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Artists Antonio Sant'Elia
Antonio Sant'Elia Photo

Antonio Sant'Elia

Italian Architect

Movement: Futurism

Born: 30th April 1888 - Como, Lombardy, Italy

Died: 10th October 1916 - Isonzo, Gorizia, Italy

Antonio Sant'Elia Timeline

"Futurist architecture . . . is not an arid combination of practicality and utility, but remains art, that is, synthesis and expression"

Summary

An architectural visionary, Antonio Sant'Elia is best known for his futuristic designs for a modern city, La Citta Nuovo (1913-14), that anticipated many contemporary technologies as well as pre-empting the styles of Art Deco. A significant member of the Italian Futurists, Sant'Elia helped to form the movement's ideas on architecture and was a key figure in the production of the Manifesto of Futurist Architecture (1914). His career was cut tragically short by his death in the First World War at the age of 28. Because of this, few of his designs were actually built, but he is remembered for his skilled draftsmanship, bold sketches, and unique view of the future.

Key Ideas

Incorporating innovative technology into his designs was of the upmost importance to Sant'Elia who saw new ideas, practices and materials as having the potential to remake the urban world. His buildings have vast expanses of glass and are constructed of new materials such as steel and concrete. He also included technologically focused infrastructure such as tramways and airplane hangars into his work.
Geometric shapes, particularly cubes and pyramids, form the essential building blocks of much of Sant'Elia's work and this places him firmly in the modernist canon. Many of his later pieces are also on a huge scale, and he used the oversized nature of the buildings, in conjunction with their distinctive shapes, to physically represent their modernity.
Although not directly associated with the movement until 1914, Sant'Elia shared a lot of ideas with the Futurists. Most notable amongst these is his concept of the city as a mechanized organism with both man and machine at its very heart. Sant'Elia's legacy was maintained and popularized by Marinetti in the post-war period and he became an inspirational figure to the second generation of Futurists.
Antonio Sant'Elia Photo

Antonio Sant'Elia was born in Como, Lombardy in 1888 to Christine Panzillo and Luigi Sant'Elia. His father was a barber, and he had two siblings, a younger brother (Guido) and an older sister (Giuseppina), but little else is known of his childhood and early years.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Antonio Sant'Elia
Interactive chart with Antonio Sant'Elia's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Filippo Tommaso MarinettiFilippo Tommaso Marinetti
Otto WagnerOtto Wagner
Adolf LoosAdolf Loos
Renzo Picasso

Personal Contacts

Mario Chiattone
Girolamo Fontana
Arrigo Finzi
Giuseppe Mentessi

Movements

FuturismFuturism

Influences on Artist
Antonio Sant'Elia
Antonio Sant'Elia
Years Worked: 1909 - 1914
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Helmut Jahn
John Portman

Personal Contacts

Mario Chiattone

Movements

FuturismFuturism
Art NouveauArt Nouveau
Art DecoArt Deco
Modernism and Modern ArtModernism and Modern Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Marley Treloar

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Marley Treloar
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson
Available from:
First published on 25 Mar 2019. Updated and modified regularly.
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