Umberto Boccioni





Umberto Boccioni is an Italian painter and sculptor. He was the greatest representative of Futurism, to which he contributed as a theorist as well. 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). In these early years he was very attentive to the symbolic culture of the Secession and to the expressionism of Edvard Munch 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 "Manifesto tecnico della pittura futurista" (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 "La città che sale" (The rising city), 1910 ca. 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: Visioni simultanee, La risata, and the triptych of mood: Gli addii, Quelli che vanno, Quelli che restano; a second version of the triptych, painted after the trip to Paris reveals the study of Cubism. In 1911 Boccioni also began his activity as a sculptor. 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 "Manifesto tecnico della scultura futurista" (Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture), 1912, and created various works, including Elasticità (1912), Dinamismo di un foot-baller (1913), Cavallo + cavaliere + caseggiato (1914). 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 study. This new fruitful period, which was abruptly interrupted by the artist's death in 1916, culminated in the Ritratto del maestro Busoni (1916). His numerous writings, including an unpublished Manifesto dell’architettura futurista, have been collected in recent years (1971-72)