Futurism and the Past

Umberto Boccioni, 'Synthesis of Human Dynamism', 1913, destroyed

Umberto Boccioni, ‘Synthesis of Human Dynamism’, 1913, destroyed

‘Futurism and the Past’ is a virtual exhibition created by Rosalind McKever in association with the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. The exhibition traces ‘Futurism’s engagement with different periods, from classical art, through Byzantium, to the early Renaissance of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca, the High Renaissance of Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the Baroque. The connections with the art of the past reveal a different side to Futurism and encourage us to think differently about its bombastic manifestos and its relationship with art history’.

Dr McKever will be speaking about the exhibition at the following event:

Back to the Futurism! or, Why the Futurists loved Art History

Monday 25th June, 7:30pm, at ‘The Monarch’, 40-42 Chalk Farm Road.
Free to attend.

“We rebel against that spineless worshipping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac” roared the Futurist artists in their first manifesto in 1910. Never has an art movement so brazenly claimed to loathe art history, but when looking at their artworks a few traces of art history appear – did the Futurists protest too much?

Guiding you along the timeline of Italian art history and through her virtual exhibition ‘Futurism and the Past’, Rosalind will highlight instances of the Futurists appropriating the Italian artistic tradition. Can Futurist sculptures really be called classical? Could Futurist flattening of space have been inspired by the fashion for Byzantine mosaics? Why was Carlo Carrà obsessed with Giotto and Uccello? Did Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla really think of themselves as a modern Michelangelo and Leonardo? And was Futurism Baroque?

Addressing these questions, Rosalind will consider whether the motivation for the Futurists’ interest in the past was simply an inability to escape their heritage, or a shrewd manipulation of that heritage to try and create an art to overshadow ancient Rome and Renaissance Florence as much as avant-garde Paris.

This event is part of the AAH’s ‘Art History in the Pub’ series. For more see here.

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