What is Futurism
Futurism was a 20th century art movement. The Futurists loved speed, noise, machines, pollution, and cities; they embraced the exciting new world that was then upon them rather than hypocritically enjoying the modern world's comforts while loudly denouncing the forces that made them possible. Fearing and attacking technology has become almost second nature to many people today; the Futurist manifestos show us an alternative philosophy.
Although a nascent Futurism can be seen surfacing throughout the very early years of that century, the 1907 essay Entwurf einer neuen ?sthetik der Tonkunst (Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music) by the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni is sometimes claimed as its true jumping-off point. Futurism was a largely Italian and Russian movement although it also had adherents in other countries.
The Futurists explored every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture and even gastronomy. The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the first among them to produce a manifesto of their artistic philosophy in his Manifesto of Futurism (1909), first released in Milan and published in the French paper Le Figaro (February 20). Marinetti summed up the major principles of the Futurists, including a passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. He and others also espoused a love of speed, technology and violence. The car, the plane, the industrial town were all legendary for the Futurists, because they represented the technological triumph of man over nature.
Marinetti's impassioned polemic immediately attracted the support of the young Milanese painters ? Boccioni, Carr?, and Russolo ? who wanted to extend Marinetti's ideas to the visual arts (Russolo was also a composer, and introduced Futurist ideas into his compositions). The painters Balla and Severini met Marinetti in 1910 and together these artists represented Futurism's first phase.
The painter and sculptor Umberto Boccioni (1882 - 1916) wrote the Manifesto of Futurist Painters in 1910 in which he vowed: "We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshipping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time. We consider the habitual contempt for everything which is young, new and burning with life to be unjust and even criminal."
Futurism in the 1920's and 1930's
Many Italian Futurists instinctively supported the rise of fascism in Italy in the hope of modernizing the society and the economy of a country that was still torn between unfilled industrial revolution in the North and the rural, archaic South. Some Futurists' glorification of modern warfare as the ultimate artistic expression and their intense nationalism also induced them to embrace Italian fascism. Many Futurists became associated with the regime over the 1920's, which gave them both official recognition and the ability to carry out important works, especially in architecture.
However, some leftists that came to Futurism in the earlier years continued to oppose Marinetti's domination of the artistic and political direction of Futurism.
Futurism expanded to encompass other artistic domains. In architecture, it was characterized by a distinctive thrust towards rationalism and modernism through the use of advanced building materials. In Italy, futurist architects were often at odds with the fascist state's tendency towards Roman imperial/classical aesthetic patterns. However several interesting futurist buildings were built in the years 1920?1940, including many public buildings: stations, maritime resorts, post offices, etc. See, for example, Trento's railway station built by Angiolo Mazzoni (as you can see in the picture on the right).