Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Boccioni, Umberto

Nudo di spalle
oil on canvas
60 x 55.2 cm
Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento, Italy

The woman represented in Naked shoulders with the open back is the mother of the Calabrian. The light seems fragmented into a thousand flashes that are made on the woman’s skin through endless filaments of pure color, next to one another in line with the pointillist painting technique combined with Post-Impressionist influences.

Umberto Boccioni (1882 -1916) was an Italian painter, sculptor, and theorist of the Futurist movement in art.
He was born in Reggio Calabria, the southernmost tip of mainland Italy. His father was a minor government employee, originally from the Romagna region in the north.
He was trained from 1898 to 1902 in the studio of the painter Giacomo Balla, where he learned to paint in the manner of the Pointillists. In 1907 he settled in Milan and gradually came under the influence of the poet Filippo Marinetti, who launched the literary movement Futurism, which glorified the dynamism of modern technology. He adapted Marinetti’s ideas to the visual arts and became the leading theoretician of Futurist art. In 1910 he and other painters drew up and published the Technical Manifesto of the Futurist Painters, promoting the representation of the symbols of modern technology - violence, power, and speed.

Boccioni was probably influenced by Cubism in 1911-12, and about this time he also became interested in sculpture. In 1912 he published the Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture, several of whose suggestions anticipated developments in modern sculpture. Boccioni advocated the use in sculpture of non-traditional materials such as glass, wood, cement, cloth, and electric lights, and he called for the combination of a variety of materials in one piece of sculpture. He also envisioned a new type of sculpture that would mold and enclose the space within itself.

Boccioni enlisted in the army at an artillery regiment near Verona during World War I, and was killed by a fall from a horse during a cavalry training exercise in 1916, at the age of thirty-four. He was the most talented of the Futurist artists, and his untimely death marked the virtual end of the movement.