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Ardengo Soffici - Natura morta

Futurism in Tuscany

The key players of the Tuscan Futurist movement

The Futurist movement broke onto the European scene at the start of 1909, following the publication of articles by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in his paper, Le Figaro. These articles were then gathered together and re-published as the Futurist Manifesto.
Futurism exalted themes like technology, progress, the use of machinery, cars, ran contrary to ‘official’ views of the day which until then had supported classicism, tradition and academic studies. Thus the myth of heroism was born, the myth of action for action’s sake, and all in a context in which politics would soon be based on nationalism and interventionism. This avant-garde movement soon became diffused into many different parts of society including literature, figurative art, music, theatre and cinema. Because of this wide diffusion of the movement, it’s difficult to isolate and examine the regional context, although many representatives of the movement were certainly active in Tuscany.

After the first ‘Manifesto’ by the movement’s founder, many further declarations were made concerning all areas of human knowledge. If we limit ourselves simply to the field of art then we may examine the Futurist Painters Manifesto (1910), signed by Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and Ardengo Soffici. The Futurist Sculpture Manifesto was undersigned by Umberto Boccioni in 1912 and the Futurist Architecture Manifesto was edited by Marinetti in 1929. The same year saw the publication of the Futurist Aeropainting Manifesto, signed by Fortunato Depero, Enrico Prampolini and Gherardo Dottori.
In order to examine the Futurist movement in Tuscany, we must look to artists such as Carlo Carrà who, in one of his more mature phases, took inspiration from Giotto and Masaccio. There is also Gino Severini and Ardengo Soffici, the founding member of ‘La Voce’, a paper which wanted to bring together Futurism and Cubism. One of Soffici’s works hangs in the Modern Art Gallery in Florence.

We can also find examples of Futurist inspired architecture and in certain parts of the transport infrastructure which we can trace back to the myth of speed so admired by Futurists. Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, which was designed by Giovanni Michelucci and the ‘Firenze-Mare’ main road (one of the first such roads built in Italy) are two classic examples.