Carica di lancieri (1915) by Umberto BoccioniMuseo del Novecento
The future is inevitable, and overwhelming, like a lancer's charge. This is the point of view of Futurism, a fierce, avant-garde movement concerned with modernity and speed.
Futurist artworks celebrate scientific and industrial progress which destroys the past. Boccioni dramatizes this process by contrasting the violent motion of his charging horses with the static bayonet soldiers in the painting's bottom-left corner.
A newspaper fragment is inserted between the formations, showing words like 'domestic' and 'pleasant'. A banal and out-of-context chronicle. The conflict between old and new blows away the bland everyday.
The newspaper clippings are a way of bringing reality inside the work. But what kind of reality are we talking about? The First World War, embraced by the Futurists as a cleansing fire. So much so, that Boccioni enlisted as a volunteer.
Simultaneity and space-time interpenetration are at the centre of the Futurist vision. Look how the horses' movement is represented by multiple overlapping legs like frames from a film-sequence. The future moves forward wildly, and nothing will be as it used to be.
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