Balla, Giacomo

Balla, Giacomo,

1871–1958, Italian painter, one of the founders of futurismfuturism,
Italian school of painting, sculpture, and literature that flourished from 1909, when Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's first manifesto of futurism appeared, until the end of World War I.
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. He moved from Turin to Rome in his twenties and began painting in a realist style. He travelled (1900) to Paris, where he was influenced by neoimpressionism and particularly by divisionism (or pointillism), and on his return to Rome he began to paint in this style, which he also taught to Umberto BoccioniBoccioni, Umberto
, 1882–1916, Italian futurist painter and sculptor. He played a primary role in the drafting of the manifesto of futurism in 1910 and was the major figure in the movement until 1914. In his famous, characteristic painting, The City Rises (1910; Mus.
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 and Gino SeveriniSeverini, Gino
, 1883–1966, Italian painter. In 1906 he settled in Paris. First associated with the cubist painters, he later became a principal figure in the movement known as futurism. Severini was greatly influenced by Seurat and theories of neoimpressionism.
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. Balla came under the influence of Filippo Tommaso MarinettiMarinetti, Filippo Tommaso
, 1876–1944, Italian poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known as the founder of futurism (1909), on which he wrote and lectured, and as an advocate of Fascism; he was one of the first members of the Fascist party.
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, the founder (1909) of literary futurism, and in 1910 he and other artists signed the Manifesto of Futurist Painting. Balla sought to express motion, speed, and light in his futurist paintings. His best-known painting is probably Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (1912, Albright-Knox Art Gall., Buffalo), in which the rapid steps of a small dog are rendered like overlaid frames of a motion picture. Among his other works are Speeding Car (1912, Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) and Abstract Speed and Sound (1913–14). He also created futurist sculptures and graphics. In the 1920s he began experimenting with other techniques and by the 30s he had returned to more traditional styles.


See studies by V. Dortch-Dorazio (1969), S. B. Robinson (1981), and M. F. Dell'Arco (1988)