Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913
Luigi Russolo, The Revolt, 1911
Christopher Nevinson, Returning to the Trenches, 1914-15
In 1909, the Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published the Futurist Manifesto, thus instigating an artistic movement that would dominate the country’s art for the next few years, and aid in the formation of several later movements, including Vorticism and Aeropittura. The abstract style focused on speed, movement, technology, industrialism and, obviously, the future.
But the Italian artists involved were also interested in the outbreak of World War One in 1914. They were frustrated that Italy took so long to join the war, which they saw as a means to a better and brighter world. Marinetti even described war as being ‘the world’s only hygiene’.
Names associated with the Italian Futurist movement include Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà and Giacomo Balla. Russian Futurism, which began slightly later in 1912, though was entirely influenced by its Italian brother, involved artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. Some earlier war works of the English painter Christopher Nevinson show similarities with the Futurist style and subject matter (he was also, at one point, good friends with Marinetti).
Natalia Goncharova, The Cyclist, 1913
Giacomo Balla, Velocity of Cars and Light, 1913