Umberto Boccioni





Umberto Boccioni is an Italian painter and sculptor. He was the greatest representative of Futurism, to which he too contributed as a theorist. In 1901 he moved to Rome, where, having met Severini, he attended together with Mario Sironi and Duilio Cambellotti the studio of Giacomo Balla, who was his master of pointillist naturalism. After stays in Paris, Russia, Padua and Venice, he settled in Milan towards the end of 1907. Here, from the meeting with Previati, he emphasized the psychological interest in the image, gave a first formulation of his theory of the state of mind and engaged in a direct study of the "modern industrial society" (1907-10): Portrait of the mother (1907, Milan, Gall . D'Arte Mod.), Portrait of the painter Adriana Bisi Gabbri (1907, Rome, Coll. Campigli), Self-portrait (1908, Milan, Brera), Officine a Porta Romana (1908, Rome, Coll. Banca Commerciale Italiana). In these early years he was very attentive to the symbolic culture of the Secession and to the expressionism of Edvard Munch (Il munch, 1910, coll. Priv.) And of the Germans. His concepts of "dynamism" and "simultaneity" derive from a direct and original reading and interpretation of Bergson's philosophy. It was from these two elements that the Futurist synthesis of the plastic and chromatic element was born: after a series of meetings with Carrà, Russolo and Marinetti, Boccioni signed the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting in 1910. From this moment the history of his artistic research coincides with the history of Futurism. The first major work to be found at the beginning of the new period is The city that rises (1910 ca, New York, Mus. Of Mod. Art). Immediately afterwards he painted works in which the futurist ideas of the dynamic interpenetration of the planes are realized, of the construction based on the lines of force that determine the spatial unity between object and environment: Simultaneous Visions (1911, Hanover, Niedersachsische Landesgal.), Laughter (New York, Mus. Of Mod. Art), and the triptych of moods: Farewells, Those who go, Those who remain (Milan, Gall. D'Arte Mod.); a second version of the triptych, painted after the trip to Paris (and now in the Mus. Of Mod. Art in New York), reveals the study of Cubism. In 1911 Boccioni also began his activity as a sculptor (Unique forms in the continuity of space, 1913, Milan, Art Gallery Mod.). The following years, 1912, 1913, 1914, were the culminating ones of Futurism and appear to be characterized by a frenetic creative, critical and diffusion activity of the movement in Europe: he wrote the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture (1912) and created various works, including Elasticity (1912, Milan, R. Jucker Coll.), Dynamism of a foot-baller (1913, New York, Signey Janis Coll.), Horse + rider + block (1914, Rome, Mod. Art Gallery). In 1914 he published the collection of theoretical writings Futurist Painting, Sculpture. In 1915 he volunteered for the war; in this year Boccioni made a first detachment from futurist poetics: he attenuated the dynamic element, but he kept his interest in the plastic image, now mediated by Cézanne's studio. This new fruitful period, which was abruptly interrupted by the artist's death in 1916, culminated in the Portrait of the master Busoni (1916, Rome, Gallery of Art Mod.). His numerous writings, including an unpublished Manifesto of Futurist architecture, have been collected in recent years (1971-72) ...