses.
Futurism painting used color in its purest form and elementary geometric shapes . This was the immediate heir to Cubism, to such an extent that the first Italian manifestations of Futurist paintings could easily be exhibited as Cubist.
But they immediately went to their own style, with the aim of representing reality in each stroke and each shape. They painted objects in succession , as if they were in motion. It was also common for the figures to be blurred to give them dynamism. Many artists came to abstractionism, venturing into rayonism.
Clinging to anti-historicism, futuristic architecture sought to represent speed . He used long horizontal lines that conveyed movement , urgency, restlessness, continuity.
It was a dynamic trend that valued calculation, simplicity, and boldness . It used materials that offered lightness and agility, such as reinforced concrete, glass, iron, cardboard and textile fiber . These elements replaced brick, wood, and stone.
Futuristic architecture sought to be inspired by the modern world. Just as in ancient times they found inspiration in nature, Futurism did so in today’s world where transience and expiration reigned . This allowed each generation to create its own style of city, leaving the previous ones behind.