Today we are going to have a look at Futurism and the Futurist movement. This is a very bold and dynamic form of art that started in the early 20th Century. It is not only limited to paintings but became a feature of other forms of art and design. For example there is futurist architecture, futurist films, music, interior design and even food. This post is a supplement to the presentation which you can download here. There will also be a worksheet available for you to download at the end of this post.
The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti launched the Futurist movement in 1909. On 20 February he published his Manifesto of Futurism on the front page of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro.
Futurism was a Modernist movement and even among movements of this type it was extremely aggressive in its rejection and denunciation of the past. The main reason for this was because people like Marinetti believed that Italy’s rich culture heritage from the classical art of the Romans to the religious art of the Renaissance hindered Italy’s cultural, industrial and social development for the new century (20th). By embracing Futurism Italy would be a more modern and wealthier country.
The style was heavily inspired by Cubism.
- It shows change, speed, and movement in the visual arts, painters used Cubist techniques such as intersecting and fragmented plane surfaces. This was to show the many ways to view an object.
- Unlike Cubism, however, Futurists preferred subjects in motion to still life subjects.
Futurism is the only avant-garde artistic movement in the 20th century to espouse and promote far-right political beliefs.
- Its members celebrated the machine and technology so much that they were in a celebratory mood by the time of World War I. By the war’s end, many of the proponents had been killed during military service and the movement had largely lost traction.
- By the 1920s, many Futurists had embraced Fascism.
Though Futurism died out as a movement, it went on to inspire many other twentieth century art movements.
- Among these number Vorticism, Dada, Surrealism, Art Deco, Constructivism, and Neo-Futurism.
- The style has also inspired reactions to it, such as the aesthetic of cyberpunk.
Today, Futurism lives on in Japanese manga and anime, as well as in a few Hollywood movies such as Blade Runner. Though very controversial at the time of its conception, Futurism as a movement was probably the best at capturing the sensibilities of the last one hundred years.