Benedetta Cappa, born in 1897, of Piedmontese origins, entered Giacomo Balla's studio in 1919, where she experimented with different forms of art: from painting, to literature, to scenography, in line with the versatility of Futurism.
The young artist met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder of the Futurist Movement, in 1918. From great intellectual affinity a love was born, and that was consolidated in 1923 with marriage and the birth of three daughters: Vittoria, Ala, Luce.
In 1921, during a beach holiday, the Marinetti couple invented a new form of art: Tactilism, conceived as a multi-sensorial evolution of Futurism: these are “objects” built with different materials and different textures, to stimulate various tactile sensations intended to transform themselves into “transmissions of thought”, tactilism must “indirectly collaborate to perfect spiritual communication between human beings, through the epidermis”.
The futurist painter must replace traditional means with plastic, multi-material, noisy complexes, in which the relationships between colours and material, shapes and weight, warmth and emotion are perceived visually and tactfully. (B. Marinetti, Ist National Futurist Congress, 1924).
In 1924 she adopted the single name Benedetta as her nom d’art both in her writings and in her paintings.
She published her first novel “The human force graphic syntheses”. The painting “Motorboat at full speed” belongs to the same year, presented in various Futurist exhibitions, as well as at the Venice Biennale of 1926, together with “Sounds of a night train”.
In 1925 she moved from Milan to Rome with Marinetti.
In 1929 Benedetta, together with Balla, Depero, Dottori, Fillia, Prampolini, Somenzi, Tato and her husband Marinetti, was one of the promoters of the Aeropainting Manifesto: in it the proportion of the total overcoming of the boundaries of terrestrial reality is accompanied by an aspiration to a “cosmic idealism”, a subject already researched by Cappa.
Novels and other written works
In 1931 she published “Gararà's Journey: Cosmic Novel for the Theatre”, a lyric novel based on the futurist conception of universal life.
Gararà’s character represents reasoning, bourgeois logic, which wishes to explain and measure everything, ultimately defeated by the triumph of life and poetry.
Ezra Pound, who published a review of the novel, offered Marinetti the position of editor-in-chief for a literary-artistic magazine dedicated to women, which he developed during those years.
Benedetta served as a central figure of the Futurist Movement of the interwar period.
A multifaceted artist, who subsequently remained in the shadow of the disruptive personality of futurism’s leader, she participated in five editions of the Venice Biennale between 1926 and 1936 and three of the Rome Quadriennale.
“I admire the genius of Benedetta as my equal and not my disciple”
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
Marine suggestions and the wake of motorboats return in the work “Aeropainting of an Encounter with the Island” that Benedetta paints in 1939, immortalising a striking and unusual futurist vision of the island of Elba.
Here, in fact, during the summer, the Marinetti family were regular guests of the Hammeler-Mazza family on the promontory of Capo Castello.
Aeropittura di un incontro con l'isola (1939) by Benedetta Marinetti CappaLa Galleria Nazionale