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Umberto Boccioni Photo

Umberto Boccioni

Italian Painter, Sculptor, and Theoretician

Movements and Styles: Italian Futurism, Cubism, Neo-Impressionism

Born: October 19, 1882 - Reggio Calabria, Italy

Died: August 17, 1916 - Sorte, Italy

Umberto Boccioni Timeline

Important Art by Umberto Boccioni

The below artworks are the most important by Umberto Boccioni - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

Self-Portrait (1905)

Self-Portrait (1905)

Artwork description & Analysis: This Self-Portrait demonstrates Boccioni's style as a student at the Academy in Rome.Although it differs greatly from his mature Futurism, being far softer in its tone and brushwork, he cherished the picture and never sold it during his lifetime. It is typical of the period when he was moving from a style inspired by early Impressionism to a more volumetric approach suggested by study of works by Paul Cézanne.

Oil on canvas - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The City Rises (1910)

The City Rises (1910)

Artwork description & Analysis: The City Rises is considered by many to be the very first truly Futurist painting. Boccioni took a year to complete it and it was exhibited throughout Europe shortly after it was finished. It testifies to the hold that Neo-Impressionism and Symbolism maintained on the movement's artists even after Futurism was inaugurated in 1909. It was not until around 1911 that Boccioni adapted elements of Cubism to create a distinct Futurist style. Nevertheless, The City Rises does capture the group's love of dynamism and their fondness for the modern city. A large horse races into the foreground while several workers struggle to gain control of it, suggesting a primeval conflict between humanity and beasts. The horse and figures are blurred, communicating rapid movement while other elements, such as the buildings in the background, are rendered more realistically. At the same time, the perspective teeters dramatically in different sections of the painting.

Oil on canvas - Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Street Enters the House (1911)

The Street Enters the House (1911)

Artwork description & Analysis: The geometric elements and the perspectival distortion in The The Street Enters the House demonstrate the influence of Expressionism and Cubism on Boccioni. According to the original catalog entry for the work, "The dominating sensation is that which one would experience on opening a window: all life, and the noises of the street rush in at the same time as the movement and the reality of the objects outside."

Oil on canvas - Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany

States of Mind I: The Farewells (1911)

States of Mind I: The Farewells (1911)

Artwork description & Analysis: The Farewells was the first of Boccioni's three-part series, States of Mind, which has long been seen as one of the high points of the Futurist style in painting. The focal point of the picture is provided by movement itself - the locomotive,the airplane, the automobile: modern machines that gave new meaning to the word "speed." In this work, set in a train station, Boccioni captures the dynamism of movement and chaos, depicting people being consumed by, or fused with, the steam from the locomotive as it whizzes past.

Oil on canvas - Museum of Modern Art, New York

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913)

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913)

Artwork description & Analysis: Although Boccioni was a painter first and foremost, his brief forays into sculpture are significant. The speed and fluidity of movement - what Boccioni called "a synthetic continuity" - is brilliantly captured in this bronze piece,with the human figure gliding through space, almost as if man himself is becoming machine, moving head-on into forceful winds. Possibly in homage to Auguste Rodin's Walking Man (1877-8), and the famous Greek statue Nike of Samothrace (220-190 B.C.), Boccioni left the sculpture without arms.

Bronze - Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Charge of the Lancers (1915)

The Charge of the Lancers (1915)

Artwork description & Analysis: The Charge of the Lancers is the only known work by Boccioni that is devoted exclusively to the theme of war. Being a collage, Charge was also a rare departure for the artist in terms of medium.In previous works, Boccioni had used the figure of the horse as a symbol for work, but in this collage the horse becomes a symbol of war and natural strength, since it appears to be overcoming a horde of German bayonets. If, in fact, Boccioni was establishing the brute strength of the horse over man-made weapons, it would suggest a slight departure from the Futurist principles of Marinetti. This work also eerily prefigures Boccioni's own death from having been trampled by a horse.

Tempera and collage on pasteboard - Ricardo and Magda Jucker Collection,Milan



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Umberto Boccioni Photo

Related Art and Artists

Mont Sainte-Victoire (c.1905)

Mont Sainte-Victoire (c.1905)

Artist: Paul Cézanne

Artwork description & Analysis: This is one of the last landscapes of Mont Sainte-Victoire, favored by Cézanne at the end of his life. The view is rendered in what is essentially an abstract vocabulary. Rocks and trees are suggested by mere daubs of paint as opposed to being extensively depicted. The overall composition itself, however, is clearly representational and also follows in the ethos of Japanese prints. The looming mountain is reminiscent of a puzzle of various hues, assembled into a recognizable object. This and other such late works of Cézanne proved to be of a paramount importance to the emerging modernists, who sought to liberate themselves from the rigid tradition of pictorial depiction.

Oil on canvas - The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow

The Age of Bronze (1876 (cast in bronze c.1906))

The Age of Bronze (1876 (cast in bronze c.1906))

Artist: Auguste Rodin

Artwork description & Analysis: A young officer was the model for this sculpture, which provided the first great succès de scandale, or "success of a scandal," of Rodin's career. The composition and rough surface of the figure were unconventional by academic standards. The subject also remained obscure - the title only vaguely suggesting classical art - and prompted confusion among critics; rather than clothe his image of man in respected symbolism, Rodin had presented a common man, naked. But controversy ultimately centered on allegations that the piece was a direct cast from the body rather than a modeled sculpture. The allegations were a testament to Rodin's technical skills, though the suggestion that he had somehow cheated heartily offended the sculptor, who was able to disprove the claim with photographs of his model.

Bronze - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on the Mantlepiece (1911)
Artwork Images

Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on the Mantlepiece (1911)

Artist: Georges Braque

Artwork description & Analysis: Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on the Mantlepiece is typical of Braque's subject matter, yet is unique as an early example of collage. In this painting, he stenciled the word "valse" to mean "waltz," in continuation with his interest in musical themes and instruments. "RHU" are first three letters for the French word for rum. Again using an exploded perspective, the viewer barely perceives a scroll in the lower right corner, which could allude to a human head, a violin or cello, or the mantelpiece in the title.

Oil on canvas - Tate Collection, London

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Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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