futurism


futurism
/fyooh"cheuh riz'euhm/, n.
1. (sometimes cap.) a style of the fine arts developed originally by a group of Italian artists about 1910 in which forms derived chiefly from cubism were used to represent rapid movement and dynamic motion.
2. (often cap.) a style of art, literature, music, etc., and a theory of art and life in which violence, power, speed, mechanization or machines, and hostility to the past or to traditional forms of expression were advocated or portrayed.
[1905-10; < It futurismo. See FUTURE, -ISM]

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I
Early 20th-century art movement, centred in Italy, that celebrated the dynamism, speed, and power of the machine and the vitality and restlessness of modern life.

The term was coined by Filippo Marinetti, who in 1909 published a manifesto glorifying the new technology of the automobile and the beauty of its speed and power. In 1910 Umberto Boccioni and others published a manifesto on painting. They adopted the Cubist technique of depicting several views of an object simultaneously with fragmented planes and outlines and used rhythmic spatial repetitions of the object's outlines in transit to render movement. Their preferred subjects were speeding cars and trains, racing cyclists, and urban crowds; their palette was more vibrant than the Cubists'. With Boccioni, the most prominent Futurist artists were his teacher, Giacomo Balla (1871–1958), and Gino Severini (1883–1966). Boccioni's death in 1916 and World War I brought an end to the movement, which had a strong influence in postrevolutionary Russia and on Dada.
II
Literary, artistic, and political movement.

Futurism, which began in Italy about 1909, was marked especially by violent rejection of tradition and an effort to give formal expression to the dynamic energy and movement of mechanical processes. Its most significant results were in the visual arts and poetry. Futurism was first announced in a manifesto by Filippo Marinetti. The principal Italian Futurist artists were Giacomo Balla (1871–1958), Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà (1881–1966), and Gino Severini (1883–1966). Russian Futurism, founded soon afterward by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Velimir Khlebnikov (1885–1922), went beyond the Italian model in its revolutionary political and social outlook. The movement's influence had ceased to be felt by 1930.

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▪ the arts
Introduction
Italian  Futurismo,  Russian  Futurizm, 

      early 20th-century artistic movement that centred in Italy and emphasized the dynamism, speed, energy, and power of the machine and the vitality, change, and restlessness of modern life in general. The most significant results of the movement were in the visual arts and poetry.

      Futurism was first announced on Feb. 20, 1909, when the Paris newspaper Le Figaro published a manifesto by the Italian poet and editor Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso) (q.v.). The name Futurism, coined by Marinetti, reflected his emphasis on discarding what he conceived to be the static and irrelevant art of the past and celebrating change, originality, and innovation in culture and society. Marinetti's manifesto glorified the new technology of the automobile and the beauty of its speed, power, and movement. He exalted violence and conflict and called for the sweeping repudiation of traditional cultural, social, and political values and the destruction of such cultural institutions as museums and libraries. The manifesto's rhetoric was passionately bombastic; its tone was aggressive and inflammatory and was purposely intended to inspire public anger and amazement, to arouse controversy, and to attract widespread attention.

Painting and sculpture
      With the support of Marinetti, the painters Umberto Boccioni (Boccioni, Umberto), Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, and Gino Severini published several manifestos on painting in 1910. Like Marinetti, they glorified originality for its own sake and despised inherited traditions of art. Although they were not as yet working in what was to become the Futurist style, they began to emphasize an emotional involvement in the dynamics of modern life, and toward this end they called for rendering the perception of movement and communicating to the viewer the sensations of speed and change. To achieve this, the Futurist painters adopted the Cubist (Cubism) technique of depicting several sides and views of an object simultaneously by means of fragmented and interpenetrating plane surfaces and outlines. But the Futurists additionally sought to portray the object's movement in space, and they tried to achieve this goal by rhythmic spatial repetitions of the object's outlines during its transit, producing an effect akin to that obtained by making multiple and sequential photographic exposures of a moving object. The Futurist paintings differed from Cubist ones in other important ways. While the Cubists favoured still life and portraiture, the Futurists preferred such subjects as speeding automobiles and trains, racing cyclists, dancers, animals, and urban crowds in movement. The resulting paintings had brighter and more vibrant colours than Cubist works and revealed dynamic, agitated compositions in which rhythmically swirling forms reached crescendos of violent movement.

      Boccioni also became interested in sculpture (Western sculpture), publishing a manifesto on the subject in the spring of 1912. Soon afterward, he began working in this medium, creating the highly original “Development of a Bottle in Space” (1912) and “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913). Antonio Sant'Elia (Sant'Elia, Antonio) formulated a Futurist manifesto on architecture (Western architecture) in 1914. His visionary drawings of highly mechanized cities and boldly modern skyscrapers of the future prefigure some of the most imaginative 20th-century architectural planning. Sant'Elia was killed in action in 1916 during World War I.

      Boccioni, who had been the most talented artist in the group, also died during military service in 1916. This event, combined with dilution of the group's daring as a result of expansion of its personnel and the coming of war, brought an end to the Futurist movement as an important historical force in the visual arts.

      After his initial broad manifesto of 1909, Marinetti wrote or had a hand in creating a whole series of manifestos dealing with poetry, the theatre, architecture, and other arts. He founded the journal Poesia at Paris in 1905, and he later founded a press with the same name to publish Futurist works. On proselytizing visits to England, France, Germany, and Russia, Marinetti influenced the work of the English founder of Vorticism, Wyndham Lewis, and the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire.

      In Russia the Marinetti visit took root in a kind of Russian Futurism that went beyond its Italian model in a revolutionary social and political outlook. Marinetti influenced the two Russian writers considered the founders of Russian Futurism, Velimir Khlebnikov (Khlebnikov, Velimir Vladimirovich) (q.v.), who remained a poet and a mystic, and the younger Vladimir Mayakovsky (Mayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich) (q.v.), who became “the poet of the Revolution” and the popular spokesman of his generation. The Russians published their own manifesto in December 1912, entitled Poshchochina obshchestvennomu vkusu (“A Slap in the Face of Public Taste”), which echoed the Italian manifesto of the previous May. The Russian Futurists repudiated Aleksandr Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Leo Tolstoy and the then-current Russian symbolist verse and called for the creation of new techniques of writing poetry. Both the Russian and the Italian Futurist poets discarded logical sentence construction and traditional grammar and syntax; they frequently presented an incoherent string of words stripped of their meaning and used for their sound alone. As the first group of artists to identify wholeheartedly with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (Russian Revolution of 1917), the Russian Futurists sought to dominate post-Revolutionary culture and create a new art that would be integrated into all aspects of daily life of a revolutionary culture. They were favoured by Anatoly Lunacharsky, the first Soviet commissar of education, and given important cultural posts. But the Russian Futurists' challenging literary techniques and their theoretical premises of revolt and innovation proved too unstable a foundation upon which to build a broader literary movement. The Futurists' influence was negligible by the time of Mayakovsky's death in 1930.

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Universalium. 2010.

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